Our University campus: powered sustainably

Solar wind farm

We are extremely excited to announce that the University has signed new electricity contracts that will bring 100 per cent solar, wind and hydro power to our campus for the first time.

The new contracts with Bryt Energy – part of the Statkraft group, Europe's largest generator of renewable energy and leading international hydropower company – will use completely renewable electricity to power all of the University’s research, teaching and administrative buildings on the central campus, residences and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Keith Lilley, Director of Infrastructure and member of the University’s Sustainability Delivery Group, said: “I’m very pleased that we’re switching to a 100 per cent renewable energy supply for the University of Sheffield’s estate. This contract underlines our commitment to moving towards a more sustainable way of working.

“Over the past ten years, we have reduced our carbon emissions by more than a third. We are also a leading proponent of low carbon, emitting 50kg of CO2 per metre-squared, which is the third best performance in the Russell Group of 24 research intensive universities in the UK. This is another leap towards our aim of becoming the best.”

Over the last ten years, we have reduced our carbon emissions by more than a third. We are also a leading proponent of low carbon, emitting 50kg of CO2 per metre-squared, which is the third best performance in the Russell Group of 24 research intensive universities in the UK. This is another leap towards our aim of becoming the best.

Keith lilley, director of infrastructure

Electricity accounts for over half of the University’s on-campus emissions, meaning the new supply will reduce net carbon emissions by up to 17,000 tonnes CO2 per year, helping the University on its journey to becoming carbon neutral.

The switch to renewable energy comes after close ongoing cooperation between the University and student groups to establish priorities for sustainability.

Dr Rachael Rothman, Associate Director Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Academic Lead for Sustainability said: “I am delighted that we have been able to sign a contract that is both environmentally and financially sustainable, giving a huge decrease in our carbon footprint. Working collaboratively with academics, professional services and students has enabled an evidence based decision that balances different aspects of sustainability to be made, demonstrating our commitment to making big changes on our journey towards carbon neutrality.

“Moving to truly renewable electricity, and signing with a company that is dedicated to adding further renewable generation, is a big step in that journey. I am really excited about the next steps we are planning... watch this space!”

The electricity supply contract was due for renewal in September 2020 and being able to switch to a completely renewable energy tariff is an important milestone for our campus and in ensuring sustainability is embedded in everything that we do at the University.

Tracy Wray, Director of Corporate Communications and External Relations and Professional Services Lead for Sustainability said: “This decision to make all of the University’s externally supplied electricity completely renewable is a real success story for the University. At Sheffield, we pride ourselves on being an integral part of the community, in listening to the priorities of our students, alongside our academic expertise. This working relationship is an approach that we believe is unique to Sheffield and one that drives forward ambitious but pragmatic change. In 2015, we committed to divesting our investment portfolio from all fossil fuel companies and we became one of the first universities in the UK to do so and now switching to an entirely renewable electricity supplier is the next step.”

Last year Professor Koen Lamberts President and Vice-Chancellor announced our University’s commitment to sustainability by embedding Education for Sustainable Development into all courses over the next five years, helping students to understand how they could use their skills, experience and subject knowledge to have a positive impact in their future careers.

He said: “We are absolutely committed to addressing climate change via our research, our education and our institutional actions.

“Switching to a 100 per cent renewable electricity contract is an important step in our sustainability work and follows our work to completely divest from fossil fuels and incorporate sustainable development into our education.

“We look forward to working closely with our students and staff on the next phase of our sustainable development.”

Further information

Read the blog by Professor Wyn Morgan, Chair of the Sustainability Steering Group

Find out more about our sustainability strategy

Our 2019 sustainability achievements

Want to find out more about Sustainability at the University, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Join your department's Green Impact team, or set one up if you don't have one, contact a member of the Sustainability Delivery Group, or email us directly at sustainability@sheffield.ac.uk