10 Things You Need to Know Now

02 June 2023      Martin Higgs, AUDE Communications and Campaigns Manager

A new edition for early summer-2023 of our ‘Ten Things You Need To Know Now’ series of reminder articles on sustainability news, together with chances to update on AUDE sustainability activity.

  1. How do you calculate the cost of carbon neutrality for your institution? It’s been one of the biggest questions in sustainability in the last couple of years and AUDE has been working on a carbon cost calculator together with partners including BUFDG and the EAUC. We’ll be ready to launch the tool later in the summer, and we are testing it with a group of members now. In order to use this forthcoming Toolkit and Calculator you will need to have calculated your carbon emissions as an institution first so it is well worth trying to get ahead in this process. If you have not already calculated your carbon emissions there is guidance on how to do this in the Standardised Carbon Emissions Framework while the carbon emissions tool can also be found on the EAUC website.
  2. We’ll be publishing an updated report this year on the learnings of participants using the Sustainability Leadership Scorecard to help focus institutional sustainability activity. Can those using the SLS be sure to update your scores by 31 July. For those not using the SLS, get in touch. It is never to late to start using the best tool the sector currently has for helping universities identify and work on sustainability priorities.
  3. What is the carbon cost of your university website? The size of a typical web page has quintupled since 2010 – and that has a carbon impact. Who leads in thinking about this within your institution? Is ‘digital footprint’ an aspect of your climate mitigation work that is understood and factored in? You could start with a calculation from Website Carbon Calculator or Ecograder.
  4. Together with partners TEC, AUDE has co-funded a project at the University of Worcester which helps staff at HE institutions, including yours, to reduce their energy use. At a time of huge cost of-living concerns, and even with hopes of some reduction in bills on the horizon, that’s an offer not to be refused.
  5. Decarbonisation Funding Workshop – hear from colleagues at the University of Reading on how they have secured £3m funding for projects to build new, and retrofit existing, air and water source heat pumps (26 June, 10am, online)
  6. In the online session ‘Developing a decarbonisation brief and scope’ Roddy Yarr (University of Strathclyde) and Richard Smith (University of Manchester) will discuss how they’ve developed decarbonization briefs, and some of the accompanying challenges and opportunities
  7. The Met Office’s latest climate model is clear that even under low emissions scenarios, the UK will experience hotter summers; wetter winters; and more frequent and severe storms. These changes in climate will have significant impacts for buildings and infrastructure, and raise important new questions about building safety. Join us for ‘Physical Climate Change – The impact of rising temperatures on University Estates’ - a discussion led by Karl Limbert of Equans (10 July, 10am, online)
  8. AUDE Supplier of the Year Hassell join us as part of a new series of webinars featuring our award winners. They will look at the University of Brighton Masterplan, including its sustainability aspects, on 21 June at 12pm.
  9. Together with the UK Universities Climate Network, BUFDG and the EAUC, AUDE is co-partner for the event ‘High-level Overview on Risk, Adaptation and Climate Impact Assessments’ (5 September, 10am, online)
  10. Where is your team getting its background news from? The whole world is increasingly focused on climate change, and amazing and inspiring (and if we are honest, frightening) stories pop up daily, if colleagues are looking in the right place. It’s hardly for us to be advocates for the Guardian website, but for that regular drip feed of interesting background news, you could do worse. Recent articles on the carbon sequestration capacity of kelp, retrofitting of historic buildings, and the winding down of a major rainforest offsetting programme prove the point.

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