Our Net Zero Delivery Plan

A decorative graphic with yellow and purple shapes that look like sunbeams

In order to reach our net zero target we need to tackle the emissions created by heating and powering our buildings. These make up two thirds of the emissions we need to eliminate by 2030.

To do this we need to make changes to our buildings and infrastructure so that they use less energy. We also need to ensure that the energy we use comes from renewable sources.

Our Net Zero Delivery Plan outlines how we will do this, including four key projects that will help us deliver our targets.

What’s in our Net Zero Delivery Plan?

Our Net Zero Delivery Plan turns the ambition set out in our Pathway to Net Zero into a practical, deliverable plan for our estate.

It outlines the key projects which have been identified as the most effective ways to reduce emissions on campus. Right now we are working on detailed design work for these projects, and starting the process of appointing contractors.

Some of the first projects to begin work will include:

Investing in new renewable energy generation saving nearly 2,000 tonnes CO2e a year. As our electricity usage increases, we’ll expand our renewable energy projects to match this.

Sculptures of people outside the Worsley Building

Upgrading the Worsley Building with a new heat recovery ventilation system and solar panels – saving over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Installing a new localised energy centre for the Engineering cluster – to provide low carbon heating for these buildings including the Mechanical Engineering building and the Henry Price hall of residence. Part of this will explore whether geothermal heat can be used to provide a safe, efficient, sustainable solution.

Securing an increased electrical supply to campus which will allow us to move our heating network away from gas. This will involve working closely with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) who we share elements of our heating network with.

 What impact will the Net Zero Delivery Plan have?

The sustainable gardens with the Faculty of Biological Sciences beyond.

Reducing emissions from our estate requires significant changes to how we heat and power our buildings. This is a major programme of work and takes time – building work on key projects is expected to begin in 2025 with enabling works starting earlier. You might not notice big changes on campus, as the projects have been planned to minimise disruption. 

The projects in our delivery plan are expected to reduce annual emissions from our estate by more than 35,000 tonnes CO2e per year by 2030 – a reduction of 81%.

Alongside this we’ll be working out the best way to spend the remaining net zero budget to deliver even more emissions reductions and reach our net zero target. 

What can you do? 

A row of bikes leaning against a railing on campus surrounded by rocks and green grass

Our Net Zero Delivery Plan also includes investment in programmes that support staff and student engagement with our net zero targets. There are plenty of ways that you can contribute, for example you can: 

  • Help reduce energy usage across campus, for example by switching off unused equipment overnight, at weekends and holidays.
  • Choose the most sustainable travel option that you can, both in your journeys to and from the University and when travelling for business, research or studies away from campus.
  • Consider the impact of the things you purchase, buying only what is needed, reusing or repairing where possible, and choosing more sustainable options when you do need to purchase.
  • Improve sustainability in labs and gain accreditation through the Sustainable Labs programme.
  • Contribute to research that helps achieve net zero, with £1m seed funding available through our Living Lab programme.

If you are a member of staff or student at the University of Leeds, you can access the Climate Plan Sharepoint Hub (University login required) for more information on our net zero delivery plan, the seven principles that make up our Climate Plan and how you can get involved.  

You can also follow our progress towards net zero on our Climate Plan Reporting page. 

Come along to our event on Monday 4 December for a deeper delve into our plan, and an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the delivery team. Book your place now.