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University homepage carbon emissions

Recently we shared the work we'd been doing to measure the carbon emissions from UK local authority websites. We've now done the same for UK universities.

We took a list of UK learning providers from and then ran the Website Carbon API for each one listed. Unlike local authorities, UK learning providers as a group are worse than the average website - they produce 3g compared to 1.76g for the average website and 1.29g for the average local authority. Here are the lowest and highest emissions with the full list on the accompanying website.

Top 10 lowest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
Heythrop College0.34
The University of Westminster0.37
Ravensbourne Limited0.41
The University of Manchester0.42
University of Portsmouth0.47
University of Wales Prifysgol Cymru0.51
University of St Andrews0.60
Plymouth Marjon University0.63
University of the West of England, Bristol0.63

Top 10 highest emissions

UK learning providerCO2 / grams
The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama30.21
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland17.54
Royal Academy of Music11.11
University of Lincoln10.24
University College London10.15
University of East Anglia9.50
University of London9.20
The City University8.81
University of Nottingham8.53
Writtle College8.34

The highest emissions seem to come from organisations that are naturally media-rich although there are quite a lot of improvements they could make. As with local authorities, the improvements would mostly come from optimising images, particularly those in "carousels".

As with local authorities, we have created a page per learning provider with more specific advice on what they can improve. Hopefully it causes some to think about doing better both from an environmental point-of-view but also a widening-access perspective; data hungry homepages could be using up a large fraction of the monthly data allowances for some prospective students.

We're glad to report that one of our sponsors - the University of Leeds - have already managed to drop from 51st to 71st down the list of largest university homepages. They are about to upgrade their website to meet international accessibility guidelines and it seems their new content management system supports optimising images too. So we expect them to be dropping even further down the table in the coming months.

If a UK university is missing from the full list that you think should be included, please get in touch with us on Twitter.