Goal 7: Policies, processes and practices

The following page outlines specific policies, process and practices in support of Sustainable Development Goal 7 Affordable and clean energy.

Energy efficient renovation, building and upgrading 

We have policies in place for ensuring all renovations and new builds are following energy efficiency standards and have plans to upgrade existing buildings to higher energy efficiency. 

Our Code of Practice for Design Teams policy mandates new construction/refurbishments comply with relevant regulations (such as Building Standards; e.g. Section 8.1.2). It includes going beyond the minimum, by incorporating low and zero carbon technologies (Sections 5.1.6-8). There’s also a requirement for new builds and substantial refurbishments to be subject to the Carbon Management System, which includes an evaluation of energy performance at design stage (TM54; Section 5.1.3) targeting improvements in energy over the previous building or prior to refurbishment (Section5.1.2). 

Our Environmental Sustainability tracker requires a carbon (energy) saving over the minimum requirements in Part L (Building Regulations). We require all new builds to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and all refurbishments to achieve a minimum of Very Good (pg. 7 of plan). 

As outlined in section 5.2 of our Energy and Utility Policy, we have short-term and longer-term actions for reducing our energy usage as a university. This includes commissioning a site survey to establish the condition of infrastructure so improvements can be identified, implementing energy requirements for upgrading building portfolios and to act in accordance with the Environmental Sustainability Strategy to ensure energy reduction is embedded and a key theme is to improve energy efficiency to reduce the energy demand of buildings.  

Our Carbon Action Plan, also outlines various targets for higher energy efficiency in our buildings. 

Carbon and energy reduction processes 

We have a range of processes for carbon management, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing overall energy consumption.  

We have pledged to support Manchester’s climate change target for zero carbon by 2038. Our Carbon Action Plan outlines progress and plans towards this target. 

Our energy efficiency plans to reduce our overall consumption are outlined in our Energy and Utility Policy. Actions include installing high efficiency, low energy light fittings, moderating ventilation across buildings (to reduce heat losses and energy wastage) and continuous energy audits, focused more frequently on areas of high consumption. 

Our Carbon Action Plan outlines progress towards reducing our energy consumption. We provide training as well as guidance on our sustainability website for staff who volunteer to help reduce energy consumption within their departments. The Environmental Sustainability Team liaises closely with the volunteers to advise on energy conservation methods and encourage staff and students to implement energy saving schemes. 

 As outlined in our Energy and Utility Policy, energy audits are carried out on all university buildings. Staff volunteers conduct local energy audits to identify areas of wastage and put in place local measures to reduce consumption, especially waste. We developed an Energy Dashboard to visualise energy consumption at a building level, supporting the volunteers and engaging staff/students with energy minimisation. The results are used to identify how much energy is being used by our buildings and whether there is an opportunity to reduce consumption. We also monitor energy use, before and after infrastructure modifications, to assess the effectiveness of the modifications. Buildings of high energy usage are monitored more often, and energy conservation measures are produced. 

Divestment policy 

We have policies on divesting investments from carbon-intensive energy industries, notably coal and oil. 

Our Policy for Responsible Investment and Environmental Sustainability Strategy sets out the University’s approach and targets to divest from carbon. A key element of the policies is an objective to decarbonise the University’s entire investment portfolio. Shares in companies with material fossil fuel reserves or involvement in fossil fuel extraction are excluded and further decarbonisation will be achieved through tilting the portfolio to more sustainable companies and engaging with companies. Our annual Endowment Investment Portfolio Climate Change Report provides details of our actions to address these targets. 

100% renewable energy pledge 

As the first university in the world to have been recognised as a carbon literate organisation, we are proud to promote actions towards net-zero.  

We have published our pledge to renewables and encourage others (both in the university and wider community) to do the same. We’ve also highlighted renewable energy providers available for anyone living across our local communities in Greater Manchester. 

 Our pledge includes ensuring 100% of the University’s electricity consumption will be backed with Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin, which means that for every megawatt of electricity the University consumes, the equivalent volume of electricity is generated from renewable sources. We have ambitions to agree a Power Purchase Agreement with a renewables generator to create additional volume equal to the University’s electricity commitment, this has been included in the contract with our supplier.