The Use Less Group, based at the University of Cambridge and led by Professor Julian Allwood, has been pursuing world-leading research in climate mitigation for over 20 years. Our impact projects, linked below, are funded by EPSRC, UKRI and a consortium of industry partners.
Engineering is at the heart of all our lives, and all areas of engineering must now be defined by our legal obligation to achieve a zero emissions society by 2050.
The ever-growing world economy is hungry for energy and materials but is powered by fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases that lead to dangerous climate change.
There are two main sets of solutions: develop technologies to deliver clean energy, acting on the supply side of the problem; and reducing our demand for energy and materials, by identifying and implementing resource efficiency measures.
Supply-side solutions such as renewable energy and carbon capture and storage cannot deliver rapidly enough and at sufficient scale to provide the levels of mitigation agreed by national laws and international declarations. These techno-optimistic options rely on an unrealistic rate of innovation and fail to grasp the urgency of the climate crisis. Read Absolute Zero for more information on this.
Therefore, the implementation of resource efficiency measures must be a primary ingredient of any mitigation strategy. From developing technologies to increase the material efficiency of key manufacturing processes, to evaluating the impact of measures such as reducing the size of cars or increasing the lifetime of buildings, research is required to understand how demand-side options can deliver the greatest benefit.
Latest blog posts
Three years on from the publication of the groundbreaking Absolute Zero, now one of the top 10 most-downloaded documents from any UK university on record, the lead author, Professor Julian Allwood, returns to the data to ask: does UK FIRES stand by their prediction?
'Steel industry needs to be honest about total emissions' - Professor Allwood
PhD student, Iacopo Russo on what it's like to research within the Use Less Group.