Universities across the world have taken up the initiative of promoting sustainable development. By launching environmental awareness campaigns, switching to cleaner energy resources, and promoting high research projects to save the earth, some of the top universities can transform the way they function in daily life while working for a greener and cleaner future. If you are an environmental enthusiast then here are the top green universities in the UK working towards limiting the use of depleting resources around their campus.
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This Blog Includes:
Benefits of Studying in a Green University in the UK
The UK is home to the greenest universities in the world. By focusing on green issues like climate change, waste management, depletion of natural resources, and intertwining with high-yielding resource projects, UK universities are transforming the world. So why should you opt for green universities in the UK?
- Better Mental Health: Better learning with clean air and natural lighting.
- Eat Sustainable: Plenty of healthy and fresh food options either vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
- Cost Reduction: Lighter pockets when maintenance cost is reduced with sustainable practices.
- Holistic Development: A progressive faculty and management will create a friendly environment.
Fun Fact: The University of Cambridge stands tall in the top 5 universities globally. Yet, it ranks 68th when it comes to being eco-friendly and green.
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How are Green Universities in the UK Ranked?
UNEP’s Environmental Education and Training Unit released a factsheet that recognized the entire college community and environmental education’s role in making a university green. Additionally, the People and Planet released their criteria to rank green universities in the UK.
- Environmental policy and strategy curated by the university.
- How committed is the staff in making a green university?
- Whether universities adhere to regular environmental auditing?
- How environmentally beneficial are their investments?
- Carbon footprint and what alternatives are being utilised.
- Treatment of university faculty and staff.
- Is the food provided/sold on campus sustainable?
- Food and water wastage
- Relationship between staff and students to be sustainable.
- Environmental education
- How is the waste recycled or treated?
- Percentage of renewable energy generated on-site and off-site.
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Top Green Universities in the UK
- University of Gloucestershire
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Nottingham Trent University
- Northumbria University
- University of Worcester
- Coventry University
- University of Bedfordshire
- Aston University
- Swansea University
- University of Bristol
- Newcastle University
- London School of Economics and Political Science
- University of Greenwich
- Plymouth University
- Canterbury Christ Church University
- Keele University
- University of the Arts, London
- Bangor University
- King’s College London
- University of Leeds
- Glasgow Caledonian University
- University of Bradford
- University of Brighton
- Bath Spa University
- Bournemouth University
- University of Reading
- University of East Anglia
Fun Fact: People and Planet is the UK’s only league table for green universities. It tells us which of the prestigious universities have turned towards sustainability and how they are leading the campaign.
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University of Gloucestershire
University of Gloucestershire has led the league table since 2007. It is reputed for consistently contributing towards being a green university. The University of Gloucestershire has won the International Green Gown award for their research paper named ‘A Rounder Sense of Purpose’. Gloucester has time and again served as an example to other leading universities in the UK. Gloucestershire’s achievements in the environmental field makes it one of the green universities in UK:
- Their new business school was constructed sustainably to reduce carbon emissions to zero.
- Electricity usage is down 32% in the last ten years.
- Nearly 1000 trees across the campus
- The solar panels on residence halls produce and store electricity 24*7.
- Researchers on campus devised an application to locate the nearest fresh food suppliers.
- Ethical use, disposal and maintenance of technologies by the IT Department.
- Their student-led blog ‘Live Smart’ is all about how to live sustainably in the top green universities in the UK.
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Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University is committed to be carbon free by the end of 2038. MMU is also ranked 2nd best green university in the UK. MMU has released their Carbon Management plan till 2026 to achieve the carbon footprint. Key features that every local university can also adopt in order to strive to be green are:-
- Zero Carbon Construction: New buildings on campus will be developed keeping in mind zero carbon emission.
- Awarding Initiatives: They plan to incentivise initiatives that lead them to become a greener university.
- Renewable Electricity: The policy aims to increase electricity generation through solar panels to eliminate other non-renewable sources.
- Reduce Heat Production: Eliminate use of heat pumps during winter by designing heat plants in a sustainable way.
- Inclusive Approach: The university has an inclusive approach in order to involve students as well as staff in their policy making.
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Nottingham Trent University
Nottingham Trent University is amongst the top 5 most green universities in the world. Their USP has been becoming a green university through education and research. This green university in the UK stands towards completing 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by involving such practices in their learning.
- Their curriculum involves students to explore sustainable aspects of their discipline.
- Students learn the interdependence of natural resources on each other and how a sustainable route can be achieved.
Nottingham Trent University was awarded the ISO 140001 certification in Environmental Management. This recognition was long due after they were hailed to be in the top 5 green universities of the UK.
Fun Fact: People and Planet, a student-led movement, has been requesting universities to lessen the use of fossil fuels. 89 green universities in the UK have joined them to divest from coal and tar.
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Northumbria University has improved its green university ranking in the league table exponentially. This green university has jumped from the 101th position in 2012 to 4th position in 2019 real quick.
- Reduced Carbon Footprint by 58% in the last 5 years.
- Created a Masters program in Global Sustainable Business Management.
- Centre For International Development that takes care of the 17goals of UN’s SDG. (Sustainable Development Goals)
- CYCLE2CAMPUS initiative that promotes usage of cycles on and around campus.
- The UK’s first building integrated photovoltaic installation was constructed here.
Northumbria University is one of those green universities in the UK that holds research as their strongest virtue. From developing a £3 million solar project to holding regular student-led protests for the international community’s hazards, Northumbria has truly embedded the concept of sustainability.
Fun Fact: 2018 was a watershed moment for sustainable universities in UK. The falling temperatures in the UK reached 20℃ which alarmed the citizens imperatively. A month after, students jumped out of universities and workers called it a strike.
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University of Worcester
‘Change Today Protect Tomorrow’ is the slogan of one of the best green universities in the UK. What sets this green university apart from others is its Sustainable Strategy Group. They involve students, staff members and faculty in its union to bring out better sustainability plans.
Some of their key achievements are as follows-
- Awarded the Green Gown Award for Sustainability Institution of the Year.
- Top 3 green universities in the UK for ‘Quality Education’.
- Electricity consumption decreased by more than 20% in the year 2019-20.
- Sustainable procurement rapidly increases to match their net zero carbon emission by 2030.
Their Annual Sustainability Report is supported by unbiased facts that keep a check on their previous year commitments and their adjoining progress. This is what makes the University of Worcester, one of the top green universities in the UK.
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