Bringing the Royal College of Music carbon management plan to life

This image shows a playful way of depicting the scale of carbon reduction laid out in the Carbon Management Plan. The reduction could be likened to removing 22 keys from a piano. It is not a volumetric representation.

The Royal College of Music worked with the Carbon Trust to develop a Carbon Management Plan, which was published in July 2010. The Plan highlighted a number of actions that could be taken to reduce emissions by 25% by 2013/14.

A key part of the Plan was to get students and staff engaged in the issues, so Carbon Visuals were invited to find innovative ways to communicate the carbon footprint and emissions reduction targets.

It was a very worth while project and has been a well received way of getting this difficult message across.

Matthew Nicholl, Building Project Manager Royal College of Music

This image shows the annual CO2 per person at the College in 2005/6, and also the projected emissions in 2013/14 if the carbon management plan is successful.

To turn abstract numbers into quantities that viewers could relate to physically, we used a depiction of the College building. We also proposed a way for musicians in particular to gauge a 25% reduction – it’s like losing nearly two octaves from a piano.

Some of these images are being used for posters, leaflets and presentations to help staff and students have a better understanding of their carbon footprint and create ‘ownership’ of reduction plans and targets.


We wanted to show the step-by-step annual emissions reductions required in scale with the building. This image shows per person emissions since 2005/6 and target reductions to 2013/14. The shaded area indicates Business as Usual.

Showing the total annual emissions is a challenge as the volume dwarfs the actual building. This image shows emissions for 2005/6 and BAU / reduction target for 2013/14


This is the front cover of the Royal College of Music internal newsletter showing the use of the Carbon Visuals images.