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Carbon, energy and water

Brunel University London is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and in January 2020 the University declared a climate change emergency, and re-stated its commitment to research to support sustainability and tackling global challenges. 

The Global Climate Letter was signed with the full support of senior leadership from the University and from the Union of Brunel Students. The Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges is the official route for universities and colleges to be part of the Race to Zero campaign.


Greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or 'Scopes' by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol:

  • Scope 1 covers direct emissions that occur from sources owned or controlled by the University
  • Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the University
  • Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in the University’s value chain.

Brunel University London (BUL) has set a target to become net zero in all operational Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040; the challenge to reach this target is difficult to minimise and a step change in the way we deliver heat and power to the university is required to achieve the actions necessary to slash our carbon footprint. BUL's Carbon Management Plan 2022-25 (.pdf download) sets out our  strategic approach to ensure that we are equipped to meet our carbon reduction objectives and targets, and additionally, to achieve both budget savings and to enhance our environmental reputation as an energy efficient institution. Over the next couple of years we will develop a new Heat and Power Strategy that will play a large part in shaping our roadmap to next zero. Brunel has not currently set a target for Scope 3 emissions but has the intention of accurately collating the emissions over the next 2 years and analysing areas where reductions can be made.

Achievements to date:

  • In the Clean Growth Strategy, the Government introduced a voluntary target for the wider public and higher education sectors in England. This target was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across these sectors by 30% by 2020/21, compared to a 2009/10 baseline.
  • Brunel set its own more stringent target in the 2015 Carbon Management Plan, this was to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions against its 2005/06 baseline of 21,508 tCO2e by 43% by 2020/21 to 12,260 tCO2e. This target was surpassed in 2018/19 when the University’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions were calculated to be 12,160 tCO2e.

Download our graph of our progress to date from the original 2005/06 baseline. 


Campus Services are committed to the continuous improvement of our buildings and implementation of energy efficiency measures across the campus. Brunel used a ring-fenced Rolling Green Fund (RGF) which funded carbon reduction projects. To date since the beginning of the scheme 40 projects have been completed saving 1,172 tCO2e annually. 

Case studies of recent energy efficiency projects:

In October 2019 the University joined a pioneering renewable energy contract with 19 other universities, the power purchase agreement supplies the University with approximately 19% of BUL's electricity demand with 100% renewable energy from UK wind farms.


Over the last few years we have vastly improved the level of measuring and monitoring water use across the campus. We have water sub meters at building level across the majority of our accommodation blocks and intend to extend this to all buildings across campus.

Brunel's Water Management Plan (.pdf download) sets out  procedures and recommended actions to enable Brunel University London to use conserve and discharge water as responsibly and sustainably as possible.