University Building Receives Top Green Award

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The BSRC (Biomolecular Sciences Research Complex) has recently been awarded a top green honour.

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The state-of-the-art lab which houses researchers from Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Biology has received an ‘Outstanding’ rating from BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). It is the first ‘Outstanding’ laboratory in the UK and the first ‘Outstanding’ building in Scotland.

The BSRC has been recognised for its cutting edge sustainability credentials and its ability to divert building and energy costs into research. The building opened in December 2011 and has since been facilitating the research of around a dozen research groups with varying interests including disease, infection and immunity.

The BREEAM certification is designed to identify sustainable buildings by assessing their design, construction and operation.

The building was designed by bmj architects along the University Estates department to; minimise solar gain, include natural ventilation, have a thermal fabric, reduce air infiltration, be energy efficient and use a matrix of sustainable materials for construction. In addition the building was designed with provision of cycle racks, showers & lockers, a green travel plan, landscaping and ecology and recyclable waste storage as high priorities.

The construction of the building was undertaken by Sir Robert McAlpine. They produced some fantastic results, putting the sustainable designs into reality whilst also recycling a fantastic 92.7% of all their construction waste!

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Below is an image of the inside of the new labs before the building was opened.

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Now fully functionally, here’s what it looks like!

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Green Week Round Up

Green Week is over for another semester but it was a fantastic week with lots of different student groups pulling together to put on some fab events and to spread the environmental message.

There was something for everyone; from film screenings and open forums hosted by Greenpeace and Transition to bread making workshops and debates from One World Soceity and the St Andrews Model UN, and from grow your own workshops and animal welfare stalls by Transition and AW Society to veg box schemes and much more!

Here at the Environment Team we hosted a successful Fairtrade bake sale.

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The bake sale raised £90 for the Fairtrade Foundation and generated awareness across the student body. We also invited Fife Diet to bring their smoothie bike along and spent a lovely afternoon outside the Union in the sunshine making delicious smoothies from local fruit by pedal power!

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Green Week culminated in a fab conference event called Reclaim Energy and hosted by One World Society and People and Planet with guest speakers from many different organisations.

Lauren King tells us more…

Reclaim Energy! Day bought together passionate campaigners from across the UK, some from as far as Oxford and Brighton, to share ideas and motivation about campaigning on climate change in St Andrews Students Association this Sunday. The issues of Arctic drilling, Tar Sands and Fracking may seem a bit of a random focus for an event – but it is clear these unconventional fuels are the new challenge to environmentalists – releasing huge amounts of carbon and gases into the atmosphere, damaging the local environment and impacting communities – not just locally but globally.

The day began with a powerful plenary but Villo Lelkes on ‘Ecocide’ – large scale environmental destruction that campaigners hope to make the fifth law against peace. Philippa de Boissiere and Louise Hazan from People and Planet network, the largest student campaigning network in the Uk, introduced the problem of unconventional fuels. There were five workshops throughout the day – The Arctic Oil Ruch & Scotland hosted by Paul Daly from Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace St Andrews; Taking on the Tar Sands by Ruthi Brandt from UK Tar Sands Network; Challenging Fracking in Scotland; Taking action against New Coal by Coal Action Scotland; Tar Sands Free Europe by People and Planet climate campaign coordinators.

“I decided to organise this event because I feel there needs to be more communication between the different campaigning groups working on unconventional fuels and climate change issues. There are lots of us, but we can sometimes get caught up in our own campaigns that we forget the bigger picture – we forget that damaging resource extraction is happening all over the world, and even more locally than we may imagine” says Lauren King, an organiser of the day’s event, who has been working on an anti Tar Sands campaign nationally. The day ended with an open space, in which anyone could bring ideas and set up a discussion group. People were able to move freely between different topics. Issues that were covered including: coal bed methane in Scotland, starting an unconventional fuels group in St Andrews, green economy and the ecocide campaign, among others. Organisers hope that these discussions will continue and evolve throughout the year, ready for the People and Planet unconventional fuels campaign to take off in 2013.

“It was inspiring to meet young activists from across Scotland” said Philippa de Boissiere, people and planet tar sands campaign coordinator, “and to explore the potential for action in the face of increasingly extreme forms of energy extraction. From Canadian Tar Sands and the arctic to local coal bed methane projects, the event provided the space to engage with complex underlying issues and consequences. It was great to strategize with young people in this way”. Photos from the event here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricjl/8067626730/

Thanks to everyone who organised events and to Nate Ruby (E and E officer) and David Bowers for coordinating.

Stay tuned for Green Week 2013 🙂