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Environment and Energy


Overarching aim

To conserve water through efficient use and management.


To reduce water consumption by 20% by 2020 against a 2005 baseline.

For many years, dedicated resources have been assigned to carry out energy and water conservation improvements across the University estate. As a result, there has been a significant reduction in water usage, in spite of a growing estate.

The University's cumulative record since introducing a water management programme in 1987 remains impressive. Over the last 25 years water use is down 55% even though the estate has grown 45% in terms of floor area.

The recurrent annual saving, based upon 1987/88 consumption levels and current costs, is in the order of £0.7m/annum, and total accumulated savings have surpassed £11m. One of the factors in the University's success with water conservation has been the involvement of key staff – embedding a culture of water efficiency.

Our target is to hold consumption per square metre constant against growing demands from increasing academic activity.

What can I do?

If you’re in a lab, try to make sure that water waste is minimised by trying not to leave the taps running.

If refurbishing a building, consider presence sensors for bathroom taps and dual-flush toilets. If you already have these toilets, does the system need to be easier to understand (for example with labels)?

Are your existing toilets able to have water-saving devices installed in the cisterns? One example is the Hippo. Speak to the Maintenance Unit Helpdesk to check if you’re unsure whether this is suitable for your system (email:

Wash up your coffee mugs using standing water, not under a running tap. Save up a few to do at a time if possible, to maximise on efficient use of hot water and cleaning product.

Remove any bottle-fed water coolers and either use tap water instead or replace with mains-fed versions, if possible for your Department.

Run a water-saving campaign in your Department. We have posters you can print or request.

If your Department has any push taps, check the timings of these to ensure that they are not left running for too long.

Labs can consume significant amounts of water, and there is potential for wastage through leakage, oversight or choice of equipment. Often savings can be made at very little additional cost. LabRATS demonstrate that poor sample rinsing practices can lead to significant water waste, as well as dirty samples. Read more:


To request hardcopy posters or stickers with general water-saving messages, please contact us.