Search engine switch helps Leeds go green

Tapping keys can help plant trees after Leeds switched its default search engine on student IT cluster computers across campus to an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Day-to-day web searches at work can help plant trees around the world

Someone types a search into the Ecosia website on their laptop. January 2020

And now staff can get involved, too!

The move to Ecosia follows a student-led initiative, which has already resulted in the planting of hundreds of trees, and makes Leeds the first Russell Group University to make the switch.

Ecosia uses the profits made from people using its search engines to plant trees where they are most needed. And Leeds students were responsible for the planting of 445 trees in the first 48 hours following the switch.  

The move is part of a range of developments tied to our Climate Principles.  

Andy Pellow, head of Business Relationship Management in IT, said; “We are delighted to support this initiative – proposed by Leeds University Union (LUU) – as part of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and helping the University achieve net zero emissions.

“Alongside this, we have introduced managed printing to reduce paper usage. We are moving to state-of-the-art, energy-efficient data centres and are in the process of implementing collaborative tools to support remote working.

“We are also exploring how we can roll Ecosia out to other managed University devices, as part of our ongoing plans to improve desktop services.”

Someone makes use of the Ecosia app on their smartphone. January 2020The Ecosia mobile app is also available so you can do your bit to stay green on-the-go

In the meantime, if colleagues want to get involved they can simply use the Ecosia website for their day-to-day web searches. A new tree is planted for every 45 searches the site handles globally. 

Alternatively, head to Leeds' unique Ecosia page to download an extension for your web browser. Simply follow the on-screen prompts. Anyone that downloads the extension through this link will make Ecosia their default search engine, and can use it to search directly from their address bar. 

Using Ecosia via the extension also adds to the University’s very own dedicated tree counter, so we can see exactly how many we’ve collectively helped plant.   

A mobile app is also available via the iOS and Android stores. 

See the IT web page for more details or contact the IT helpdesk for further assistance.

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