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The carbon footprint of a UK University during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Filimonau, V., Archer, D., Bellamy, L., Smith, N. and Wintrip, R., 2021. The carbon footprint of a UK University during the COVID-19 lockdown. Science of The Total Environment, 756 (February), 143964.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143964


The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to compare the carbon intensity of higher education delivered on- and off-campus. This is attributed to governmental lockdown orders that have forced Universities to close their campuses, ban business travel and move all teaching and learning activities online. This study represents the first known attempt to compare the carbon footprint of a mid-sized UK University produced during the COVID-19 lockdown (April-June 2020) against that generated within the respective time period in previous years. Although the overall carbon footprint of the University decreased by almost 30% during the lockdown, the carbon intensity of online teaching and learning was found to be substantial and almost equal to that of staff and student commute in the pre-lockdown period. The study contributed to an emerging academic discourse on the carbon (dis)benefits of different models of higher education provision in the UK and beyond. The study suggested that policy and management decisions on transferring education online should carefully consider the carbon implications of this transfer.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:GHG emissions; higher education; online teaching; pandemic; sustainable development
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:34947
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:08 Dec 2020 13:39
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:25


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