Join the Race to Zero before 11th November 2024

Race to life logo

Newcastle University - UK

What is the name of your institution?

Newcastle University

Why did you sign up to the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges?

To live our values, particularly those of environmental and social justice, set out in our Vision and Strategy, and to demonstrate visible leadership on climate action.  To hold ourselves to account for our net zero plans and further develop our collaborative working with the sector.

What have you achieved since you have joined the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges? 

Launch of our Climate Action Plan in June ‘21 (Highly commended – Green Gown Awards 2021) establishing our plans for Net Zero by 2030, building on our carbon reduction to date (achieved BEIS Carbon Pledge of 30% reduction)   Initiated, and secured funding for, a range of carbon reduction projects including:

  • Approval for a £15m pa allocation in the University’s investment plan towards net zero
  • £2.9M HNIP funding to support our Merz Court district heating decarbonisation project (ca. £7m total)
  •  Approval for an £11m Campus-wide rooftop solar PV project (internal Net Zero allocation).  6 projects completed to date.
  •  £284k PSDS grant for our decarbonisation project at Great North House, including building fabric improvements and replacement of boilers with heat pumps

How are you leading the transition to net-zero? Consider the Leadership Practices and how you are engaging others to join the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges or other Race to Zero campaigns.

Newcastle was the first City in the UK where anchor institutions including the University, Council and NHS Trust all declared climate emergencies, and we work collaboratively on climate action with partners in the City. Newcastle is recognised as a global climate leader - as one of only 11 cities in the UK to achieve an A-rating for its climate action work by CDP.

Through the ‘planet’ strand of our Collaborative Newcastle programme and the Net Zero Task Force co-chaired by Professor Hayley Fowler with the Leader of the City Council, we are working with partners to develop and align our  action plans – including securing funding to progress major projects such as the design of a citywide ambient loop district energy network.

We also involve our students in this work including:

  • Holding a Student Climate Summit and Net Zero Innovation Challenge with students and partners.
  • Ensuring students were included in the University delegation to COP26 alongside our academic and professional colleagues.
  • Launching our climate leadership scholarships to support students to carry out climate conscious summer research projects.

What challenges have you had?

The pandemic both brought new challenges e.g. increased building energy consumption driven by increased ventilation, and opportunities e.g. new ways of working including normalisation of videoconferencing for many meetings.

Calculation methodologies and data quality for many scope 3 sources remain relatively weak, and there is a need to ensure emissions reporting approaches in the sector remain robust and aligned.

«Back to Resources