There are several other interventions which will be necessary and important aspects of our strategy whether or not they are essential for achieving net zero carbon neutrality.
We need to address the issue of space utilisation much more seriously than we have up till now. Despite the pressure of numbers in our growing University community, the use of space across campus is patchy – there is considerable scope for progress in this area through central management of rooms, more efficient sharing of accommodation and strategic disinvestment of inefficient buildings. Flexible working policies will be an important part of this story.
We will work closely with Glasgow City Council, which is also developing a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Through our involvement with Sustainable Glasgow, we will contribute to and benefit from collaborative initiatives such as improved public transport, joined-up active travel provision and low-carbon district heating networks.
Alongside efforts to increase usage of public transport and active travel, we will aim to reduce the impact of commuting by encouraging the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. Many members of staff live at a distance from the campuses and remain dependent on use of private vehicles for commuting; we will encourage a trend which is already underway towards environmentally friendly vehicles through a range of financial and other incentives. The take-up of electric vehicles may advance more quickly than is assumed in the consultants’ projections, yielding further reductions in emissions.
Finally, we will continue to foster green spaces and biodiversity on the University’s campuses. We will utilise our campuses to showcase our approach to environmental sustainability, making particular use of the University’s 850-acre farm at Cochno. This should help to raise awareness of sustainability issues as well as creating a more pleasant and healthy working environment. In addition, it will create a test bed for research and education by using the campus as a ‘living lab’.