HESA now provides strict rules for data submission around nulls and zero. Universities are instructed to use null when they do not have the data, and are alerted to the fact that this will mean totals are not calculated by HESA.
People & Planet has interpreted nulls from the viewpoint that scores can only be awarded through transparency. So, for instance if a university submitted a null value for how much onsite CHP they have, we will assume zero and score accordingly. Likewise if a null is returned for percentage renewable energy, it is assumed zero.
Ambiguity regarding renewable energy data
In 2014, an ambiguity in the HESA EMR data came to light when considering data regarding renewable electricity bought through green tariffs. It meant that universities with high percentages of green electricity weren’t necessarily getting full credit for the question involving the EMR field EPREPGTT
EMR field EPREPGTT “Total percentage of renewable energy purchased through green tariffs” (definition) had been interpreted differently by different institutions: some interpreted it as a percentage of green to total electricity; others interpreted it as a percentage of green electricity to total energy consumption. Therefore some universities that use 100% green electricity have submitted much smaller values, e.g. 30%, because they’ve used energy as the denominator.
HESA has clarified this by stating:
'Percentage of renewable energy purchased through green tariffs for the whole estate. We therefore expect the following calculation:
Renewable energy purchased through green tariffs (KwH) /Total energy purchased (KwH) * 100
"Renewable energy purchased" can refer to any type of energy purchased through a green tariff. This is then divided by all energy purchased for the whole estate, including that which is not purchased under a green tariff. The unit for this calculation is Kilowatts per hour.'
We ask universities to be vigilant and check data entries to HESA for this field.