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Sustainability at York St John

Energy and Decarbonisation

Find out more about our energy efficiency measures across campus.

Grounds team watering plants in the Creative Centre

Across most of our campus our energy efficiency levels are among the best in the world, owing to the standards to which we have refurbished our older buildings and designed our new developments.

What we've achieved

We exceeded our target of a 34% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 by achieving a 48.9% reduction during 2018 to 2019 (compared to the 2005 baseline). Our future targets are to further this reduction. Our aims are a 65% reduction by 2025 and an 80% reduction by 2030.

Our buildings have been made more energy efficient through the introduction of triple glazing into new and refurbished buildings. In older buildings, secondary glazing has been added to windows to conserve heat.

We have introduced LED lighting across our sites to save energy. Lighting in corridors, toilets and storage closets is being updated with movement sensors to reduce the amount of lighting left on continuously.

Ongoing measures

Some of the measures we have taken to improve energy efficiency are:

  • All our energy comes from sustainable, low carbon sources. We were the first university in the UK to purchase a major portion of our campus electricity direct from renewable energy generators.
  • 40% of our renewable electricity comes directly from wind farms: Altwalis, Andershaw, Baillie and Berry Burn.
  • Secured £860,000 in government funding for solar PV and decarbonation and installed mounted solar photovoltaic panels on buildings including St Anthony's House, Foss, Skell, De Grey, Fountains and St John Central.
  • Introduced triple glazed windows into new and refurbished buildings.
  • Changed our heating systems to reduce energy consumption where possible.
  • Most University vehicles are now electric.
  • Installed carports and battery storage at York St John University Sports Park. 
  • Installed air source heat pumps on campus and accommodation sites.

We have introduced more electric heating across campus and in student accommodation blocks. Our new Clarence Street refurbishment project is fully electric for heating and using the Prefect system which allows it to be controlled with timers and heat set points to avoid heating unoccupied spaces. We aim to reduce our use of natural gas for heating on all our estates, including at The Grange and City Residence sites.