Our sustainable campus

We're leading by example and creating a sustainable campus that reduces our impact on the environment – building a live learning place for staff and students. A sustainable campus incorporates everything that you come into contact with – from the food in the cafes to the lighting in the buildings and the way you get to campus in the morning.

Our sustainable campus plan has eight main areas:

Carbon and energy

We're working to continually reduce emissions, having signed up to the Climate Emergency with an aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2025 . How? Through reducing campus energy use and researching future alternative solutions.


We're working to reduce water consumption to below 3.3m3 per student per annum – by investing in new technology, minimising leaks and diversifying sourcing away from mains supply.

Waste and recycling

We're working to reduce the amount of waste generated to below 20kg per student per annum. And to recycle 70% of our waste.


We have a continuous programme of construction and refurbishment, using this as an opportunity to improve the efficiency of our campus. Every new building will achieve low carbon design principles, and every refurbishment will target SKA Gold rating.

Procurement and finance

We're embedding sustainable procurement, ensuring purchasing is from socially, ethically and environmentally responsible businesses.

Ethical investment

We ensure that ethical investment is an integral part of our overall Treasury Management Policy.


We're working to increase the levels of biodiversity on campus compared to 2011 levels – so we can support plant and animal species and outdoor learning.


We support a green travel plan that targets reducing car travel and promoting cycling, walking and public transport to get to University and between sites.


We're creating a sustainable food culture that supports local, sustainable and Fairtrade produce and suppliers. 

Our management systems

In 2009, we successfully gained ISO 14001 accreditation – one of very few higher education institutions to do so at the time. This accreditation is an international standard providing a framework – for organisations of any size – to control and improve environmental performance via an Environmental Management System (EMS). It provides practical tools for us to identify and control environmental impacts and it recognises that we have a systematic approach to environmental management – one that is externally audited. We are externally accredited to ISO 14001 for our Environmental Management System, for the activities on our main campus site, including Cookworthy building, as well as Derriford Research Facility and John Bull building.

We also have a Building Management System (BMS). A computer-based system, it manages, controls and monitors building technical services – like the energy the devices in our buildings use, and lighting. It controls 95% of our campus buildings, ensuring intelligent control of the building systems to make sure there's no energy waste. The BMS, for example, will turn on the boilers according to external temperatures, and can report a fire or a break-in.

Meet the team

A dedicated team of professional staff – based in Estates and Facilities manage operational sustainability issues at the University, led by:

Head of Sustainability – Dr Samantha Davies

Energy Manager – Jack Roberts 

BeMS Manager – Brian Cann

Estates and Facilities Assistant – Sharon Harper

Data Analyst – James Allen

Environment Officer (Compliance) – Amy Bennett

Environment Officer (Engagement) – Matthew Tosdevin

The Centre for Sustainable Futures team lead on sustainability in education whilst our Sustainable Earth Institute is supported by a multidisciplinary spread of staff and academics. We have further staff who lead on various sustainability issues including (but not limited to) waste, catering and procurement.

For general enquiries, please feel free to contact us at sustainability@plymouth.ac.uk.