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The Cambridge Carbon Challenge is a competition inviting staff and students to submit their ideas for reducing building energy use and associated carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) across the University estate. The University is committed to reducing its carbon emissions from energy use and becoming carbon neutral from energy use by 2050. 

The competition is a joint initiative by the Living Laboratory for Sustainability and the Energy and Carbon Reduction Project (ECRP). It aims to harness academic expertise and operational experience from across the University that will help us to improve our environmental performance and increase our capacity to reduce carbon.  It gives participants the opportunity to collaborate with others from across the University, develop project management skills, receive mentoring from experts, and gain experience in developing a business case.

The next Challenge will be open for submissions from February – check back then.


Winners of the Cambridge Carbon Challenge 2017

Mel, Andre and Mark, a group of PhD students, are making use of their own research to trial the use of hydroponics within buildings – a dense soil-less plant growth system – to lower building energy use.

The presence of the plants reduces the energy required for ventilation and heating (due to lowering CO2 levels within buildings), with potential added benefits of enhanced health and wellbeing.

The team have gained carpentry skills along the way, and drawn from a huge range of expertise and backgrounds to bring this together.


Louis, Jesse and Shanshan are bringing the vision of Elon Musk to Cambridge.

They have proposed the use of battery storage alongside solar panels at Laundry Farm (where the University’s fleet of electric vehicles are based). They want to demonstrate the benefits of batteries for maximising use of renewable energy and minimising cost.

This multidisciplinary team (an Engineer, a Land Economist and a Physicist) met at the launch event and were impressive in their adaptability along the way.


If you have any questions, please email