Mercedes Maroto-Valer
Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer

Heriot-Watt is supporting Scotland’s Climate Week in recognition of the need for accelerated action to combat climate change.

From Monday October 7 until Sunday October 13, the University is joining institutions from across the country in backing the Scottish Government-led campaign and is planning to cut its own environmental impact by setting robust and ambitious targets in the coming months.

Heriot-Watt is uniquely positioned to transform the sustainability agenda globally, from its flagship initiatives in campus infrastructures and behaviours, to radical innovation in research and policy. This whole institution approach engages and encourages academics, professional services and students to get involved, as a global community.

Closer to home, measures are already being taken to reduce the University’s carbon footprint. Electricity at the Edinburgh Campus is purchased on a renewable energy tariff, while new buildings feature leading carbon reduction technologies. The new state-of-the-art GRID building is heated and cooled by an efficient electric heat-pump system, avoiding the use of gas, while the building also accommodates more than 120 m2 of solar photovoltaic panels which contribute up to 20kW of electricity.

Heriot-Watt’s sustainable energy engineering and carbon solutions expert, Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer in a new role as Associate Principal for Global Sustainability, said: “We have reduced energy consumption - per m2 of internal area - at the Edinburgh Campus by more than 15 per cent in the past four years, while water consumption has been reduced by more than 40 per cent per m2. We are on track to beat the 15 per cent reduction in absolute, not relative, carbon emissions in our existing Carbon Management Plan for the Scottish campuses, and this year we are working on our long-term global emission reduction strategy and an ambitious new Climate Action Plan.”

The University is using its world-class research from across its Scottish-based campuses to help inform on Climate Change offering expert analysis on a breadth of topics including deoxygenation in the Earth’s oceans to the pollution impact resulting from cold cooling.

Events are being organised in schools, colleges and workplaces across the country to encourage people to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during Climate Week 2019.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s Climate Week continues to grow, and I am pleased that, this year, an impressive number of businesses, schools and universities have responded to the call to join the public sector in helping drive awareness and action to tackle climate change.

“The growing recognition of the need for urgent action is welcome, not least because we all need to take action to respond to the global climate emergency.

“I would like to thank the organisations taking place in Climate Week 2019 and would encourage everyone to find out what their workplace or local community group is doing for Climate Week and get involved if you can.”