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News article

Environmental funding boost helps York St John take a lead in tackling climate change 

Published: 17 March 2021

A wide shot of the historic front of YSJ with lawns and flowerbeds in the foreground

York St John University is set to receive a major cash boost to help reduce its carbon footprint after a successful bid for Government funding. The initial award of more than £700,000 will go towards decarbonisation projects across the University’s sites in York. This funding comes through Salix Finance, a Government backed scheme to support sustainability projects in the public sector. 

Director of Estates Management & Development at York St John University Nick Coakley said: “Our focus is carbon neutrality and we’re delighted to secure this funding which will help us on that path. We’re already on target to reduce our emissions by 80 percent by the year 2030, with excellent progress made over the last 15 years. Our student and staff community cares about the environment and this is the right time to be thinking about our economy and the future of our planet. We all need to play our part in tackling climate change and are committed to minimising our impacts, and to promoting sustainable development wherever we can.”  

The funding will enable the installation of air source heat pumps to reduce the use of gas for heating. The pumps are the most efficient alternative to fuel, oil and electric systems for both heating and cooling, with up to 300 percent efficiency. Other planned areas of investment are the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on roof tops, and the introduction of an energy storage system to store excess solar energy generated in the daytime for use at night. 

York St John University exceeded its target of a 43 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 by achieving a 48.9 percent reduction during 2018-9 (compared to the 2005 baseline). Our future targets are to further this reduction, aiming for a 65 percent reduction by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030. Our environmental performance is monitored across several fields including climate change, waste, and biodiversity. These in turn drive programmes of carbon emissions reduction that include efficiency enhancements, renewable energy purchase and generation, as well as waste management. We maximise recycling and send zero waste to landfill and have an expanding biodiversity enhancement programme across all our sites, both residential and non-residential.  

The news comes as York St John marks its first Green Week. Organised in collaboration with York St John University Students' Union, this is a celebration of the activists, businesses and alumni that are working to create a more sustainable future. Search #YSJUGoGreen on social media. 

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