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Energy, Carbon and Water

Energy use in buildings is one of the most significant elements of BU’s Carbon Footprint. BU is investing in energy efficient equipment such as lighting, building management controls, boilers and heating systems to help run the estate as efficiently as possible. Students and staff can also play a key role in helping us to save energy.

Our work in this area, and continual improvement, is of importance to our community and also globally

The steps we're taking to save energy

BU has had a Carbon Management Plan since 2009 and has been implementing a wide range of energy and water-saving projects to save money and carbon. Examples include installing efficient LED lighting, a biomass boiler, two ground source heat pumps and a number of solar panel arrays. You can see the energy generated by our latest PV array on Poole House here.

The Carbon Management Plan was refreshed in 2016 and the target is to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020/21 against the 2005/6 baseline. This is an ambitious target given BU's growth plans. To attempt to meet it BU will continue to invest in the estate and to encourage all staff and students to play their part in helping to reduce carbon emissions. The plan builds on all the good work to date and sets out the key initiatives we will implement as we work towards the target. 

BU's Energy and Water Policy (pdf 173kb) sets out commitments to minimise consumption and install renewable energy and water technologies.

BU also has a Sustainable IT Policy (pdf 278kb) which refers to the operation of IT infrastructure and services. It actively contributes towards our Sustainability Policy and the Carbon Management Plan. You can view all of our sustainable policies and documents on the governance and policies page.

Students on the MSc Green Economy course complete an assignment in which they critically evaluate the BU Carbon Management Plan and make suggestions for improvement. This assignment gives students experience of reviewing a real working document outlining environmental management in a large organisation. It also gives them an insight into the work that goes into managing our environmental impacts at BU. Read more examples of ESD at BU.

Student Switch Off

Student Switch Off (SSO) is an NUS energy saving competition for students living in halls of residence at Bournemouth. It gives students the chance to win prizes such as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and summer ball tickets by saving energy for their hall over the course of the year and by taking part in a series of competitions including a climate change quiz.


In 2017/18, 355 students across six halls signed up to Student Switch Off. All six halls reduced their energy usage with the average reduction from baseline figures across all halls coming in at 8%.

Dorchester House was the winning hall and they reduced their electricity consumption by 8% compared to 2013/14 and 2014/15. This equates to saving 37,719 kWh and 15 tonnes of CO2.

662 students took part in the Climate Change Quizzes and 10 students participated in Ambassador training. Ambassadors receive a reference from the NUS which they can put on their CV. Check out the 2017/18 Student Switch Off Campaign report (pdf 378kb).

How to get involved

Take part in our Spot the Drop campaign and report any drips and leaks you see to us. If you’re the first to report it you could win a free stainless steel water bottle!

Find out more about the Student Switch Off or ask at your halls reception. 

How does this help BU?

Student Switch Off contributes to meeting our 40% carbon reduction target by 2020 from 2005/6 baselines. You can read more in our Carbon Management Plan (pdf 2.4mb) and annual report (pdf 1.4mb). BU regularly reports its Carbon emissions and also monitors indirect Scope 3 emissions (pdf 250kb).

Things you can do

Turn off monitors, lights and any other equipment when not in use.
Take the stairs rather than the lift.
Report wasted energy and water to the sustainability team.
Keep up to date with everything sustainable at BU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.