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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student news

Gold standard for EcoCampus

(22 June 2020)

It’s really important to us that we take good care of our environment. So we’re proud to have met the requirements of the Gold standard for EcoCampus.

What is EcoCampus?

It’s a scheme that helps UK colleges and universities manage their environmental impacts.

We gained Bronze and Silver accreditation in February 2020 and have just received the Gold standard.

But we’re not stopping there. We want to do more and aim to achieve the top level, Platinum, within the next few months.

What is Durham doing about the environment?

We have renewable technologies including ground source heat pumps and solar panels on campus so we can generate our own electricity. In 2018/19, we generated over 300,000kWh – enough to power 80 homes for a year.

Students and staff can bid for funding for projects to reduce our carbon emissions. Since 2011, we’ve awarded £670,000 to over 100 projects. These have saved nearly 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

We use zero carbon electricity, generated through off-shore wind farms. This has helped us to reduce the carbon footprint of our electricity use by nearly half since 2005.

At the end of each academic year, rather than throw away belongings they no longer want, students can donate them to charity through our Green Move Out project.

We don’t invest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction.

Plus we also reuse rainwater to flush toilets on campus, encourage everyone to use reusable cups and recycle furniture across our Departments and Colleges.

World-leading environmental research

We also seek to lead society in becoming more environmentally sustainable, through our world-leading research.

Experts from the Durham Energy Institute are looking at ways to heat homes and workplaces by harnessing the warm water in abandoned coal mines, our physicists are working on ways to make solar power cheaper and more efficient and our surface scientists developed a coated mesh to help clean up oil spills.

We were recently named as one of the world’s top universities for our contribution to a number of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Join us in making Durham a greener place

Being an environmentally sustainable University requires us all to do our bit.

Greenspace, our dedicated Energy and Sustainability Team, works with students and staff across the University to raise awareness of environmental issues. Join our Greenspace movement.

For more information, visit our Greenspace web pages.