Universities make tremendous intellectual and technical advances that help other organisations and individuals reduce their own carbon footprints. This is the universities’ carbon brainprint.
The initial project developed a set of approaches to estimating the carbon brainprint of an activity, such as research, development, consultancy or training. These were applied to six case studies from Cranfield, Cambridge and Reading Universities, which demonstrated the large impact that higher education institutions can have.
Investment in research and training at universities can substantially reduce GHG emissions.
The carbon brainprint method helps us quantify this reduction and measure university impact.
Just two of Cranfield University's projects saved over 120,000 tonnes of GHG emissions in one year alone; that's 50 times Cranfield's own annual carbon footprint.
Measuring universities' carbon brainprint will allow them to quantify the impact of their research, innovation and knowledge transfer activities on cutting global GHG emissions.
It provides further endorsement of the value of investing in universities such as Cranfield to address the challenge of global warming.
The methods used were based on established approaches to carbon footprinting, in particular PAS 2050:2008 and the Carbon Trust good practice guide, which are underpinned by the guidance from the IPCC and the methods of life cycle analysis (LCA). A set of basic guidelines were drawn up at the start of the project, then revised in the light of experience during the case studies.