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Durham University

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability


Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy and Strategy

Durham University is committed to reducing its environmental impact, and improving the local environment, both for the people who live and work in the University and for the wider community. This commitment is reflected in policies, plans and procedures which seek to make the most effective and efficient use of all resources, encouraging all members of the University community to develop an ecologically sound approach to their work and lifestyle.

Our commitment to Environmental Sustainability is also shown in our credentials and achievement of Platinum Accreditation for Eco Campus in December 2020 along with many other aspects of our sustainability agenda.

Read our environmental credentials
Read more about our sustainability agenda
Read our new Sustainability Action Plan
Read more about our policies

Yellow quarter circle with white plant shoot

'My Greenspace'

In order to bring all of the University’s environmental initiatives and activities together, we devised 'Greenspace' as the name and concept.

Read more about Greenspace
Visit the My Greenspace website

The University’s Energy and Sustainability Team

The Greenspace team promote our Policies and coordination of our environmental initiatives across the University. Our Environment Champions, Student Representatives and Steering Groups are also key members of Greenspace.

Find out more about the Greenspace team

Greenspace has evolved over the years and we would like to take you on our Greenspace Journey. Find out what we’re working on and how you can get involved by visiting our Greenspace Sway.

Sustainable Development Goals

These 17 goals have the power to create a better world by 2030, by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change.

Find out how Durham University is contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Featured video

Shaping the Future of Energy - Interview with Prof. Jon Gluyas, Director Durham Energy Institute

Shaping the Future of Energy - Interview with Prof. Jon Gluyas, Director Durham Energy Institute

Views: 595

Professor Jon Gluyas, Director of Durham Energy Institute (DEI), discusses global energy challenges and how the DEI is working in partnership with representatives from industry, policy and community sectors to research and progress low-carbon energy options. Interview filmed by The Business Debate.

Latest environmental research news

Developed in Durham: Sphera

(28 May 2021)

4 people sitting on a sofa

(L to R) Phil Buckley (COO & Co-Founder), Antonella Pagliarulo (Research Scientist), Natasha Boulding (CEO & Co-Founder) and Scott Bush (Co-Founder).

Founded in September 2019 by three PhD students, Sphera is Durham University’s first student spinout.

It is developing low carbon next generation construction materials. Currently, the team are focussing on a world-first - carbon zero and carbon negative concrete blocks.

Their innovation pipeline includes a concrete accelerant to speed up concrete curing rate and decrease cement content. These pioneering solutions are developed to help tackle climate change by offering the industry low carbon material alternatives that specifically focus on embodied carbon content.

Northern Accelerator funding

Coupled with support from Durham, Sphera has accessed Northern Accelerator programmes to start-up and grow the company

These programmes bring together academics and business leaders, with a host of funding and support, to form sustainable businesses that create more and better jobs.

Developed in Durham

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth – responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 production.

Sphera provides an immediate and tangible solution to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry and are targeting forward-thinking architects and developers who want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the climate crisis and Net Zero.

The next steps for the team, who have just expanded their workforce and sites, is to use the blocks in demonstrator projects in collaboration with architects.

A sustainable future

The team have been the first to admit that starting a business alongside PhD studies is not for the faint hearted, however they have gone from strength to strength.

As a team comprised of scientists, one of their biggest challenges was to learn the ins and outs of the business world. This was made all easier by the availability of workshops locally including those offered by the Blueprint Startup Challenge and Durham City Incubator.

To date, the team has successfully raised significant private and public investment, including being awarded two Innovate UK grants. With help from an advisor from the Northern Accelerator Executives into Businsess programme they are now entering into their pre-Series A investment round to grow the business further.

Find out more

Enabled by £4.9m from Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, Northern Accelerator builds upon two European Regional Development Fund programmes to embed entrepreneurial business leaders into university spin-outs at the earliest stage.