At Exeter College we are tracking our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and taking steps to reduce them. Thanks to the efforts of students, staff and Fellows substantial reductions have been made and we are working hard to make further cuts. The complex process of calculating the College’s Scope 3 emissions is also under way. For information about what we mean by Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions click here. We will announce our target for achieving net zero carbon once we have a clear idea of the scale of that undertaking and a detailed plan for achieving it.
Scope 1 emissions
Exeter College has reduced gas consumption by 14.03% since 2019, with a drop of 6.69% up to 2021 and a further reduction of 7.87% in the following year. As visible in the graph below, the College’s gas consumption was 389,744m3 in 2019 (which was unaffected by Covid-19 restrictions on movement and advice to ventilate rooms by opening doors and windows). In 2021 this was 363,688m3 and in 2022 it fell to 335,055m3.
Thus, the College’s scope 1 emissions from gas fell from 802.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2019 to 748.7 tonnes in 2021 and 689.7 in 2022. This is based on a calculation of our emissions using the government’s conversion factors (Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2022) and our meter readings and estimates where required.
To see year-on-year reductions in our use of gas in winter 2022/23 compared to winter 2021/22 see ‘Renewable energy and reducing energy use‘.
The College owns a 2.4 litre diesel van which in 2021 travelled 1,756 miles, producing 1 tonne of CO2e (rounded up from 0.55 tonnes based on the DriveSmart online van carbon footprint calculator).
In 2019 the van travelled 1,469 miles, also producing 1 tonne of CO2e when rounded up.
Scope 2 emissions
Exeter College has reduced electricity consumption by 18.25% since 2019. As the graph below shows, electricity consumption was 1,564,468 kWh in 2022. This was only a slight fall from 2021’s electricity consumption of 1,568,874 kWh. However, considering that 2021 was still disrupted by the pandemic, with many students not present in Hilary Term and more staff working from home, even small savings are an achievement. In 2019 (pre-Covid-19) the College’s electricity consumption was 1,913,700 kWh.
By using electricity generated from renewable sources the College avoided the production of 366 tonnes of CO2e in 2021 (Government greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting, Defra, June 2020) and 302.5 tonnes of CO2e in 2022. This is again based on a calculation of our emissions using the government’s conversion factors (Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2022) and our meter readings and estimates where required.
Scope 3 emissions
In 2022, Exeter College used approximately 21,351 m3 of mains water.
In 2021, Exeter College used 20,518m3 of mains water, which created 22 tonnes of CO2e (Government greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting, Defra, June 2020).
Student travel – students resident in the UK
In 2021, the majority of our taught students attended College in Trinity and Michaelmas terms, but not Hilary term (due to Covid-19 restrictions). Similarly, the majority of research students chose to stay in Oxford throughout the year. We have assumed that UK students travelled to Oxford by car, with a family member or friend dropping them in Oxford and then making the return trip home. We have therefore assumed that UK students on undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses required four return trips in 2021 (one at the start and one at the end of each term they spent in Oxford) and postgraduate research students made two return trips. For our calculations we included 100% of CO2e emissions for postgraduate students, rather than dividing their emissions equally between their University department and the College. For the purposes of estimating the CO2e emissions we assumed that the average return journey was 400 miles, equivalent to driving from Lancaster to Oxford and back. This equates to 174 tonnes of CO2e from our UK students travelling to and from Oxford (University of Oxford Carbon Accounting Tool 2020).
Student travel – students resident overseas
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the majority of our international students on undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses made two return flights from their home country in 2021 and the majority of postgraduate students taking research degrees made one return flight from their country of origin. For our calculations we included 100% of CO2e emissions for postgraduate students, rather than dividing their emissions equally between their University department and the College. For the purposes of estimating CO2e emissions we assumed each student flew from the capital city of their country of residence to London and vice versa for return trips. This equates to 872 tonnes of CO2e from our international students travelling to and from the UK (University of Oxford Carbon Accounting Tool 2020).
The food-based carbon footprint is calculated by broad approximation and more detailed analysis in our upstream supply chain will be carried out in due course. The calculation uses the College’s 2021 catering operations and is based on the equivalent of circa 19,200 day consumers at 5.2Kg/CO2e per day (source: Food in a warming world: the changing foods on the British Plate, WWF, 2018; broadly in line with data from “Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK” by Scarborough P. et al., Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford, 2014). This equates to 100 tonnes of CO2e from food in 2021.
Exeter owns and manages responsibly approximately 12 hectares of woodland and six hectares of grassland including a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Together these absorbed approximately 74 tonnes of CO2e in 2021 (University of Oxford Carbon Accounting Tool 2020).
CO2e emitted, avoided or removed for the year 2022
|Carbon emissions (expressed as tonnes of CO2e)*|
|Student travel||ca. 1,046|
|Electricity using renewable sources of energy||-302.5|
* negative figures represent where CO2e has been removed or avoided