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 3.09g (median of 1.79g) 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 Westminster0.37
Birkbeck College0.39
University of Surrey0.41
University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru0.44
University of Dundee0.48
The University of Buckingham0.49
University of Lancaster0.53
The University of Manchester0.54
Plymouth Marjon University0.59
University of London0.60

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama30.20
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland20.94
University of East Anglia18.70
University of Winchester12.79
University of Durham12.68
Guildhall School of Music and Drama11.30
University of Sunderland11.01
Royal Academy of Music10.75
Royal College of Music10.59
Leeds College of Music10.23

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 Drama1000165330.202022-04-12
2Royal Conservatoire of Scotland1000556120.942022-04-12
3University of East Anglia1000778918.702022-04-12
4University of Winchester1000361412.792022-04-12
5University of Durham1000714312.682022-04-12
6Guildhall School of Music and Drama1000782511.302022-04-12
7University of Sunderland1000715911.012022-04-12
8Royal Academy of Music1000783510.752022-04-12
9Royal College of Music1000777810.592022-04-12
10Leeds College of Music1003444910.232022-04-12
11The City University100014789.242022-04-12
12University of Warwick100071639.152022-04-12
13University of Nottingham100071548.492022-04-12
14Writtle College100076577.912022-04-12
15The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts100039457.712022-04-12
16University College London100077847.202022-04-12
17Cranfield University100078227.052022-04-12
18University of the West of Scotland100078006.912022-04-12
19University of Salford100071566.692022-04-12
20London South Bank University100040786.602022-04-12
21University of Aberdeen100077836.142022-04-12
22Glasgow Caledonian University100077625.782022-04-12
23The Arts University College at Bournemouth100003855.732022-04-12
24Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Limited100078385.682022-04-12
25Loughborough University100041134.902022-04-12
26The University of Cumbria100078424.662022-04-12
27Norwich University College of the Arts100047754.632022-04-12
28University of Bedfordshire100071524.242022-04-12
29The Royal Veterinary College100077793.862022-04-12
30The University of Bolton100068413.812022-04-12
31University of Essex100077913.772022-04-12
32University of Greenwich100071463.712022-04-12
33University of the Arts, London100071623.612022-04-12
34University Campus Suffolk Ltd100140013.592022-04-12
35London Metropolitan University100040483.512022-04-12
36Rose Bruford College100055233.482022-04-12
37Middlesex University100043513.422022-04-12
37Glyndwr University100078333.422022-04-12
39Cardiff Metropolitan University100078543.392022-04-12
40London Business School100077693.362022-04-12
41University of Hull100071493.322022-04-12
42University of Edinburgh100077903.272022-04-12
43Edge Hill University100078233.092022-04-12
44University of Derby100078513.082022-04-12
45University for the Creative Arts100064273.062022-04-12
46Leeds Trinity University College100038633.052022-04-12
47University of Southampton100071583.042022-04-12
47Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College100055533.042022-04-12
49University of Bath (The)100078502.972022-04-12
50Leeds College of Art100038542.892022-04-12
51St Mary's University College, Twickenham100078432.832022-04-12
52University of Hertfordshire100071472.812022-04-12
53University of Chester100078482.762022-04-12
54Liverpool Hope University100039562.662022-04-12
55University of Cambridge100077882.642022-04-12
55Leeds Metropolitan University100038612.642022-04-12
57University of Kent100071502.472022-04-12
58The University of Chichester100071372.392022-04-12
59Liverpool John Moores University100039572.342022-04-12
60London School of Economics & Political Science100040632.302022-04-12
61University of Reading100078022.272022-04-12
61University of Plymouth100078012.272022-04-12
63The University of West London100065662.262022-04-12
64Harper Adams University100408122.242022-04-12
65St George's Hospital Medical School100077822.212022-04-12
65Nottingham Trent University100047972.212022-04-12
67Southampton Solent University100060222.152022-04-12
68University of Wales: Trinity Saint David100078582.142022-04-12
69School of Oriental and African Studies100077802.092022-04-12
70Brunel University100009612.072022-04-12
71Courtauld Institute of Art100077612.062022-04-12
72University College Falmouth100086402.022022-04-12
72St Mary's University College100080262.022022-04-12
74Bournemouth University100008242.012022-04-12
75Glasgow School of Art100026811.992022-04-12
76University of Exeter100077921.972022-04-12
76Teesside University100071611.972022-04-12
78University of Ulster100078071.942022-04-12
79Royal Agricultural College100055451.912022-04-12
80Buckinghamshire New University100009751.842022-04-12
81Swansea University100078551.812022-04-12
82University of Lincoln100071511.792022-04-12
82Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh100053371.792022-04-12
84Canterbury Christ Church University100011431.782022-04-12
85University of Newcastle Upon Tyne100077991.772022-04-12
86University of Huddersfield100071481.742022-04-12
86Sheffield Hallam University100057901.742022-04-12
86Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London100077751.742022-04-12
89University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg100077931.722022-04-12
90The Queen's University of Belfast100053431.702022-04-12
90Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine100032701.702022-04-12
92University College Birmingham100007121.652022-04-12
92Northern School of Contemporary Dance100088161.652022-04-12
94School of Pharmacy University of London(The)100077811.632022-04-12
94Edinburgh Napier University100077721.632022-04-12
96University of Abertay Dundee100078491.622022-04-12
96Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln100078111.622022-04-12
98Roehampton University100077761.592022-04-12
99University of Sheffield100071571.552022-04-12
100University of Gloucestershire100071451.522022-04-12
100Goldsmiths' College100027181.522022-04-12
102Institute of Education, University of London100077661.502022-04-12
103University of Leicester100077961.482022-04-12
104Royal Northern College of Music100078371.462022-04-12
105Coventry University100017261.422022-04-12
106Aston University100077591.392022-04-12
107University of Oxford100077741.382022-04-12
108Anglia Ruskin University100002911.352022-04-12
109University of East London100071441.332022-04-12
110Bangor University100078571.312022-04-12
111University of Birmingham100068401.302022-04-12
111The University of Northampton100071381.302022-04-12
113University of York100071671.252022-04-12
113University of Liverpool100068421.252022-04-12
113Oxford Brookes University100049301.252022-04-12
116The Manchester Metropolitan University100041801.242022-04-12
117The Robert Gordon University100055001.202022-04-12
118University of Keele100077671.192022-04-12
118Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Ltd100080171.192022-04-12
120Newman University College100078321.162022-04-12
121University of Bradford100077851.142022-04-12
122Stranmillis University College100080101.112022-04-12
123York St John University100077131.102022-04-12
124University of Bristol100077861.082022-04-12
124University of Brighton100008861.082022-04-12
126Ravensbourne Limited100053891.072022-04-12
127Kingston University100036781.062022-04-12
127Bath Spa University100005711.062022-04-12
129Birmingham City University100071401.052022-04-12
130Open University(The)100077731.032022-04-12
131University of Worcester100071391.022022-04-12
131University of Strathclyde100078051.022022-04-12
133Heriot-Watt University100077641.012022-04-12
134University of Northumbria at Newcastle100012820.992022-04-12
134Royal College of Art(The)100077770.992022-04-12
134Prifysgol Aberystwyth100078560.992022-04-12
134London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine100077710.992022-04-12
134Central School of Speech and Drama(The)100078160.992022-04-12
139Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital (The)100033240.982022-04-12
140University of Central Lancashire100071410.962022-04-12
141University of Wolverhampton100071660.952022-04-12
142University of the Highlands and Islands100071140.942022-04-12
142Staffordshire University100062990.942022-04-12
144King's College London100036450.932022-04-12
145University of St Andrews100078030.872022-04-12
146University of Leeds100077950.782022-04-12
147University of Stirling100078040.752022-04-12
147De Montfort University100018830.752022-04-12
149University of the West of England, Bristol100071640.742022-04-12
149Sruc100057000.742022-04-12
149Cardiff University100078140.742022-04-12
152University of Glasgow100077940.732022-04-12
153University of Sussex100078060.722022-04-12
154University of Portsmouth100071550.652022-04-12
155University of London100077970.602022-04-12
156Plymouth Marjon University100374490.592022-04-12
157The University of Manchester100077980.542022-04-12
158University of Lancaster100077680.532022-04-12
159The University of Buckingham100077870.492022-04-12
160University of Dundee100078520.482022-04-12
161University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru100085740.442022-04-12
162University of Surrey100071600.412022-04-12
163Birkbeck College100077600.392022-04-12
164The University of Westminster100071650.372022-04-12

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

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