Looking at how University of Leeds can become more resilient to climate change

Climate Change Resilience Officers Juliet de Little and Julie Mair, together with Facilities Directorate Architectural Technical Officer, Christopher Wade, feature in a new video explaining how the University of Leeds can identify and put in place measures to adapt to climate hazards threatening our core activities.

Juliet and Julie are carrying out a risk assessment and resilience review to examine how to change policies, strategies and buildings to ensure we achieve a resilient zero carbon and sustainable campus.

They are working across the university with professional services staff, academics, and students to understand what impact climate change could have on teaching, learning and research. Their findings will help to start to build climate resilience into our campus, avoid maladaptation, and help minimise disruption and costs during any refurbishments.

Leeds is amongst just a handful of universities across the country who are doing this and so hopefully our findings will be valuable for other organisations who can learn from our methodology and processes.

This risk assessment is a distinct project but it’s really only the start of the process of becoming more resilient. Climate risk needs to be incorporated into university policies and considered in all decisions, from planning field trips designing new buildings.

Christopher Wade, Architectural Technical Officer in the Facilities Directorate, said: “The report will be invaluable in identifying any existing buildings infrastructure and activities that are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. It should also help with strategy, master planning and adapting our design policies so that we’re actively future proofing our campus instead of reactively addressing problems.

“These could be anything from ensuring research activities have reliable back up power to providing improved sustainable drainage to cope with heavier rainfall and the shading of windows to limit overheating. These measures will protect the university’s working investments, help us achieve our net zero commitments and have the added bonus of making our campus a more welcoming place to work and live”.

At £174 million, the University of Leeds’ ambitious Climate Plan represents the biggest investment we have ever made, with seven key principles highlighting our commitment to net zero emissions, a sustainable curriculum, responsible investment and reorienting postgraduate research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector. This risk assessment and resilience review is a a step on that journey.

Video about a vital step towards University of Leeds becoming climate resilience