Homepage emissions: UK Learning Providers

Last updated:
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 3.34g (median of 1.98g) 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
The University of Manchester0.30
Heythrop College0.34
Birkbeck College0.38
The University of Westminster0.42
Heriot-Watt University0.46
Ravensbourne Limited0.46
University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru0.50
University of Surrey0.55
Plymouth Marjon University0.56
Cardiff University0.57

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama30.28
University of Winchester21.51
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland19.02
University of East Anglia15.38
Royal Academy of Music11.75
Norwich University College of the Arts11.19
De Montfort University10.69
University of Warwick10.53
Cranfield University10.07
The City University8.97

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 Drama1000165330.282021-10-06
2University of Winchester1000361421.512021-11-03
3Royal Conservatoire of Scotland1000556119.022021-11-03
4University of East Anglia1000778915.382021-11-03
5Royal Academy of Music1000783511.752021-11-03
6Norwich University College of the Arts1000477511.192021-11-03
7De Montfort University1000188310.692021-11-03
8University of Warwick1000716310.532021-11-03
9Cranfield University1000782210.072021-11-03
10The City University100014788.972021-11-03
11University of London100077978.962021-11-03
12University College Falmouth100086408.892021-11-03
13University College London100077848.812021-11-03
14University of Durham100071438.682021-11-03
15University of the West of Scotland100078008.552021-11-03
16The University of Chichester100071377.932021-11-03
17University of Strathclyde100078057.822021-11-03
18Writtle College100076577.742021-11-03
19The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts100039457.732021-11-03
20University of Nottingham100071547.612021-11-03
21Glasgow Caledonian University100077627.042021-11-03
22Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London100077756.832021-11-03
23London South Bank University100040786.682021-11-03
24Rose Bruford College100055236.652021-11-03
25Guildhall School of Music and Drama100078256.372021-11-03
26Leeds College of Music100344495.862021-11-03
27The Arts University College at Bournemouth100003855.722021-11-03
28University of the Arts, London100071625.602021-11-03
29University of Salford100071565.172021-11-03
30University for the Creative Arts100064275.072021-11-03
31University of Sunderland100071594.832021-11-03
32The University of Cumbria100078424.522021-11-03
33University of Aberdeen100077834.362021-11-03
34Bangor University100078574.322021-11-03
35London Metropolitan University100040484.272021-11-03
36University of Bedfordshire100071524.202021-11-03
37Open University(The)100077734.072021-11-03
38University of Derby100078513.792021-11-03
39Stranmillis University College100080103.772021-11-03
40The University of Bolton100068413.712021-11-03
41University of Essex100077913.702021-11-03
42London Business School100077693.682021-11-03
43Middlesex University100043513.642021-11-03
44Loughborough University100041133.592021-11-03
45The University of Buckingham100077873.562021-11-03
46University Campus Suffolk Ltd100140013.552021-11-03
47University of Chester100078483.482021-11-03
48St Mary's University College, Twickenham100078433.432021-11-03
49Leeds College of Art100038543.422021-11-03
50University of Bath (The)100078503.412021-11-03
51University of Hull100071493.192021-11-03
52Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Limited100078383.062021-11-03
52Royal Northern College of Music100078373.062021-11-03
52Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College100055533.062021-11-03
55The Royal Veterinary College100077793.052021-11-03
56University of Newcastle Upon Tyne100077993.042021-11-03
57University of Lincoln100071513.022021-11-03
58Cardiff Metropolitan University100078543.002021-11-03
59Glyndwr University100078332.892021-11-03
60University of Edinburgh100077902.832021-11-03
61Leeds Trinity University College100038632.802021-11-03
62University of Bradford100077852.742021-11-03
63Liverpool Hope University100039562.602021-11-03
64Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh100053372.592021-11-03
65University of Reading100078022.502021-11-03
65Liverpool John Moores University100039572.502021-11-03
67Edge Hill University100078232.452021-11-03
68Northern School of Contemporary Dance100088162.422021-11-03
69Institute of Education, University of London100077662.342021-11-03
70University of Plymouth100078012.262021-11-03
71Royal Agricultural College100055452.242021-11-03
72Southampton Solent University100060222.222021-11-03
73Leeds Metropolitan University100038612.212021-11-03
74St George's Hospital Medical School100077822.202021-11-03
75University of Hertfordshire100071472.192021-11-03
76University of Greenwich100071462.182021-11-03
77Nottingham Trent University100047972.142021-11-03
78Brunel University100009612.112021-11-03
79University of Exeter100077922.052021-11-03
80Edinburgh Napier University100077722.012021-11-03
81School of Oriental and African Studies100077801.992021-11-03
81Courtauld Institute of Art100077611.992021-11-03
83University of the Highlands and Islands100071141.982021-11-03
83Bournemouth University100008241.982021-11-03
85University of Wales: Trinity Saint David100078581.972021-11-03
86St Mary's University College100080261.962021-11-03
87Harper Adams University100408121.952021-11-03
88University of Kent100071501.922021-11-03
89Central School of Speech and Drama(The)100078161.912021-11-03
90University of Cambridge100077881.902021-11-03
90The University of West London100065661.902021-11-03
92Buckinghamshire New University100009751.832021-11-03
93University of Abertay Dundee100078491.742021-11-03
94Roehampton University100077761.732021-11-03
95Kingston University100036781.722021-11-03
96University of Northumbria at Newcastle100012821.702021-11-03
97Teesside University100071611.692021-11-03
98University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg100077931.662021-11-03
99Royal College of Music100077781.632021-11-03
99Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine100032701.632021-11-03
101Glasgow School of Art100026811.622021-11-03
102University of Huddersfield100071481.612021-11-03
103University of Leicester100077961.602021-11-03
104University of Oxford100077741.592021-11-03
105School of Pharmacy University of London(The)100077811.582021-11-03
106Sheffield Hallam University100057901.562021-11-03
106Aston University100077591.562021-11-03
108Coventry University100017261.552021-11-03
109The Queen's University of Belfast100053431.532021-11-03
110Canterbury Christ Church University100011431.482021-11-03
111Swansea University100078551.422021-11-03
112Goldsmiths' College100027181.362021-11-03
113University of Ulster100078071.312021-11-03
113The Robert Gordon University100055001.312021-11-03
115King's College London100036451.302021-11-03
116The University of Northampton100071381.292021-11-03
117Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Ltd100080171.262021-11-03
118University of Southampton100071581.252021-11-03
119University of East London100071441.242021-11-03
120University of Stirling100078041.232021-11-03
121University of York100071671.182021-11-03
122Anglia Ruskin University100002911.172021-11-03
123University of Keele100077671.152021-11-03
123Oxford Brookes University100049301.152021-11-03
125University of Lancaster100077681.132021-11-03
125Newman University College100078321.132021-11-03
127University of Liverpool100068421.122021-11-03
128York St John University100077131.112021-11-03
128University of Worcester100071391.112021-11-03
130The Manchester Metropolitan University100041801.082021-11-03
131University of Bristol100077861.052021-11-03
131Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln100078111.052021-11-03
133University of Wolverhampton100071661.032021-11-03
133University of St Andrews100078031.032021-11-03
135University of Leeds100077951.022021-11-03
135University College Birmingham100007121.022021-11-03
135London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine100077711.022021-11-03
138University of Sussex100078061.012021-11-03
139University of Central Lancashire100071411.002021-11-03
140University of Brighton100008860.992021-11-03
141Birmingham City University100071400.982021-11-03
142University of Sheffield100071570.972021-11-03
143Royal College of Art(The)100077770.952021-11-03
143Bath Spa University100005710.952021-11-03
145University of Birmingham100068400.922021-11-03
146Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital (The)100033240.842021-11-03
147Prifysgol Aberystwyth100078560.832021-11-03
148Staffordshire University100062990.792021-11-03
149University of Portsmouth100071550.722021-11-03
150University of the West of England, Bristol100071640.692021-11-03
150London School of Economics & Political Science100040630.692021-11-03
152University of Glasgow100077940.682021-11-03
153University of Gloucestershire100071450.672021-11-03
153Sruc100057000.672021-11-03
155University of Dundee100078520.632021-11-03
156Cardiff University100078140.572021-11-03
157Plymouth Marjon University100374490.562021-11-03
158University of Surrey100071600.552021-11-03
159University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru100085740.502021-11-03
160Ravensbourne Limited100053890.462021-11-03
160Heriot-Watt University100077640.462021-11-03
162The University of Westminster100071650.422021-11-03
163Birkbeck College100077600.382021-11-03
164Heythrop College100077650.342021-11-03
165The University of Manchester100077980.302021-11-03

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

Related projects...