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!

 

 

Further Green Award Successes in 2016

Following the successes of the annual Green Sports Award, an award introduced to recognise and reward sustainable behaviour change within our sports clubs, the Environment Team have introduced a second award – the Green Society Award -to bestow upon the greenest societies of the Students’ Asssociation.

The Green Sports Award, now celebrating its third year, was won by the St Andrews University Canoe Club (STAUCC) for their wholehearted efforts to reduce their environmental impact as a club and to improve the local area. This year they undertook a recycling project with other sports clubs, to collect bras for the charity ‘Against Breast Cancer’ (ABC) which helped to avoid unnecessary landfill waste whilst fundraising for ABC. Their members also undertook a beach clean and clean-up of the Kinnessburn and helped improve biodiversity at Cambo Estate by purchasing bird boxes.

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Hugo Fairclough from STAUCC picks up the Green Sports Award from Mark Simpson, Director of Estates at the Sports Awards Ceremony

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STAAG’s 24-hour cycle ride outside the Students’ Association

For the inaugural Green Society Award, the St Andrews Adventure Group (STAAG) were announced winners for their use of sustainable transport on their

expeditions and by encouraging their members to think carefully about travel. For their Canoe Across Scotland challenge participants canoed from Fort William to Inverness and made sure to only use electric vehicles in the process, renting from the local E-Car club. Nearer to home, they run micro-adventures which support local hiking and camping without the need for transport at all and recently hosted a 24-hour cycle event to raise money for the charity Fauna and Flora International, who seek to protect and conserve threatened ecosystems worldwide.

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Stephanie Haywood of STAAG talks about their green activities at the Societies Award

Transition ‘Highly Commended’ at Green Gown Awards

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Members of Transition descended on Bristol (the European Green Capital for 2015) for the Green Gown Awards ceremony, held annually to celebrate environmental achievements across the Higher Education sector. Out of 10 nominated universities and student unions across the UK, Transition bagged the ‘Highly Commended’ award for student engagement. Congratulations to all for their hard work this year.

Find out more about Transition’s projects and how you get involved at www.transitionsta.org

Interhall Energy Highlights 2014/15

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This year’s Interhall Energy Competition came to an end at the Hall Champions League Award Ceremony this week. Celebrating the achievements of all the halls across sports, charitable fundraising, and energy saving, it was great to see so many committee members in attendance, fueling some friendly interhall rivalry!

Overall, the combined efforts of all the halls this year has reduced the University’s CO2 emissions by a fantastic 205 tonnes…that’s the weight of 34 male African elephants!

In order to achieve this, the Hall Environment Reps have been doing some fantastic work raising awareness for a range of environmental issues through a variety of activities, including:

  • bike repair workshops
  • maintaining their hall Environment boards
  • Fairtrade bake sales
  • green film screenings
  • food waste collections and composting
  • books/clothes/DVD swap events
  • installing shower timers
  • shopping bag re-use initiatives
  • “bring your own cup” parties
  • seed sowing and gardening
  • Facebook campaigns to encourage recycling
  • …and much, much more!

Each month’s winners also put their prize money to good use, investing in publicity materials for environmental campaigns, equipment for their hall gardens, and funding bike maintenance sessions with the student Bike Pool group.

The Environment Reps have been supported throughout the Interhall Competition by staff from Transition, the Environment Team, the Students’ Association, and Residential Business Services. On top of this, two student interns, Gillian and Bryony, worked to produce a “toolkit” of resources for the reps, and publicised the competition through the Interhall Energy facebook page, which now has a shiny new logo:

10404450_768810933210166_3441283677716847000_nSo, without further ado, here’s the roundup of all the winners of the Interhall Energy Competition 2014/15!

Monthly Winners

October – McIntosh Hall
November – University Hall
December – Andrew Melville Hall
February – Andrew Melville Hall
March – Agnes Blackadder Hall
April – Albany Park

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Semester 1 Overall Winners

1st – Andrew Melville Hall
2nd – McIntosh Hall
3rd – University Hall

Semester 2 Overall Winners

1st – Andrew Melville Hall
2nd – David Russell & Fife Park Apartments
3rd – Deans Court

Hall Champions League Winner

McIntosh Hall

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Congratulations again to all our winners! We can’t wait to meet next year’s group of Environment Reps and see which hall will come out on top!

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Useful links:

Introduction to the Interhall Energy Competition & Hall Champions League

Top Energy Saving Tips

What makes St Andrews a Fairtrade University?

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The University of St Andrews was recently re-awarded Fairtrade University status by the Fairtrade Foundation…but what does that mean?

Fairtrade University status is awarded to universities in the UK which have made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade. In order to be awarded this status, universities must satisfy the five goals of the Fairtrade Foundation:

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1. Passing a Fairtrade policy statement

Not only does the university have its own Fairtrade policy, but the Students’ Association has one too! Both are publicly available on the university’s website, and are reviewed regularly. By supporting Fairtrade we are doing our bit to help support farmers, producers, and their communities by guaranteeing better prices, working conditions, and terms of trade to allow them to develop their farms whilst also protecting the environment in which they live and work.

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2. Get Fairtrade products on campus

The university’s cafes stock a wide range of Fairtrade food and drink including coffee, tea, sugar, fruit juice, chocolate bars, cookies, and flapjacks. The Students’ Association shop also sells a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing including hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jogging bottoms of various designs.

In catered halls of residence, fairly traded rice and lentils are served. The university is participating in Just Trading Scotland’s Rice Challenge, and has so far raised enough money to send fourteen Malawian children to school for a year.

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3. Use Fairtrade products at meetings

Fairtrade coffee, tea, sugar, and hot chocolate are the only options offered at meetings and events hosted by the university. Not only that, but the range of products has recently been expanded to include decaf coffee and flavoured teas! These Fairtrade products are also served at weddings catered by the university, and all graduation garden parties and dinners.

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4. Organise Fairtrade campaigns

Every year the Fairtrade steering group hosts a number of events to help raise awareness of Fairtrade. This semester we have held a Fairtrade bake sale in conjunction with the university’s Oxfam society, and have published a Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide to help provide some inspiration for your festive shopping!

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming up in February and will see a whole host of events being held to raise the profile of Fairtrade on campus, so watch this space for more details early next semester!

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5. Set up a Fairtrade steering group

Our Fairtrade steering group meets monthly to discuss various Fairtrade issues and ideas. The groups is composed of staff from the Environment Team, Residential Services, Catering, Procurement, and Students’ Association, as well as students from a variety of year groups, and representatives from the St Andrews Fairtrade Town Campaign.

This year we have also taken on a Fairtrade Events Intern to assist with the planning and publicity of all our events, and are always looking to grow our steering group – if you’re interested just email fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk for more information!

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So there you have it! Being named a Fairtrade University is a wonderful accolade, and we hope to build upon our current successes and expand our range of products. If you have any ideas of your own, or want to get involved, contact fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk to get started!

Hall vs Hall – Interhall Energy Competition and the Champion’s League

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Now that you’re all settled into your halls of residence, hopefully you’ll have discovered that the St Andrews residences come with a great deal of hall pride. What better way to show off this hall spirit than by pitting each hall against each other in a fierce (but friendly) competition!?

I am, of course, talking about the Interhall Energy Competition – a chance for halls to compete to win £150 for their committee’s funds each month by making the most energy savings relative to their target. The target is set based on how much energy your hall used that month in previous years, and adjusted to take account of any improvements that have been made (such as installing low energy lights or boiler improvements).

So how can you help your hall win?

– Turn lights out when you leave the room (or if the sun comes out!)
– Switch off electrical appliances when you have finished using them
– Don’t over fill the kettle if you’re only making one cuppa
– Put on a jumper (or a suitably cool alternative!)
– Turn radiators off if you open a window
– Participate in energy reduction activities organised by your hall’s Environment Rep
– Check out our list of even more helpful tips on how to reduce your energy consumption in halls

How can you check your progress?

– View your hall’s energy consumption LIVE
– Like the Interhall Energy Competition Facebook Page to check the monthly results

hall champions leagueIt’s not all about energy though…

On top of the Interhall Energy Competition results, the Hall Sports League and Hall Charities Competition results are combined to produce the Hall Champion’s League – a way of rewarding halls for not only their performance, but also their participation.

Points are awarded to your hall for raising money, saving energy, and winning games, but points are also awarded for halls which host a lot of charitable events, run environmental campaigns, and enter teams into sports fixtures. It’s not all about winning after all!

At the end of the year the hall with the most cumulative points for charititable fundraising, energy saving, and sports success is presented with the Hall Champion’s League trophy, and the satisfaction of knowing their hall is the best!

If you want to find out more about the Interhall Energy Challenge (or the Hall Champion’s League) then get in touch by emailing interhall@st-andrews.ac.uk, or tweet us on our shiny new Twitter account: @interhallenergy

MUSA: Sustainability in Practice

The University of St Andrews is well known for its research and teaching in Sustainable Development, but it’s not just the students that are benefitting from the University’s commitment to sustainability. As one of the most publicly accessible University buildings, the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), is extending the sustainability teaching beyond the classroom by showcasing its eco-credentials to the general public.

P1060479 The Museum of the University of St Andrews
 

First opened in 2008 to display the treasures of the last 600 years of the University, MUSA has worked from the very beginning to ensure that these precious historical collections are housed in a way that is as sustainable as possible. As the chosen location for the museum is a coach house from the 1860s, and a grade 2 listed building, certain restrictions were in place when planning the extension to the gallery space. The requirements of the collections were also taken into consideration during the planning process, and a pitched roof was added into the design in order to accommodate a large stained-glass window.

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 The large, stained-glass window on display.
 

As luck would have it, this roof design is ideal for hosting solar panels, which are used to provide power for the lights and lift in the building. The panels are easily viewed from the rooftop terrace (along with a stunning view of West Sands beach), and are accompanied by a graphic panel explaining the energy saving measures in place at MUSA, as well as an energy display meter. The roofing slates were recycled from another building, and the majority of materials used in this development were also locally sourced to further reduce the footprint of this extension.

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Solar panels and energy display meter.
 

The museum’s commitment to sustainability has not impacted on the care of the exhibits inside, on the contrary, some of the energy-saving measures in place actually help protect the collections! The ground source heat pump extracts heat from the rock beneath the car park through three 67m deep boreholes, then heats the galleries via underfloor coils. This method of heat distribution not only saves 9 tonnes of COannually, but also ensures heating is evenly distributed throughout the building, preventing the formation of “hotspots”, and meaning artworks can be hung anywhere on the gallery walls. Likewise, the use of low energy LED bulbs are not only more economical, but also prevent the build up of heat within display cases.

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Visitor’s information panel on MUSA’s renewable energy.
 

On top of these large-scale measures, MUSA also keeps an up-to-date green noticeboard, organises green family-orientated events for the local community, and grows its own fruit in the front courtyard. From these efforts, it is clear to see why the museum achieved such a high rating in the Green Tourism Awards. MUSA is a shining example of sustainability in practice in St Andrews, and thoroughly deserve their gold award.

Click here for more information about visiting MUSA.

Gold Green Tourism Award for MUSA

The Museum of the University of St Andrews, more commonly referred to as “MUSA”,  recently received a visit from the Green Tourism Award assessors. We’ve been waiting with baited breath since July to hear the result, and can now proudly announce that they’ve been awarded a GOLD!

This is a fantastic achievement, and highlights the University’s commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability in practice. With a whole host of eco-credentials, including solar panels, a fantastic selection of green community outreach events, and a ground source heat pump (more on these in the next blog post!) it’s great to see these efforts being recognised for their impacts on sustainable tourism in St Andrews.

P1060479MUSA joins three halls of residence which also hold a Gold Green Tourism Award: Macintosh Hall, Agnes Blackadder Hall, and David Russell & Fife Park Apartments. The Environment Team was very excited to receive the news of yet another Gold Award, and hope this will encourage other local tourist attractions to become certified!

Look out for our next post which will showcase MUSA’s energy saving measures!

 To learn more about the Green Tourism Business Scheme click here.

Beautiful St Andrews Awards Judging!

If you haven’t noticed the arrangements around town made by the St Andrews in Bloom volunteer team, have a look out because they are fantastic!

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We hope the Beautiful Fife and Beautiful Scotland judges who have just finished their second round of judging this Wednesday agree. Last year St Andrews won a Gold Award and Best Coastal Town in Fife Award for its floral displays and community outreach initiatives all coordinated by the group of dedicated St Andrews in Bloom volunteers.

Among other improvements, this year the group has continued to set out new bespoke planters in multiple locations around town. Designed with repurposed materials by a local Fife artist these planters are unique and impressive contributions to the natural aesthetic that makes St Andrews such a great place to visit and live in!

This week’s judging route takes the judges from the impressive “glass-class” and alpine houses of the Botanic gardens, along to the container plantings at the West Port gate, through to St Mary’s quad, along down the Harbour to the new student community garden at Albany Park, and eventually ending up in Kinburn park to have a taste of the edible container plantings adjacent to the tennis courts.

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Stay tuned for the results of the judging expected in early September…

To find out more about the fantastic work of the St Andrews in Bloom group visit http://bloom.standrews.co.uk/.
To learn how to get involved with student community gardens visit the Transition group’s webpages http://www.st-andrews-botanic.org/.
To learn more about the incredible heritage of the Botanic gardens visit http://www.st-andrews-botanic.org/.

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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