Meet the 2015 Interns – Eloise Cotton

Continuing our “Meet the Interns” series, this week we’d like to introduce you to our second and final intern this summer, Eloise Cotton:

Eloise CottonName: Eloise Cotton
Where are you from?: Chicago
Internship title: EcoCampus Intern
Degree and year of study: BSc in Sustainable Development (entering 4th year)

 Give a brief snapshot of your role:
I am working on developing a business case for the EcoCampus scheme, a tool created for the Higher Education system to help with the implementation of an environmental management system. I am also performing a gap analysis to determine which areas the University needs to concentrate resources on.

What attracted you to this internship with the Environment Team?
I believe University is not only a place of academic learning but also a place where students form their lifelong behaviors. I was attracted to this internship because it involves assessing what the University is currently and planning on doing to be more environmentally conscious and ultimately shaping student’s behaviors.

What have you learned/what skills have you acquired so far from the internship?
I have so far learned a wide range of skills by working with the Environment Team and EcoCampus. I have created a legal register, drafted an environmental policy and various procedures, determined aspects and impacts, created management structures and conducted a baseline environmental review of the University’s practice.

How does this internship fit into your future career plans?
I am still exploring which part of the vast Sustainable Development sector that I want to work in. This internship will help me see if I am interested in working within institutions and helping improve environmental policies and goals.

Share one tip for sustainable living that you wish more students would adopt:
Never purchasing a plastic bag even if you forget to bring your own bag (you can carry a surprising amount by getting creative).

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Click here to meet our Travel Carbon Intern, Richard, and check out the projects last year’s interns (Dominyka, Daihachi, and Elena) worked on last summer!

Meet the 2015 Interns – Richard Adams

Following the success of last year’s internships, the Environment Team have taken on two more interns to work on various projects with us this summer. It’s great having some new faces in the office, so we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them to readers of our blog so you can find out a bit more about what they’ve been working on! First up is our Travel Carbon Intern, Richard:

Richard Adams

Name: Richard Adams
Where are you from?: I’m from Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.
Internship Title: Travel Carbon Intern
Degree and year of study: I’ve just finished my second year studying Geography.

Give a brief snapshot of your role:
My job is to take the data acquired from various sources through which the university books its business travel arrangements and use it to extrapolate a CO2 estimate from it. I am also using the staff and student survey data to estimate the emissions associated with commuting to/from the university and finally looking at how the current systems for gathering this data can be improved to make future estimates more accurate and streamlined.

What attracted you to this internship with the Environment Team?
I wanted to gain experience working within the environmental sector and doing real-world work, building on what I have studied in my first 2 years here.

What have you learnt/what skills have you acquired so far from the internship?
I have learnt a lot of Excel and data skills which will be very useful in the future, but mostly the experience of working in an office environment with meetings/reports/suppliers has given me lots of skills required for working in professional ‘real-world’ environments.

How does this internship fit into your future career plans?
I would like to work in the environmental/sustainability sector and this internship has given me experience working within a team focused on environmental work and hopefully will be valuable in getting future work in the sector.

Share one tip for sustainable living that you wish more students would adopt: Try and buy local produce that is in season. It (usually) has less packaging, has travelled less miles to get here and you’re also supporting the local economy.

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Click here to meet our EcoCampus Intern, Eloise, and check out the projects last year’s interns (Dominyka, Daihachi, and Elena) worked on last summer!

Geothermal energy could heat homes and businesses around Scotland

Geotherm-mainbody

A green energy centre in Fife is to investigate the feasibility of heating buildings using warm water recovered from sedimentary rocks deep below the ground. The University of St Andrews, which operates the Guardbridge Energy centre, is lead partner in a Scottish Government funded project to see if geothermal energy can be used to heat homes and businesses around Scotland.

This largely untapped resource could provide significant amounts of renewable heat for Scotland, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a low carbon heat source.

Dr Ruth Robinson, the lead for the geothermal feasibility project at the University of St Andrews, said: “Extracting geothermal heat from sedimentary rocks is similar to getting drinking water out of the ground, except in this case the water is warm enough to be used for heating. This feasibility project will investigate if there is a business case to explore for geothermal heat, and if feasible, the technological developments arising out of this project could be used for similar projects across Scotland.”

The team of collaborators working on the project with the University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are part of a group called Fife Geothermal, and include the British Geological Survey, Ramboll, Town Rock Energy Ltd, Fife Council, and Resource Efficient Solutions Ltd.

The award to the Guardbridge project has been made from the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund, supported by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, the first strategic intervention established under the new European Structural Funds programme.

Councillor John Wincott, Sustainability Champion for Fife Council, said: “Reliable, secure and affordable energy is important for Fife both for our communities and for business. Crucially, heat makes up over half the energy we use, so Fife Council is keen to support work to find local sources of renewable heat. Fife looks a good area for geothermal heat – that is basically hot, wet rocks – that could potentially supply the heat source to provide hot water and heating to local homes and businesses. We are therefore delighted to be a member of the Fife Geothermal group, and to be a part of one of only five projects to secure funding from the Scottish Government to investigate opportunities around Guardbridge.”

University of St Andrews Executive Director for Guardbridge, Ian McGrath, said:

“This is an exciting project, the potential to heat buildings from warm water underground is one of many renewable energies being considered for Guardbridge. As one of Europe’s leading research institutions, we encourage innovative concepts in renewable energy and wish Fife Geothermal every success. We believe the diverse range of potential uses for Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife.”

St Andrews University is investing £25 million at the former paper mill at Guardbridge to generate power through clean biomass and pump hot water four miles underground to St Andrews to heat and cool its labs and residences.

Alongside plans for a six-turbine wind power development at Kenly to the east of St Andrews, the Guardbridge scheme will support a strategic drive by St Andrews to become the United Kingdom’s first carbon-neutral university.

The University of St Andrews is also a partner in a second Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund project, led by ARUP, that will be centred at the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. At this site, the target heat resource is about 1km underground in one of the city’s famous granites.

7 easy ways to get active this summer

get active headerWith summer well on it’s way, and better weather (hopefully!) just round the corner, it’s the perfect chance to step away from the car keys in favour of walking or cycling. This not only reduces your carbon emissions, but getting active also has great mental and physical health benefits. It can be a challenge to break the habit at first, so here are some tips to help get you moving….

1. Make it social

Going it alone can be a bit daunting, so why not use a walk or cycle as an opportunity to meet up with friends? Instead of sitting in a cafe, get your drinks “to-go” and head for a walk around the park to catch up. It’s much better for you, and besides, who wants to sit indoors when the sun is shining?

2. Hop off early

If your destination is too far to walk or cycle, taking the bus and getting off a few stops early is a great first step. The idea of tackling long distances might be off-putting, but using public transport for part of your journey is much easier to manage – you can always increase your distance later on!

3. Use your lunch hour

Get moving and get away from your desk to help de-stress, rest your eyes from the glare of the screen, and energise yourself for the rest of the afternoon. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for your health, so why not invite your colleagues on a lunchtime stroll to walk off your lunch and do a bit of team bonding?

4. Be a shutterbug

If it’s hard to motivate yourself to get walking or cycling without a purpose to your journey, take along your camera and turn it into a photography project. InstaMeets take place all over the world, encouraging people to get together to explore their environment creatively. Participating in a Weekend Hashtag Project is a great way to challenge yourself, get inspired, and update your Instagram feed in the process.

5. Use your tech

If you have a pedometer, activity band, or even just an app on your phone, you can keep track of the steps you’ve taken, calories you’ve burned, and some even record your heart rate. Monitoring your progress like this can give you the boost you need to keep going on a streak of activity, and should help you recognise your achievements, motivating you to keep active in your day-to-day life!

6. Keep up with what’s on

A walk or cycle can make for a fun day out, and there are plenty of organised events that you can get involved in, especially with Bike Week taking place from 13th-21st June. Check out Bike Events Scotland for more information about events in your area.

7. Commit to a good cause

If you need some motivation, sign yourself up for a sponsored walk or charity cycle to give yourself a goal to work towards. The money you raise will be great incentive to keep going, and will be helping out a worthy cause. Pedal for Scotland have a variety of rides organised for September – so you’ll have plenty of time to get training!

 

Image: Walk and cycle sign