Homepage emissions: UK Learning Providers

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The internet consumes a lot of electricity. 416.2 TWh per year.

How are universities and colleges impacting the planet? You may not think of websites as sources of carbon emissions but they are. Data centres, transmission networks, and the devices we use to access them all use electricity which, in turn, produces carbon emissions. When your website has lots of visitors that can easily add up. We've used the Website Carbon Calculator (created by Wholegrain Digital) to assess UK learning provider homepages.

The results

The average emissions from a UK learning provider homepage are 3.10g (median of 1.82g) which is worse than an average website (1.76g). So, overall, UK learning providers are doing badly. The top and bottom 10 websites are given here with the full list below.

Top 10 lowest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
Sheffield Hallam University0.14
University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru0.33
The University of Westminster0.37
Birkbeck College0.40
University of Surrey0.41
University of Lancaster0.44
University of Dundee0.46
The University of Manchester0.49
The University of Buckingham0.50
Ravensbourne Limited0.52

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama30.13
University of Winchester21.73
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland16.80
University of Durham16.28
Royal Academy of Music11.04
University of Sunderland10.61
Royal College of Music10.46
University of the West of Scotland10.16
Leeds College of Music10.14
University College London9.35

Why should universities care?

Each visitor may only produce a few grams of CO2 emissions but when taken over time - and over the number of visitors - that can soon add up. For instance, if your page generates 1g of CO2 per visit and you get 10,000 visitors a month that works out at as much CO2 as boiling water for 5,700 cups of tea a year.

Aside from the environmental impact of large websites, there is also the impact on your visitors who are on limited data plans. A single visit to a 30MB homepage (12g of CO2) would use an entire day's worth of data for someone on a 1GB monthly plan.

How can a university do better?

Don't despair! The worst offenders usually have some very easy things they can do to dramatically reduce their CO2 emissions that most likely don't need the IT department to get involved. The first thing to do is check the file sizes of images you use on the front page. Often there will be a large header image, images in a carousel, or images associated with news items. These are most likely added through a content management system which doesn't optimise the image.

Check out our advice for local authorities, Wholegrain Digital's 17 ways you can make your website more efficient and our blog post from the #PlanetData2 event in 2020.

The full list

Here is the full list of universities with their CO2 emissions but you can also get this as a CSV file or TSV file. Note that university websites often change with new featured items and this can affect their CO2 emissions so this table is a snapshot.

RankUK learning providerUKPRNCO2 / gramsLast checked
1The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama1000165330.132022-06-09
2University of Winchester1000361421.732022-06-09
3Royal Conservatoire of Scotland1000556116.802022-06-09
4University of Durham1000714316.282022-06-09
5Royal Academy of Music1000783511.042022-06-09
6University of Sunderland1000715910.612022-06-09
7Royal College of Music1000777810.462022-06-09
8University of the West of Scotland1000780010.162022-06-09
9Leeds College of Music1003444910.142022-06-09
10University College London100077849.352022-06-09
11The City University100014788.842022-06-09
12The Arts University College at Bournemouth100003858.632022-06-09
13University of Nottingham100071548.492022-06-09
14Cranfield University100078228.232022-06-09
15The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts100039458.222022-06-09
16Writtle College100076577.852022-06-09
17University of Aberdeen100077837.172022-06-09
18London South Bank University100040787.072022-06-09
19University of Warwick100071636.802022-06-09
20University of Salford100071566.732022-06-09
21Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Limited100078385.922022-06-09
22University of East Anglia100077895.672022-06-09
23University Campus Suffolk Ltd100140015.242022-06-09
24London School of Economics & Political Science100040634.872022-06-09
25The University of Cumbria100078424.692022-06-09
26London Metropolitan University100040484.662022-06-09
27School of Oriental and African Studies100077804.362022-06-09
28Norwich University College of the Arts100047754.352022-06-09
29The University of Bolton100068414.262022-06-09
30University College Falmouth100086404.172022-06-09
31University of Bedfordshire100071524.162022-06-09
32The Royal Veterinary College100077794.152022-06-09
33Loughborough University100041133.892022-06-09
33Glasgow Caledonian University100077623.892022-06-09
35Glasgow School of Art100026813.882022-06-09
36University of Essex100077913.832022-06-09
37University of Greenwich100071463.662022-06-09
37Glyndwr University100078333.662022-06-09
39Middlesex University100043513.612022-06-09
40Leeds Trinity University College100038633.532022-06-09
41University for the Creative Arts100064273.472022-06-09
42University of Hull100071493.372022-06-09
43University of Bath (The)100078503.302022-06-09
44St Mary's University College, Twickenham100078433.222022-06-09
45Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College100055533.122022-06-09
46University of Gloucestershire100071453.032022-06-09
47University of Ulster100078073.002022-06-09
48Cardiff Metropolitan University100078542.992022-06-09
49University of the Arts, London100071622.922022-06-09
49University of Cambridge100077882.922022-06-09
49Leeds College of Art100038542.922022-06-09
52Rose Bruford College100055232.852022-06-09
53University of Southampton100071582.842022-06-09
54St George's Hospital Medical School100077822.692022-06-09
54Liverpool Hope University100039562.692022-06-09
56Bournemouth University100008242.662022-06-09
57Open University(The)100077732.602022-06-09
57Liverpool John Moores University100039572.602022-06-09
59Canterbury Christ Church University100011432.572022-06-09
60The University of Chichester100071372.522022-06-09
61University of Lincoln100071512.502022-06-09
62University of Exeter100077922.472022-06-09
63University of Plymouth100078012.392022-06-09
63University of Chester100078482.392022-06-09
65Anglia Ruskin University100002912.282022-06-09
66University of Edinburgh100077902.272022-06-09
67Nottingham Trent University100047972.262022-06-09
68Edge Hill University100078232.222022-06-09
69Courtauld Institute of Art100077612.212022-06-09
70Southampton Solent University100060222.152022-06-09
71Swansea University100078552.082022-06-09
72Brunel University100009612.072022-06-09
73Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London100077752.052022-06-09
74University of Reading100078022.032022-06-09
75St Mary's University College100080262.012022-06-09
76University of Kent100071501.992022-06-09
77Buckinghamshire New University100009751.942022-06-09
78Teesside University100071611.912022-06-09
79Roehampton University100077761.902022-06-09
79Northern School of Contemporary Dance100088161.902022-06-09
81University of Leicester100077961.872022-06-09
82University of Wales: Trinity Saint David100078581.832022-06-09
83Royal Agricultural College100055451.822022-06-09
83Edinburgh Napier University100077721.822022-06-09
85School of Pharmacy University of London(The)100077811.802022-06-09
85Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh100053371.802022-06-09
87University of Hertfordshire100071471.762022-06-09
88University of Newcastle Upon Tyne100077991.752022-06-09
89Kingston University100036781.712022-06-09
90Harper Adams University100408121.702022-06-09
91Oxford Brookes University100049301.672022-06-09
92University of Huddersfield100071481.662022-06-09
92University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg100077931.662022-06-09
94University of Derby100078511.652022-06-09
95The Queen's University of Belfast100053431.642022-06-09
96University of Abertay Dundee100078491.602022-06-09
97Royal Northern College of Music100078371.572022-06-09
98Goldsmiths' College100027181.542022-06-09
99University of Oxford100077741.512022-06-09
99Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Ltd100080171.512022-06-09
101Leeds Metropolitan University100038611.502022-06-09
101Institute of Education, University of London100077661.502022-06-09
101Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln100078111.502022-06-09
104Bangor University100078571.452022-06-09
105King's College London100036451.422022-06-09
105Aston University100077591.422022-06-09
107Coventry University100017261.412022-06-09
108The University of Northampton100071381.372022-06-09
109The Robert Gordon University100055001.352022-06-09
109Birmingham City University100071401.352022-06-09
111University of Strathclyde100078051.322022-06-09
112University of Northumbria at Newcastle100012821.292022-06-09
112University of Birmingham100068401.292022-06-09
112Newman University College100078321.292022-06-09
115University of East London100071441.272022-06-09
115Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital (The)100033241.272022-06-09
117University of Glasgow100077941.262022-06-09
117The Manchester Metropolitan University100041801.262022-06-09
119University of York100071671.252022-06-09
120University of Keele100077671.242022-06-09
121University of Brighton100008861.232022-06-09
122University of Liverpool100068421.182022-06-09
123University of Bradford100077851.162022-06-09
123Heriot-Watt University100077641.162022-06-09
125Central School of Speech and Drama(The)100078161.142022-06-09
126The University of West London100065661.122022-06-09
126Staffordshire University100062991.122022-06-09
128University of the Highlands and Islands100071141.112022-06-09
129Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine100032701.082022-06-09
130University of Bristol100077861.072022-06-09
131Stranmillis University College100080101.042022-06-09
131Prifysgol Aberystwyth100078561.042022-06-09
133Royal College of Art(The)100077771.022022-06-09
134London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine100077711.002022-06-09
135Bath Spa University100005710.982022-06-09
136University of Sheffield100071570.972022-06-09
137York St John University100077130.962022-06-09
138University of Wolverhampton100071660.892022-06-09
139University of Central Lancashire100071410.882022-06-09
140University of Worcester100071390.872022-06-09
142University of St Andrews100078030.812022-06-09
143De Montfort University100018830.782022-06-09
144Guildhall School of Music and Drama100078250.772022-06-09
145University of Stirling100078040.762022-06-09
146Cardiff University100078140.752022-06-09
147Plymouth Marjon University100374490.742022-06-09
148University of Sussex100078060.732022-06-09
149University of Portsmouth100071550.672022-06-09
150University College Birmingham100007120.652022-06-09
151University of the West of England, Bristol100071640.602022-06-09
151University of London100077970.602022-06-09
151University of Leeds100077950.602022-06-09
154London Business School100077690.552022-06-09
155Ravensbourne Limited100053890.522022-06-09
156The University of Buckingham100077870.502022-06-09
157The University of Manchester100077980.492022-06-09
158University of Dundee100078520.462022-06-09
159University of Lancaster100077680.442022-06-09
160University of Surrey100071600.412022-06-09
161Birkbeck College100077600.402022-06-09
162The University of Westminster100071650.372022-06-09
163University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru100085740.332022-06-09
164Sheffield Hallam University100057900.142022-06-09

Where the CO2 emissions are given as "?" no result could be found using the Website Carbon Calculator.

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