30 June 2020

Green initiatives reduce CO2 emissions by 70 percent


Since 2006, the University of Copenhagen has reduced its CO2 emissions from energy consumption and transport by 70 percent. The excellent results will be the foundation of an even more holistic and ambitious effort where UCPH will set new goals for climate and sustainability.

Maersk Tower
Maersk Tower is one of the UCPH buildings that operates with a series of sustainability initiatives, for example, energy-efficient ventilation, rainwater harvesting, green rooftops, solar panels etc. Overall, UCPH has reduced CO2 emissions from energy consumption and transport by 70%.

Since 2006, the University of Copenhagen has been working towards reducing its climate footprint. The goal was a 65-percent reduction of CO2 emissions from energy consumption and transport both per student and employee in 2020. The most recent Green Campus report shows that UCPH has succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions by a total of 70 percent per full-time equivalent (FTE). The result has been achieved through the University’s own energy efficiency measures and through the green transition of the energy supply in Denmark.

- It's fantastic that we've reached the current climate goals. It proves that we can make a difference within the extremely important climate and sustainability agenda, says University Director Jesper Olesen.

Financial gain

The good results are not only important for the climate. For UCPH, it also means an annual financial gain of some DKK 50-60 million.

Focus has been on the areas with most impact: Large-scale investments in energy efficiency in buildings, more energy-efficient operations, better use of buildings and more energy-conscious behaviour among staff and students. Overall, more than 150 energy efficiency projects have been carried out all over UCPH.

Waste sorting, vegetarian canteens and less air travel

Even though the University’s efforts have focused on energy efficiency, a number of other initiatives have also been implemented, for example:

In Maersk Tower, waste sorting options are available on each floor of the building, which makes it easier to sort waste.
Several canteens have switched to biodegradable packaging. The Wicked Rabbit cafeteria only serves vegetarian food, and 'Climate Wednesday' was recently introduced on South Campus with no meat or fish served on the entire campus.
The transition to water-based district heating has resulted in considerable energy savings and less CO2 emissions.
An ambitious travel policy at, for example, the Department of Food and Resource Economics, will reduce CO2 emissions from the employees’ travels. Several other departments are making efforts in the same area, and UCPH’s new travel policy supports more climate-friendly meetings. At the same time, the corona lockdown has massively boosted virtual meetings.

We need to think green

It's important that we don't stop here. We need to think green and contribute to the green transition.

Prorector Bente Merete Stallknecht

The efforts to reduce UCPH’s climate footprint and improve sustainability do not end here, and there is still room for improvements in several areas. The results will be the starting point of an even more holistic effort where UCPH will be setting new goals for climate and sustainability across the University.

- It's important that we don't stop here. The University of Copenhagen should be a frontrunner when it comes to climate and sustainability. We need to think green and contribute to the green transition. So we’re now setting new, ambitious goals for the overall climate footprint that include all our activities, such as education, research, construction work and buying new equipment, says Prorector Bente Merete Stallknecht.

During autumn 2020, the proposal for the University's new sustainability goals will be presented and submitted for consultation.