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 3.21g (median of 2.13g) 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
Heythrop College0.34
University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru0.42
The University of Westminster0.46
Ravensbourne Limited0.47
The University of Manchester0.47
Birkbeck College0.56
Plymouth Marjon University0.58
Cardiff University0.64
University of Portsmouth0.67
Sruc0.70

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama30.11
University of Winchester18.28
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland18.14
University of Durham13.53
De Montfort University12.21
Royal Academy of Music11.39
University College Falmouth11.12
University College London10.10
Leeds College of Music10.07
University of East Anglia9.68

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 Drama1000165330.112021-09-01
2University of Winchester1000361418.282021-09-01
3Royal Conservatoire of Scotland1000556118.142021-09-01
4University of Durham1000714313.532021-09-01
5De Montfort University1000188312.212021-09-01
6Royal Academy of Music1000783511.392021-09-01
7University College Falmouth1000864011.122021-09-01
8University College London1000778410.102021-09-01
9Leeds College of Music1003444910.072021-09-01
10University of East Anglia100077899.682021-09-01
11University of Sunderland100071599.542021-09-01
12The City University100014788.702021-09-01
13Glasgow Caledonian University100077628.552021-09-01
14University of Nottingham100071548.092021-09-01
15The University of Chichester100071378.012021-09-01
16Writtle College100076577.932021-09-01
17The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts100039457.742021-09-01
18Cranfield University100078227.402021-09-01
19Guildhall School of Music and Drama100078257.312021-09-01
20London South Bank University100040786.932021-09-01
21Rose Bruford College100055236.652021-09-01
22Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London100077756.202021-09-01
23The Arts University College at Bournemouth100003855.712021-09-01
24Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Limited100078385.562021-09-01
25University of London100077975.362021-09-01
26University of the West of Scotland100078005.002021-09-01
27University of Salford100071564.972021-09-01
28Leeds College of Art100038544.862021-09-01
29Edge Hill University100078234.802021-09-01
30Liverpool John Moores University100039574.792021-09-01
31The University of Cumbria100078424.662021-09-01
32University of the Arts, London100071624.532021-09-01
33University of Bedfordshire100071524.282021-09-01
34University of Aberdeen100077834.012021-09-01
35University of Essex100077913.722021-09-01
36London Business School100077693.692021-09-01
36Leeds Metropolitan University100038613.692021-09-01
38University of Derby100078513.642021-09-01
39University of Glamorgan / Prifysgol Morgannwg100077933.552021-09-01
40The University of Buckingham100077873.542021-09-01
41The University of Bolton100068413.532021-09-01
42University of Hertfordshire100071473.482021-09-01
43University of Chester100078483.452021-09-01
43University for the Creative Arts100064273.452021-09-01
45London Metropolitan University100040483.362021-09-01
46University of Bath (The)100078503.312021-09-01
47University of Hull100071493.212021-09-01
47University of Edinburgh100077903.212021-09-01
49The Royal Veterinary College100077793.142021-09-01
50Stranmillis University College100080103.052021-09-01
51University of Newcastle Upon Tyne100077993.002021-09-01
52Royal Holloway College and Bedford New College100055532.972021-09-01
53University Campus Suffolk Ltd100140012.942021-09-01
54Brunel University100009612.912021-09-01
55University of Bradford100077852.882021-09-01
55St Mary's University College, Twickenham100078432.882021-09-01
57Loughborough University100041132.862021-09-01
58Birmingham City University100071402.842021-09-01
59Leeds Trinity University College100038632.822021-09-01
60Roehampton University100077762.802021-09-01
61Middlesex University100043512.772021-09-01
62Harper Adams University100408122.752021-09-01
63University of Lincoln100071512.742021-09-01
64Bangor University100078572.732021-09-01
65Canterbury Christ Church University100011432.672021-09-01
66University of East London100071442.652021-09-01
67University of Cambridge100077882.622021-09-01
68Cardiff Metropolitan University100078542.532021-09-01
69Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh100053372.502021-09-01
70Royal Northern College of Music100078372.452021-09-01
71Liverpool Hope University100039562.352021-09-01
72Northern School of Contemporary Dance100088162.342021-09-01
73Royal Agricultural College100055452.332021-09-01
74University of Kent100071502.302021-09-01
74St George's Hospital Medical School100077822.302021-09-01
76Nottingham Trent University100047972.292021-09-01
77Glasgow School of Art100026812.252021-09-01
78University of Exeter100077922.222021-09-01
79The Queen's University of Belfast100053432.202021-09-01
80The University of West London100065662.182021-09-01
80Glyndwr University100078332.182021-09-01
82University of Gloucestershire100071452.132021-09-01
82Southampton Solent University100060222.132021-09-01
84Bournemouth University100008242.072021-09-01
85University of Plymouth100078012.062021-09-01
86King's College London100036452.042021-09-01
87St Mary's University College100080262.032021-09-01
88University of Greenwich100071462.012021-09-01
89University of Abertay Dundee100078491.912021-09-01
90Edinburgh Napier University100077721.862021-09-01
91Norwich University College of the Arts100047751.762021-09-01
91Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine100032701.762021-09-01
93University of Strathclyde100078051.692021-09-01
94University of Wales: Trinity Saint David100078581.662021-09-01
95University of Huddersfield100071481.652021-09-01
95Institute of Education, University of London100077661.652021-09-01
97University of Leicester100077961.612021-09-01
98School of Pharmacy University of London(The)100077811.572021-09-01
99School of Oriental and African Studies100077801.562021-09-01
100Central School of Speech and Drama(The)100078161.522021-09-01
101University of Warwick100071631.512021-09-01
102University of Reading100078021.452021-09-01
103Teesside University100071611.422021-09-01
104Goldsmiths' College100027181.372021-09-01
105The Manchester Metropolitan University100041801.362021-09-01
106University of Oxford100077741.332021-09-01
106The University of Northampton100071381.332021-09-01
108Coventry University100017261.312021-09-01
109Sheffield Hallam University100057901.282021-09-01
109Buckinghamshire New University100009751.282021-09-01
111Oxford Brookes University100049301.272021-09-01
111Institute of Cancer Research: Royal Cancer Hospital (The)100033241.272021-09-01
111Bath Spa University100005711.272021-09-01
114University of Bristol100077861.262021-09-01
115University of Keele100077671.252021-09-01
115Newman University College100078321.252021-09-01
117University of Southampton100071581.242021-09-01
118University of Worcester100071391.182021-09-01
119Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Ltd100080171.172021-09-01
120University of Sheffield100071571.162021-09-01
120Swansea University100078551.162021-09-01
120Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln100078111.162021-09-01
120Aston University100077591.162021-09-01
124University of Wolverhampton100071661.122021-09-01
124Anglia Ruskin University100002911.122021-09-01
126York St John University100077131.102021-09-01
126The Robert Gordon University100055001.102021-09-01
128University of York100071671.092021-09-01
129University of Lancaster100077681.072021-09-01
130University of Ulster100078071.062021-09-01
131University of Central Lancashire100071411.042021-09-01
132Royal College of Music100077781.022021-09-01
132Heriot-Watt University100077641.022021-09-01
134University College Birmingham100007121.002021-09-01
135University of Stirling100078040.992021-09-01
135University of Liverpool100068420.992021-09-01
137Kingston University100036780.982021-09-01
138University of Surrey100071600.962021-09-01
139Prifysgol Aberystwyth100078560.942021-09-01
140London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine100077710.932021-09-01
141University of Brighton100008860.912021-09-01
142University of Northumbria at Newcastle100012820.902021-09-01
143Open University(The)100077730.882021-09-01
144University of St Andrews100078030.862021-09-01
144University of Leeds100077950.862021-09-01
146Courtauld Institute of Art100077610.822021-09-01
147Staffordshire University100062990.782021-09-01
147Royal College of Art(The)100077770.782021-09-01
149University of Sussex100078060.772021-09-01
150University of the Highlands and Islands100071140.762021-09-01
150University of Birmingham100068400.762021-09-01
150London School of Economics & Political Science100040630.762021-09-01
153University of the West of England, Bristol100071640.732021-09-01
153University of Glasgow100077940.732021-09-01
153University of Dundee100078520.732021-09-01
156Sruc100057000.702021-09-01
157University of Portsmouth100071550.672021-09-01
158Cardiff University100078140.642021-09-01
159Plymouth Marjon University100374490.582021-09-01
160Birkbeck College100077600.562021-09-01
161The University of Manchester100077980.472021-09-01
161Ravensbourne Limited100053890.472021-09-01
163The University of Westminster100071650.462021-09-01
164University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru100085740.422021-09-01
165Heythrop College100077650.342021-09-01

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

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