UN SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
A team from the University has contributed to the first-ever profile of the UK higher and further education sector’s carbon footprint.
Professor Jaime Toney, of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions and the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, and Dr Stewart Miller, the University’s sustainability manager, played roles in the preparation of the Royal Anniversary Trust’s ‘Accelerating towards net zero’ report.
The report is an ambitious roadmap for carbon reduction in the tertiary education sector. It proposes a new standardised carbon reporting framework designed exclusively for the sector which will enable all HE and FE institutions to measure, report and manage carbon emissions.
A University-led team of scientists have demonstrated that using air-source heat pumps to support anaerobic digestion could cut the carbon emitted during the production of biogas by more than a third. Their findings could help support ongoing efforts to decarbonise national electricity grids and enable remote communities to produce their own low-carbon power locally. They found that the heat pump system would emit significantly less carbon than the baseline natural gas system when used to process food waste and sewage sludge.
Furthermore, a new study by a University-led research centre has found that the UK housing sector is lagging over 30% behind neighbouring countries when it comes to the adoption of heat pumps, despite their enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide cost savings for households. The study, carried out by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, outlined that the adoption of heat pumps, a key renewable source for space and water heating, is hindered by several barriers in the UK compared to countries such as Denmark and Sweden, including higher capital costs compared to conventional heating systems, mistargeted deployment, and competing economic interests among stakeholders.
Identifying that appropriate knowledge and awareness about heat pumps are crucial for their adoption, the study suggests attracting consumers through financial incentives and reducing the imbalance in levies on electricity and gas bills to drive demand.
The study calls for greater coherence in policies and regulations to incentivise manufacturers and installers, address stakeholders’ concerns, and provide end users with a positive experience of heat pumps.
Learning & teaching
The Masters in Advanced Functional Materials includes the Energy and the Environment course. This course explores the physical mechanisms of various methods of energy production and will equip future physics graduates with a solid foundation in key physical principles and ideas that underpin climate change science and sustainable energy.
Colleagues from the Adam Smith Business School have contributed to a report on the circular fashion ecosystem.
Our Estates colleagues are working with University academics to further develop our Digital Twin projects. By creating a digital representation of our buildings and the elements within them, alongside our existing building management system capability, we can generate valuable data to drive our decision-making. This technology helps us to understand building usage and optimise the timings for running energy-intensive services for maximum efficiency.
The fashion and textiles industry currently has a significant adverse environmental and social impact and is cited as the joint third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases globally. Colleagues from the University’s Adam Smith Business School have contributed to the Institute of Positive Fashion’s phase two progress report on the circular fashion ecosystem, as part of a growing recognition of the need for a coordinated transition towards a circular business model. Creating a circular fashion ecosystem requires integrating ‘Doughnut Economics’ principles and applying circular economy strategies in a scalable approach in cities across the UK. The report presents a blueprint for the future of fashion through ten priority actions and recommendations for members of the industry as well as government, digital innovators, and investors.
Colleagues in our School of Health & Wellbeing and University Estates recently put leftover wood from the construction of their new home, the Clarice Pears Building, to good use. Boomerang Woodworking, one of our social enterprise partners, took the oak panelling used throughout the interior and created a beautiful ‘doodle’ wall installation for the Byres Community Hub within Clarice Pears. The remainder of the donated wood was used by Boomerang to create other bespoke products and items for sale and the profit will go towards free therapeutic, creative and skills development workshops for the community in Maryhill and surrounding areas.