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The University of Essex, Road Map to Net Zero


The University of Essex is a ‘plate glass’ university that was established in 1963. It has three campuses in Colchester, Southend and Loughton.


The university declared a Climate Emergency on 9th December 2020 and pledged to produce a Climate Action Plan including a target date for achieving net zero emissions.



LCMB produced an in-depth, individualised Carbon Reduction Plan for the University of Essex with options to achieve net zero by 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2050. A comprehensive Energy Reduction Plan detailed a breakdown of opportunities to reduce energy consumption through a number of different innovative technologies and energy saving measures. The feasibility, cost, payback period and financial saving of each option were detailed, as well as the carbon reductions that would be achieved. This report scoped how carbon emissions are produced based on an understanding of current infrastructure, fabric, and systems across its 3 campuses.

This detailed roadmap includes a review of energy consumption, quantification of Scope 1 and 2 (definition of scope 1 & 2: https://www.lcmb.co.uk/net-zero-carbon-how-we-achieve-it/ and details the potential opportunities for energy improvements at the university’s three individual campuses.



Based on our recommendations, the university decided on an ambitious 2035 net zero target and will begin implementing some of these energy saving projects this year.

The Requirements:

  • Set a date when the university aims to reach net zero for Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (2035)
  • Establish sufficient understanding of the University’s infrastructure, fabric and systems across its 3 campuses
  • Define the optionality around feasible measures to reach net zero emissions.
  • Establish the cost, financial saving, payback period and carbon reduction of each sustainable solution.
  • Develop an action plan which includes an advisable delivery mechanism and funding options for energy saving measures.
  • Develop an action plan containing measures to reach net zero by 2030, 2040 and 2050.

Challenges and Achievements

  • Reaching a target that is feasible, cost effective and satisfied the university’s many different stakeholders
  • There are plentiful exciting and innovative technologies to reduce carbon however the cost and feasibility of implementing these in a university setting is not simple
  • Infrastructure and lifecycle considerations needed to be addressed before suggesting projects, this required sufficient understanding of the university’s infrastructure and mechanical limitations
net zero lcmb
Chart: University Carbon Emissions Options for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2050 – this equates to a 94% reduction by 2050 from the University’s 2012 baseline

The chart above outlines the roadmap to netzero for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2050 based on current consumption data and the implementation of projects identified in the report.


  • Establishing a bold and impressive 2035 net zero target, paving the way for other universities and public sector organisations
  • Identified a solid short-, medium- and long-term net zero programme
  • Tailored building solutions for the mixed infrastructural challenges amongst the 3 campuses
  • Successfully analysed site energy consumption and spend to achieve significant carbon and cost savings
  • Produced in-depth and comprehensive rational and cost breakdown of each solution to provide maximum transparency of process


To find out more about our carbon reduction services or to speak to our energy expert Mike Kenny email us at [email protected]

Find out more

LCMB improves the financial and environmental sustainability of buildings and estates, and the productivity and well-being of the people using them. We do this by reducing building operating costs, energy used and improving building space and its’ utilisation. We offer Workplace Performance, Facilities Management, Project Management and Resource optimisation support.

Amongst others our clients include King’s College London, Birmingham Airport, Tata Technologies, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Bouygues Energies & Services.

Give us a call on:
01295 576 000

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