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Campus Activities

University Operations


Queen’s University is committed to ensuring sustainability is incorporated into every aspect of its operations, teaching and research.

A Net Zero future is Queen's University Belfast's main environmental goal, with the next stage of the our carbon strategy in progress.

We have embedded SDGs across all of our operations from the day-to-day management of the University Estate to the policies we have in place for ensuring the wellbeing of our staff and students.

Almost £10 million invested in carbon reduction projects

20% increase in cycling parking provision

21% reduction of carbon emissions

At an institutional level

>50% low carbon energy

(Electricity consumed, generated using low carbon technology)

85% waste diverted from landfill

On Campus Energy

We generate heat and electricity on campus and use renewable energy for all electricity from the National Grid.

Cycle Friendly Campus

We've received a Gold award from Cycling UK

Green Flag Campus

Awarded a Green Flag Award for high quality public green space on our Lanyon site.

Wind turbine

Queen's has pledged a multi-million pound investment in a new sustainability action plan to help us play our part in tackling the global climate emergency.

The action plan will help us reach a net carbon zero target as soon as possible, encourage and enable sustainable research projects, enhance our teaching and course provision in this area, as well as encourage all staff and students to become advocates for change to ensure a sustainable future for all.

Two students walking from the library

Over the course of the University’s 10-year Carbon Management Plan (2010–21) we have invested almost £10 million on over 80 energy efficiency projects.

More than half of the electricity consumed by the University is now generated on site using low carbon technology.

Our plan set a carbon target of 21% by 2021. This target was achieved in 2017-2018 with a 22.71% reduction in emissions, an important achievement as part of our journey to become a net zero carbon organisation.

School of Biological sciences

Sustainability is integrated across the design and construction of our University estate.

To date 13 buildings have been built to an internationally recognised sustainability standard of BREEAM Excellent and Very Good.

The expansion of our Management School, under construction at Riddel Hall, will be primarily heated by a geothermal heating system, sourced from 40 wells across the site.

Sustainable Construction

A lab

To address the environmental impact of our laboratories we have begun a green laboratory accreditation programme called LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) which will encourage good sustainability practices.

A bike outside the Lanyon

A new hub on campus will lease bicycles and provide a repair service.

Our students had an important role to play in the development of the Turnaround Project and the social enterprise initiative Big Loop Bikes. The decision to establish the enterprise flowed from a Graduate School student development programme with funding support from Belfast City Council and the Department for Infrastructure.

We have also increased our cycle parking by 20%.

Big Loop Bikes


Volunteer gardeners

Throughout the year staff and students worked to enhance biodiversity on campus. Activities include the Lennoxvale Tree Nursery (a collaboration with San Souci Residents Association and Conservation Volunteers), Alleyway Transformation Project (led by Volunteer SU) and the student-led Green at Queen’s Allotment at Elms village.

At the UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards 2020, these efforts won the award for Student Engagement.

Biodiversity at Queen's

Procurement staff on a computer

We have developed a Supply Chain Code of Conduct which is applicable to all suppliers and links directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The purpose of the Code will create awareness across our suppliers of social, ethical, economic and environmental issues. The Code will help suppliers understand the behaviours and standards that are expected of them and their supply chains when working on University contracts.

Sustainable Procurement

Bus opposite Queen's

Our researchers are contributing to the development of the city-wide climate strategy, working as part of the UK wide Place Climate Action Network (PCAN) and Belfast Climate Commission.

In December 2020 they produced a net-zero carbon roadmap for the launch of the Belfast Resilience Strategy.

Belfast Climate Commission

Sustainable Development Goals

Queen’s University Belfast are committed to becoming a leader in sustainability.

To achieve this aim we are striving to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals not just across teaching and research but also across our operations.

Find out more on what Queen's is doing to fulfil the SDGs across our operations

Staff receiving an award

Our sustainability activities are often recognised by a number of external bodies. These awards reflect our success in leading change for sustainable development.

View our awards and accreditations