The Universities of Cumbria and Salford rank among the best in the country for cutting emissions according to a new league table, while the University of Lancaster comes top for renewable energy.
The Brite Green University Carbon Report ranks 127 higher education institutions in England based on their progress on reducing emissions between 2005 and 2016.
The University of Cumbria came second on the list, behind London Metropolitan University, having cut its carbon footprint by 56 per cent.
Cumbria was joined in the top ten by the University of Salford, which came fourth, having cut its footprint by 52 per cent.
Paul McCulloch of the University of Cumbria said: “Rationalising our existing estate, coupled with significant capital investment in both new buildings and energy efficiency schemes, has produced these outstanding results.”
"Our newly opened teaching block in Lancaster achieved the 'SKA HE' silver rating, and we are currently working with our partners at Salix to develop an energy efficient solution to our Lancaster campus district heating system. This will include a combined heat and power unit housed in a new campus energy centre.
“We have also recently procured four electric vans, reducing our carbon emissions even further.”
At the other end of the scale, four North West institutions found themselves in the bottom ten.
These include Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Edge Hill University, the University of Bolton and the University of Chester - the latter having increased its emissions by 64 per cent.
Overall, despite producing their best year-on-year performance to date with a reduction of seven per cent, English universities remain off track for meeting their collective target of 43 per cent by 2020. 52 of the 127 projected to meet their individual 2020 targets.
In a separate UK-wide league table focusing specifically on renewable energy and compiled by GoCompare Energy, the University of Lancaster came top of the pile.
Lancaster has its own privately-owned wind turbine and biomass energy facility. GoCompare’s research shows that 60 per cent of UK universities have installed solar installations, while biomass is the most popular form of renewable energy overall.