Creating a sustainable university

Find out how we're working towards becoming one of the greenest universities in the UK and investing in the largest solar project in the UK higher education sector as part of our Go Greener campaign.

What is Go Greener?

We are working to become one of the greenest universities in the UK and aim to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2020.

Our University is home to some of the world’s leading sustainability academics, and together, we started a multi-million pound Go Greener programme in summer 2017, which saw more than 3,000 photovoltaics fitted on 30 buildings across the Sussex campus.

In 2018, this will be followed up by the replacement of 27,000 light bulbs with more efficient LED lighting, improved heating and cooling systems and smart metering installed across the campus.

An ongoing project funded by Research Councils UK and led by Professor Jan Selby and the DEMAND Centre, looking at how non-energy policies and practices can have knock-on effects on energy demand, will be used to inform the new Go Greener programme.

Our carbon reduction programme will also include an awareness-raising programme for students, staff and visitors.


Go Greener News

UK’s biggest university solar project switched on at Sussex

(L-R) Caroline Lucas MP, was joined by staff member Jolyon Western and PhD student Anna Watson to officially flick the switch on 3,000 solar panels at the University of Sussex; the biggest solar project in UK higher education.

Aerial image of solar panels on the Northfield residences

More than 3,000 solar panels were switched on at the University of Sussex today, as it aims to nearly halve its carbon emissions by 2020. 

The solar project is the largest of its kind in UK higher education and is a key step in the University’s ambitious journey to become one of the most environmentally friendly universities in the country. 

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and the joint leader of the Green Party, visited the University to flick the switch to the panels, which will provide over three quarters of a million (777,000) kilowatt hours of electricity per year to the campus. That’s enough to power the University’s library for 12 months. 

Caroline Lucas said: “It was really exciting and a great honour to switch on the biggest solar panel project in UK higher education. 

“To think this is happening right here in Brighton & Hove is fantastic, and is exactly where our city should be. 

“Universities are more than just a group of buildings. They are places of innovation and aspiration and have to inspire people into believing they can make a difference. 

“This initiative is hugely welcome and needs to be as bold as possible. 

“Congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen.” 

A student and member of staff who won an internal competition were invited to join the MP at the big switch on. 

Anna Watson, a PhD student in energy innovation, said: “It was an honour to make this the sunniest Friday 13th on record. I’m proud to see Sussex leading the way in driving low-carbon innovation.” 

Anna was joined by Jolyon Western, a Student Life Advisor, who said: “I have solar water and solar electric panels on my own home and welcome Sussex’s decision to participate further in the vital transition to renewables.” 

The £1.5-million project is the first key milestone in Sussex’s environmental initiative, which will also see the University replacing 27,000 light bulbs with more efficient LED lights, improving its heating and cooling systems and installing smart meters across campus. It will also be looking to replace current energy systems with more sustainable alternatives. 

Simon Neale, the University’s Director of Estates and Facilities Management, said: “We already have a beautiful, green campus, surrounded by the South Downs National Park - this project is all about making sure our buildings and our actions as a community are as environmentally-friendly as they can be. 

“Sussex has a proud history of cutting-edge research into energy and climate change and so it makes perfect sense that we also lead the way with our actions.” 

An ongoing project funded by Research Councils UK and led by Professor Jan Selby and the DEMAND Centre, looking at how non-energy policies and practices can have knock-on effects on energy demand, will be used to inform the programme. 

Professor Selby took part in a panel discussion with Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, Dr Florian Kern, co-Director of the Sussex Energy Group, Caroline Lucas, and Simon Neale following the switch on. The discussion was chaired by Sussex alumnus, Leo Hickman, Editor of Carbon Brief

The solar project is being delivered in partnership with SAS Energy, Interserve and Sussex Estates & Facilities.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017

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