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 2.96g (median of 1.91g) 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 Cymru0.34
University of Surrey0.40
The University of Westminster0.41
The University of Manchester0.48
University of the West of England, Bristol0.49
Birkbeck College0.51
University of Lancaster0.51
University of Portsmouth0.52
Plymouth Marjon University0.54

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The University of Cumbria17.89
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland16.60
University of Winchester12.79
Leeds College of Music11.38
University of Nottingham10.62
University College London10.09
The City University9.47
Royal College of Music9.39
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama9.32
University of the West of Scotland9.17

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 University of Cumbria1000784217.892022-09-06
2Royal Conservatoire of Scotland1000556116.602022-09-06
3University of Winchester1000361412.792022-09-06
4Leeds College of Music1003444911.382022-09-06
5University of Nottingham1000715410.622022-09-06
6University College London1000778410.092022-09-06
7The City University100014789.472022-09-06
8Royal College of Music100077789.392022-09-06
9The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama100016539.322022-09-06
10University of the West of Scotland100078009.172022-09-06
11University of Sunderland100071598.762022-09-06
12The Arts University College at Bournemouth100003858.682022-09-06
13University of Salford100071568.632022-09-06
14Writtle College100076578.082022-09-06
15University College Falmouth100086407.632022-09-06
16Bangor University100078577.392022-09-06
17University of the Arts, London100071627.242022-09-06
18The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts100039456.762022-09-06
19London South Bank University100040786.592022-09-06
20Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Limited100078386.492022-09-06
21University of Essex100077916.072022-09-06
22Cranfield University100078225.982022-09-06
23Royal Academy of Music100078355.922022-09-06
24University of Kent100071505.772022-09-06
25London School of Economics & Political Science100040635.692022-09-06
26Open University(The)100077735.632022-09-06
27University of London100077975.572022-09-06
27University Campus Suffolk Ltd100140015.572022-09-06
29University of East Anglia100077895.012022-09-06
30Liverpool John Moores University100039574.972022-09-06
31Glasgow School of Art100026814.892022-09-06
32Loughborough University100041134.542022-09-06
33The Royal Veterinary College100077794.432022-09-06
34Norwich University College of the Arts100047754.322022-09-06
35The University of Bolton100068414.152022-09-06
36London Metropolitan University100040484.132022-09-06
37University of Durham100071433.632022-09-06
38Edge Hill University100078233.512022-09-06
39University of Hull100071493.492022-09-06
40St Mary's University College, Twickenham100078433.462022-09-06
41Glyndwr University100078333.322022-09-06
42Leeds Trinity University College100038633.302022-09-06
43University of Aberdeen100077833.262022-09-06
44Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College100055533.252022-09-06
45Middlesex University100043513.172022-09-06
46Leeds College of Art100038543.162022-09-06
47University for the Creative Arts100064273.142022-09-06
48University of Bath (The)100078503.062022-09-06
49University of Bedfordshire100071523.012022-09-06
50University of Gloucestershire100071452.952022-09-06
51Bournemouth University100008242.772022-09-06
52Glasgow Caledonian University100077622.752022-09-06
53University of Edinburgh100077902.742022-09-06
54Northern School of Contemporary Dance100088162.722022-09-06
55University of Hertfordshire100071472.672022-09-06
55Southampton Solent University100060222.672022-09-06
57Rose Bruford College100055232.642022-09-06
58Nottingham Trent University100047972.562022-09-06
59University of Oxford100077742.502022-09-06
60Liverpool Hope University100039562.492022-09-06
61University of Leicester100077962.452022-09-06
62Bath Spa University100005712.442022-09-06
63Cardiff Metropolitan University100078542.392022-09-06
64St George's Hospital Medical School100077822.362022-09-06
65London Business School100077692.342022-09-06
66Buckinghamshire New University100009752.332022-09-06
67Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London100077752.212022-09-06
67Courtauld Institute of Art100077612.212022-09-06
69University of Exeter100077922.192022-09-06
70St Mary's University College100080262.182022-09-06
71University of Plymouth100078012.142022-09-06
71Brunel University100009612.142022-09-06
73University of Ulster100078072.112022-09-06
74University of Chester100078482.062022-09-06
75University of Wales: Trinity Saint David100078582.042022-09-06
75University of Reading100078022.042022-09-06
75Harper Adams University100408122.042022-09-06
78The Queen's University of Belfast100053432.032022-09-06
79Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh100053372.022022-09-06
80Swansea University100078552.002022-09-06
81University of Newcastle Upon Tyne100077991.972022-09-06
82School of Pharmacy University of London(The)100077811.922022-09-06
83Royal Agricultural College100055451.912022-09-06
84University of Lincoln100071511.902022-09-06
85Teesside University100071611.892022-09-06
86Edinburgh Napier University100077721.862022-09-06
87The University of Chichester100071371.812022-09-06
88University of Huddersfield100071481.802022-09-06
89University of Greenwich100071461.792022-09-06
90University of the Highlands and Islands100071141.732022-09-06
91University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg100077931.702022-09-06
91University of Cambridge100077881.702022-09-06
91Roehampton University100077761.702022-09-06
94Kingston University100036781.682022-09-06
95Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Ltd100080171.642022-09-06
96Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln100078111.622022-09-06
97University of Derby100078511.562022-09-06
97Royal College of Art(The)100077771.562022-09-06
99The Robert Gordon University100055001.532022-09-06
100Anglia Ruskin University100002911.522022-09-06
101Institute of Education, University of London100077661.512022-09-06
101Coventry University100017261.512022-09-06
103The University of Northampton100071381.472022-09-06
104Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital (The)100033241.352022-09-06
105The Manchester Metropolitan University100041801.342022-09-06
106Goldsmiths' College100027181.312022-09-06
107University of Abertay Dundee100078491.302022-09-06
108University of East London100071441.272022-06-09
109Aston University100077591.252022-09-06
110University of Liverpool100068421.242022-09-06
111Prifysgol Aberystwyth100078561.222022-09-06
112University of Northumbria at Newcastle100012821.192022-09-06
112Staffordshire University100062991.192022-09-06
114University of Warwick100071631.172022-09-06
114Heriot-Watt University100077641.172022-09-06
116University of Strathclyde100078051.162022-09-06
116University of Bristol100077861.162022-09-06
116Oxford Brookes University100049301.162022-09-06
119London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine100077711.152022-09-06
120University of Keele100077671.142022-09-06
120Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine100032701.142022-09-06
122University of York100071671.112022-09-06
122Canterbury Christ Church University100011431.112022-09-06
124University of Brighton100008861.072022-09-06
124The University of West London100065661.072022-09-06
124Newman University College100078321.072022-09-06
124Birmingham City University100071401.072022-09-06
128Royal Northern College of Music100078371.032022-09-06
129Central School of Speech and Drama(The)100078161.012022-09-06
130University of St Andrews100078031.002022-09-06
131York St John University100077130.962022-09-06
132University of Worcester100071390.952022-09-06
132University of Sheffield100071570.952022-09-06
134University of Bradford100077850.942022-09-06
135School of Oriental and African Studies100077800.922022-09-06
136Stranmillis University College100080100.892022-09-06
136King's College London100036450.892022-09-06
138University of Southampton100071580.882022-09-06
139Cardiff University100078140.872022-09-06
140University of Leeds100077950.832022-09-06
140Guildhall School of Music and Drama100078250.832022-09-06
140De Montfort University100018830.832022-09-06
143University of Wolverhampton100071660.812022-09-06
144University of Dundee100078520.772022-09-06
144University of Birmingham100068400.772022-09-06
147University of Stirling100078040.752022-09-06
148University of Central Lancashire100071410.742022-09-06
149University of Sussex100078060.722022-09-06
149University of Glasgow100077940.722022-09-06
149Ravensbourne Limited100053890.722022-09-06
152The University of Buckingham100077870.712022-09-06
153Leeds Metropolitan University100038610.682022-09-06
154University College Birmingham100007120.622022-09-06
155Plymouth Marjon University100374490.542022-09-06
156University of Portsmouth100071550.522022-09-06
157University of Lancaster100077680.512022-09-06
157Birkbeck College100077600.512022-09-06
159University of the West of England, Bristol100071640.492022-09-06
160The University of Manchester100077980.482022-09-06
161The University of Westminster100071650.412022-09-06
162University of Surrey100071600.402022-09-06
163University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru100085740.342022-09-06
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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