Energy and carbon

Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Kingston University's practices tie in with the United Nations SDGs, which aim to transform our world and promote prosperity for all while protecting our planet. The University's policy on energy efficiency supports:

Our targets

Kingston University recognises that human-induced climate change is one of the world's greatest threats. Our day-to-day operations as a University cause the release of carbon emissions and other Greenhouse Gases, and we recognise that we have a duty to reduce these where possible.

Therefore, Kingston University has committed to an ambitious target to achieve net zero carbon emissions for scope 1 and 2 by the end of the academic year 2038/2039 and scope 3 carbon emissions by 2050/2051. The University is working hard to reduce its emissions associated with all of its operations through a variety of methods, from the procurement of renewable energy, installing energy efficiency technology, improving the control and use of building systems and utilising low and zero-carbon technologies.

Our progress

To date the University has reduced its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 65%*. The equivalent of 8,400 tonnes of CO2e. That is equivalent to the emissions of over 2,000 UK homes**

*65% as of June 2022 from a pre-established 2005/6 baseline. Includes benefit of REGO certified Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.

**each homes emissions are broken down to 2.5tCO2 natural gas AND 1.25tCO2 electricity

The University is committed to continue its downward trend of CO2 emissions associated with its operations. The University holds a specific carbon management budget that aims to reduce the university emissions through a variety of methods.

Decarbonisation of heat

The University has identified that the decarbonisation of heat is a key challenge to successfully achieve net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions. Currently across the University, natural gas is burned in boilers to provide heating and hot water, resulting in the release of CO2 emissions. Therefore, the University is developing detailed studies and strategies to systematically phase out its reliance on natural gas as a means for heating and hot water generation.

PPA – Power Purchase Agreement

In October 2019, the University joined a pioneering renewable energy contract with 19 other universities. The contract supplies the University with 30% of our electricity demand with 100% renewable energy from UK wind farms. Offsetting the equivalent of 1,096 tCO2e per annum*** whilst achieving financial savings. The amount of CO2 savings is the equivalent to those emitted from all of Knights Park Campus.

***based on DEFRA carbon emission factors from point of contract signing October 2019

Using low and zero-carbon technologies

Across the estate, the University has implemented several low and zero-carbon technologies including:

A 300 m2 Solar Photovoltaic array on the Town House building that supplies a portion of the building's electrical use. This system is the University's largest to-date. The Town House also includes a 120 kW ASHP system which extracts warmth from the air and acts like a refrigeration system in reverse with a high efficiency compressor generating heat. We are also using Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) to heat and cool down buildings. The Kingston Hill Campus Business School has installed a 250 kW GSHP that extracts heat from the ground during winter and relative coolness from the ground in the summer. The process can be reversed depending on the temperature outside. We have installed solar thermal panels to heat water for domestic hot water systems. The University has solar energy systems at Knights Park and Tolworth Court campuses (both electricity and heat producing) with an additional system installed at the new halls of residence at 75 Penrhyn Road in 2017.

Improving building management system controls and equipment

Across our campus sites we are installing energy-efficient LED lights with presence detection and day light dimming wherever possible, as well as installing new efficient pumps and boilers throughout the estate. The recently-completed Eadweard Muybridge upgrade led to a reduction of 65% in electricity associated with lighting.

The University is improving the way in which its buildings operate by linking heating, ventilation and cooling plant and equipment to occupancy levels to reduce energy wastage and improve user comfort. The University has developed a number of energy saving strategies on the Building Management System (BMS), to automate heating control to avoid waste and ensure user comfort is upheld.

Educating end users

We have funded an effective 'Green Impact' campaign to encourage staff to use energy more efficiently at home and at work.

Improving building fabric

Our most recent buildings already use modern insulation and glazing. We improve the fabric of our older buildings through refurbishment projects. For example, the new Town House building has been rated BREEAM excellent. The New extension refurbishment has been rated BREEAM outstanding, the highest industry rating for assessing sustainability.

In 2022, the University's completed STEM labs achieved a SKA rating GOLD for the newly refurbished Agile Working offices that previously accommodated the library before the Town House.

Get in touch with the Sustainability Team

Estates and Sustainability
Services Building
Penrhyn Road Campus
Kingston upon Thames
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)20 8417 6520

Get in touch with the Sustainability Team