Net Zero Community Hub

Welcome to the Net Zero Community Hub

Where to start with tackling climate change? The magnitude of the challenge and volume of information makes it difficult to know how to help but at Heriot-Watt University, we want to equip everyone with the skills and knowledge to be drivers of real change and advocates for a more sustainable future – both for themselves and for generations to come.

Climate Change

Reaching Net Zero is key to protecting us and future generations from the irreversible impacts of climate change. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends man-made carbon dioxide emissions fall 45% by 2030, reaching net-zero by mid-century to give the world its best chance of limiting warming to below 1.5C.

But what is net zero? In a nutshell, it means ensuring human-produced carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that remain after all possible routes to reduction have been exhausted are removed from the atmosphere in some other way. This can be done naturally, like through reforestation, or by using technology that can capture and store atmospheric emissions.  We cannot only reduce or only offset our greenhouse gas emissions, we must do both, and we must do it quickly.

At Heriot-Watt University, we want to make sure that we're playing our part in securing a sustainable and positive future for all. That's why we're launching a new initiative to educate people on the importance of actions we can all take to help reach net zero and the tremendous impact we can have in building a better and brighter way forward.

Why Heriot-Watt University?

Heriot-Watt University is uniquely placed to help tackle this challenge and we're  involved in several sustainability initiatives, already in development:

  • Our new Global Research Institute will focus on the Net Zero challenge to bring our environmental sustainability research under one roof including carbon capture and storage, alternative low-carbon  fuels, pathways to just energy transition and sustainable transport and logistics. Learn more about our related research.   
  • The emerging Island Centre for Net Zero in Orkney aims to put the Orkney Islands at the forefront of the transition to net zero and support thriving sustainable communities through the development and implementation of Orkney as a living lab.

Build the Foundations of Change 

A huge congratulations to our students graduating from Heriot-Watt University in Autumn 2023. As you prepare to take your next steps as a graduate, we invite you to consider the ways that you can help mitigate the climate crisis. 

The journey to net zero is one we must embark upon together.  

Join your fellow graduates, friends of the University, and members of our wider community as we build the foundations of a more sustainable future. Make a sustainability pledge today and lay a virtual brick for the Net Zero Community Hub. 

Together, we can be the changemakers of tomorrow. 

Small steps to make big impact

As you embark on your next journey as a graduate of Heriot-Watt, consider the small ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Small steps we can consider taking include:

Reduce, re-use, recycle – consume less and recycle what you do use. Try to avoid excess packaging and single-use plastics.
Be energy efficient – use less gas and/or electricity at home by draft-proofing and improving insulation to keep the inside temperature stable and comfortable.
Use public transport – where possible, consider car journeys as a last resort to minimise travel-related emissions and pollution.
Consider active travel – If you can, walk or bike short trips, you’ll save money and get some fresh air.
Choose local produce – support local farmers and businesses to reduce emissions associated with transporting goods long distances.
Conserve clean water – save water and money by taking shorter showers and being mindful of leaving the tap running.
Consider reducing meat consumption – meat, especially red meat, is resource intensive and responsible for extensive deforestation. Consider incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet.
Support renewable energy development – whether through installing renewable energy sources like solar panels on your home, choosing a renewable energy electricity tariff or supporting the development of local renewable energy sites.
Consider use of air travel – limit the number of flights you take, particularly over short distances and consider alternatives to travel such as video conferencing.
Reduce food waste – save money and the environment by planning your meals, using leftovers and learning to preserve ingredients.

By taking small steps together, we’ll create a better future together.

What is your sustainability pledge?

Lay the cornerstone 

Lay a virtual brick in honour of your personal pledge to helping shape a more sustainable and positive future for the world.  

Your contribution will help form the cornerstone of our Net Zero Community Hub and sustainability programme and advance our vision to empower our global community into advocates for positive change. The Hub will be an important channel of communication and a focus for sustainability engagement. A programme of events, workshops and initiatives is being co-developed with our students, staff, alumni and neighbouring communities to start a conversation about sustainability and ignite behaviour change so that we can all take action to address the climate crisis.

Share your sustainability pledge by completing the form below, and we will keep you up to date on the initiative we are developing at Heriot-Watt to reach net zero. 

To buy a virtual brick which will be displayed as part of the Net Zero Community Hub initiative, please visit our giving page and select “Sustainability Programme (Net Zero Community Hub)” to make your gift. 

Your Sustainability Pledge

What will the Net Zero Community Hub look like?

The Net Zero Community Hub will be the new face for sustainable activities within Heriot-Watt University. We're looking forward to developing a highly flexible space that will support different activities around the academic year, including lectures, conferences, mentoring sessions, graduation events and more. The building will also act as demonstrator for sustainable construction technologies, made from locally sourced low carbon and renewable materials like the K-Briq.

Want to find out more about sustainability at Heriot-Watt University? Learn more on our sustainability website.