A year in the life of the University’s Environment Team

The Environment Team 2015/2016

The Environment Team 2015/2016

It has certainly been a very busy year for the University of St Andrews’ Environment Team. The team have been consistently hard at work throughout the year with the University seeing an overall carbon emissions reduction by 8% compared to 2014/15, water consumption reduction by 4% and with reuse by from 2% to 4%! Throughout the year, Amanda our BEMS Engineer, has been working towards the successful completion of BEMS rationalisation and Siemens graphics which are now online for 50 of our buildings. We have also seen a change of Sustainability Officer when George King finished his post in the summer and Lindsey Mackay taking the position on at the start of August.

The team strives for sustainability across the whole of the University and we would like to thank all the departments and people who have worked alongside us this year to make it a success. We look forward to entering 2017 to tackle new challenges and continue to work hard to ensure that the future of the University, and its surrounded environments, are protected.

Here is a brief snapshot of some of the main projects we have been up to this year:

February

Guardbridge Park and Pedal Scheme

To help mitigate against travel disruption and to encourage the use of sustainable travel to and from work, the Environment Team and Transition operated a successful park and pedal scheme during road closures.

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March

Green Links Biodiversity Project

As part of the on-going work around The Open and sustainability the R&A will work on a number of local legacy projects from the 2015 Championship in St Andrews. Three projects have been agreed for funding to be delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the University of St Andrews and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.  The R&A would like to meet with various stakeholders to discuss opportunities around biodiversity related projects and have formed a discussion group to explore potential opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing in this area. Work with the University includes a Green Links map and noticeboards to advertise biodiversity hotspots around St Andrews.

April

Green Awards

This year we saw the introduction of the Green Society’s Award in collaboration with the Students’ Association which seeks to engage societies with sustainability and environmentally friendly behaviours. This year’s winners were St Andrews Adventure Group for their commitment to using electric cars throughout the year. The annual Green Sports Award went to the Canoe Club, winning £100.

August

Adaption to Climate Change

Continued work on University documents for Adaptation to Climate Change in order to ensure we are prepared for the impacts of climate change and to improve the resilience of the whole University as part of the Adaptation Learning Exchange (ALE). Adaptation Scotland are using the University of St Andrews as a case study for the rest of the sector, with staff and senior managers of Estates undertaking a climate impact assessment workshop. You can read the final document here.

September

Freshers’ Week: Welcome to the Green Bubble

Every year, when the students arrive back after the summer holidays, the centre of St Andrews gets busier and so does work within the University. This year Transition put on a huge array of exciting events including StAndRe-Use. The Environment Team were present to help out at various events and we had our own information stalls at the Green Fayre and Freshers’ Fayre, aiming to engage with students and let them know about our crucial work on campus. A full, fun filled but exhausting week!

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Environment Hall Reps

Within every hall on the University of St Andrews’ campus there are committees made up of students and wardens. Environmental Hall Reps make up a crucial part of each hall committee and whose role includes helping to reduce energy bills and costs throughout the year whilst promoting environmentally sustainable behaviours to their student bodies. At the end of September we held our annual training which was a great success and since then we have begun the Interhall Energy Competition and seen activities in halls including, Light Switch Off parties, environmentally friendly selfie competitions and Fairtrade quizzes.

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October

Sustainability Manager

We now have our first Sustainability Manager! As of October, David Stutchfield, formally our Energy Officer, has now been promoted to Sustainability Manager within Estates. His roles will remain the same as before, but with a few extra important jobs added on.

University Fairtrade Status Renewal

Every two years the University requires its University Fairtrade Status to be renewed which involves collecting information on Fairtrade activities and outreach on campus, and looking at products sold across campus. We are delighted to announce that after a successful application, we have renewed our Fairtrade status for another two years with many more Fairtrade events coming your way in Fairtrade Fortnight 2017! Watch this space!

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

One of our Hall Environment Representatives helps spread the word about Fairtrade!

Green Raisin Competition

Raisin Weekend is a well-known tradition associated with St Andrews University, where academic families host an array of events and parties for their ‘children’, ending in a spectacular foam fight. The Green Raisin Competition encourages families to dress up their children in environmentally friendly costumes, with the idea that they reuse items instead of buying new things! This year we saw a fantastic array of costumes enter the foam fight with our winners being a Viking ship. The winning family receive an adventure kindly given by Blown Away Adventures!

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Environmental Facilitators

We held our first training of the academic year for the Environmental Facilitator programme for being interested in working within their departments and units to promote, champion and support environmentally friendly behaviours amongst their teams and making their colleagues aware of the impact they have. With help from CAPOD, we hosted a networking event with representatives from E-Car and Electric Bike Scotland coming to speak to us over lunch. Later in the afternoon we had a demonstration of the electric bikes with the chance to try one out for ourselves!

November

Resource Efficiency

The amount of landfill has increased from 641 tonnes to 750 tonnes with % recycling down from 73% to 68% (academic year 2015/16) however reuse has increased from 2% to 4% (14 to 32 tonnes) which is significant and highlights the University’s efforts to move waste management up the waste hierarchy. In the past academic year we have also collected and baled an additional 20 tonnes of cardboard for recycling. Over 1500 items of bedding (duvets and pillows) were collected to be deconstructed and reused as fill for new mattresses. This is a fantastic example of circular economy which the University and the Environment Team are aiming to implement and encompass within its various processes, in order to reduce waste and increase resource productivity.

Resource efficiency was implemented through a number of positive initiatives including supplier takeback schemes and WARPit – a resources redistribution scheme for staff. To date this has saved 107 tonnes of carbon by diverting waste from landfill and saved £187k on reduced procurement spend. End of Term donation points were also set up in Halls of Residence and collections carried out for student society StAndRe-Use, Barnados Books, Glenrothes Food Bank and local charity Forces Support. 17 tonnes of material was donated to Forces Support including clothing, shoes and crockery.

December

Eden Campus

December was a very exciting month for the Environment Team and the University of St Andrews. The Eden Campus biomass district heating centre was awarded the Sustainable Development Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards! Furthermore, a week later the biomass district heating boiler was officially lit by our Principal and commissioned!

 

 

Merry #greenChristmas

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The festive break is a time for friends and family to gather together and celebrate the year that has past and all that we have to be thankful for, and perhaps eat a little too much. However, amongst all the merriness of the holidays there are some important things that we all should remember. According to WRAP the amount of Christmas wrapping paper thrown away every year in the UK could stretch to the moon! Although this is an impressive statistic, there is something deeply concerning about this figure. We all have the responsibility to do something about it, but this doesn’t mean we to be Scrooges. So how can we still enjoy the festive period in sustainable ways?

This festive period, the UK will generate millions of tonnes of rubbish that can be saved from going to landfill. Aside from recycling, there are some fun, creative and hassle free ways of saving and reusing those spare turkey trimmings, wrapping paper and cards. We have compiled a Green Christmas Guide to help you start planning what to do with your left overs and to inspire you to think beyond Christmas Day to how we might conserve our planet during the busy festive period.

The #greenChristmas Guide

Christmas trees

Your Christmas tree can be recycled! Most councils will pick up your Christmas tree for you to be composted so be sure to check out your local councils’ website for specific details.

Fairy lights

Using LED lights to decorate your home will not only reduce your energy usage by up to 90% compared to traditional lights, but also save you money on your utility bills. Remember to turn the lights off before going to bed to avoid wasting energy.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations can be expensive to buy on top of everything else at Christmas. Why not try making some of your own decorations by using some these effective ideas: http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/recycled/projects/5-recycled-christmas-decorations-crafts.htm.

Christmas cards and wrapping paper

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We all know how many cards come through our letter boxes, and the dreaded feeling we have when we remember that we’ve forgotten to send someone a card, but can’t quite remember who. We all know too well the huge mound of wrapping paper in the middle of the room at the end of the day, but it all doesn’t have to be thrown away to landfill. Wrapping paper can be recycled, or if you are a neat person you could try and reuse it the following year! Cards can also be recycled but check out these fun and creative ways of reusing them:

  • Cut off the side of the card with the picture to make present name tags that can be used the following year. Use a whole punch and some ribbon to tie!
  • Cards can make lovely little gift boxes! Check out this link for more details http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/cardbox.shtml
  • Make some Christmas confetti for the table for the following year by cutting out small shapes from your cards’ designs

Gifts

If you receive something you already have, or if you have that family member who is particularly bad at choosing presents don’t throw it away! Perhaps in time you will come to love that present or find a use for it? Otherwise, why not think about donating it to a charity shop or to a friend who may have always really wanted those socks your grandmother knitted you!

Food

Every year during the Christmas holidays we eat too much, yet every year we inevitably leftovers, but what should we do with it all? Now is the time to plan what you want to do with your leftovers and when you want to eat them. And, leftovers CAN be delicious! Did you know that brandy butter makes an excellent ingredient when making sweet short crust pastry! Weigh and use the label to calculate how much butter is contained in what you have left. For more exciting and yummy recipes follow the link: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/christmas-leftovers.

Glass and Cans

Remember you can recycle glass and cans! From wine bottles to cans of beer, to jars of cranberry sauce to cans of tinned tomatoes, make sure you recycle recycle recycle this Christmas and New Year.

 

Winter Shutdown 2016: Switch Down and Shut Off!

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This winter break help us to meet our carbon reduction targets, and reduce costs to the University over the break! The Winter Shutdown is a University wide campaign for all on campus to make students and staff aware of the importance of leaving offices/workspaces and University halls of residence correctly. We are striving to become a sustainable University and one of the key elements of this movement is behaviour change. The Winter Shutdown campaign by the Environment Team aims to make all on campus aware of the effects that we have on energy consumption in the University and in time the amount of money we spend on energy bills. Furthermore, we hope to make everyone aware that through a set of four simple steps (outlined below) we can easily and effectively make individual differences!

One of the largest ways that the University wastes energy, which in time increases our bills, is by people on campus leaving lights on, computers and other electrical running over the break. This winter 2016 we would really appreciate your help in making sure you follow these steps closely before you leave, and ensuring your colleagues and friends do the same.

All staff:

Check all rooms in your building for the following:

  • Switch of ALL lights (including Christmas tree)
  • Switch off ALL electrical appliances, at the wall
  • Turn radiators down to ‘1’ setting or set thermostats to star
  • Leave nothing on standby
    • Computers
    • Photocopies/printers/scanners
    • Fans, heaters
    • Water coolers
    • Kettle, microwave etc.
    • Vending/coffee machines
  • Ensure windows are closed and blinds/curtains are closed (to keep heat in)

Academic building:

Equipment to think about switching off, if not being used over the break

  • Ovens
  • Centrifuges
  • Gas Chromatographs
  • Fume cupboards

All students:

Before leaving your room in University halls of residence for the festive break please remember to:

  • switch off ALL electrical appliances at the wall
  • switch off ALL lights
  • turn down radiators to “1” or set thermostats to star
  • do not leave anything on standby
  • close curtains

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