CO2 footprint

Utrecht University wants to be fully CO2 neutral by 2030. By 2020, the CO2 emission needs to be reduced by 33%, compared to 2014. This is written in the university's Strategic Plan.

Gaining insight in this emission is necessary in order to meet these goals. In 2014, a CO2 footprint was drawn up for the first time. The footprints since 2014 show that mobility and energy use have the biggest impact on the university's emission. This can also be read in the report 'Carbon Footprint 2016' (pdf; in Dutch).

Utrecht University's goals for CO2 reduction


In 2016, the university emitted 17% less CO2 than in 2014. This is mostly due to the purchase of green (as opposed to grey) energy. The purchased energy is mostly used for the buildings in the centre of the city. For the buildings in Utrecht Science Park, the university generates its own energy by means of natural gas.

The CO2 output in 2015 and 2016 compared to 2014


Right now, energy and mobility still have the biggest impact on the university's total CO2 emission.

Energy use

Energy use takes up 59% of the university's CO2 emission. Most of this can be traced to the university's power plant, where the university generates energy and warmth with natural gas. The university's strategy to reduce this consists of reducing energy use, transitioning to sustainable energy and gaining maximum efficiency from fossil fuels.


All transportation takes up 33% of the university's CO2 emission. This includes: employees and students commuting between home and the university, as well as scientific staff travelling by plane and making official trips by car. Utrecht University handles this by, among other things, encouraging the use of bicycles and public transport.

Further operations

Agriculture takes up 4% of the university's CO2 emission. This is composed of the activities of De Tolakker Farm, which is a part of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Waste processing, catering and cooling resources make up the remaining 2% of the CO2 footprint.