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.

bike1

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!

13939597_1080522472031953_6292816951608564830_n

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.

interhall

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!

blownawayposter-a4-land

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.

12998306_10154028228212457_6622560070706456714_o

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

STAAG bike

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.

13087062_1017769488270613_8179022273010515835_o

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

Transition ‘Highly Commended’ at Green Gown Awards

ggawards

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

Top Energy Saving Tips

10919460_756276734463586_7398227301080169715_oThe results from the first half of the Interhall Energy Competition are in, with Andrew Melville, McIntosh, and Uni Hall leading the way in energy reductions, winning extra money for their hall committees and boosting their position in the Hall Champions League.

If your hall is struggling to keep up (or you’re trying to keep your bills down in private accommodation), read on for some tips that might help you turn the tables in semester 2!

Heatingblogpic1

  • Try not to have your window open and the heating on at the same time. Ventilate the room when you are not using it instead.
  • Keep your radiators clear of furniture – it will absorb the heat.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to shut out the night and keep in the heat.
  • Turn your thermostat down by one degree – you probably won’t even notice the difference!
  • Close doors to keep the heat in.
  • Cosy up at bedtime and turn your heating down at night whilst snug in your duvet.

 

Lights & Electric Appliancesblogpic2

 

  • Switch off lights in empty rooms.
  • Switch your appliances (such as laptops and TVs) off  and unplug them rather than leaving them on standby.
  • Towel dry your hair so you don’t have to use your hairdryer as much.
  • Try not to leave phones or other items charging overnight – a few hours are usually all that’s needed.
  • Watch your favourite TV shows with friends – it’s more social, and means you’re only using energy to power one TV!

 

Cookingblogpic3

 

  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need each time you boil it‌.
  • Cook with lids on pans and match ring size to saucepan size – this will also cook your food faster!
  • Try to avoid cooking in the oven and instead use other ways of cooking such as boiling, stir frying, or grilling, in order to save energy.
  • You can use a microwave instead of the oven for fresh food too. They’re quick, easy and economical to use and they’re handy if people in your hall eat at different times. For example, jacket potatoes take just five minutes in the microwave instead of an hour in the oven!
  • If you do need to use the oven, get your friends round to cook at the same time, or cook big batches of food together and freeze what you don’t need that day. It’s more energy efficient to use all the oven space available.
  • Try not to open the oven door while you are cooking. Keep the glass clean and you can peek in when you need to!
  • When cooking vegetables, use just enough water to cover the food.
  • Load and unload the fridge as quickly as possible – try not to leave the fridge door open for longer than you need to!
  • Never put hot food in a fridge or freezer. Let it cool first.

 

Washingblogpic4

Your dishes…

  • If you need to pre-rinse dishes, do it in cold water instead of hot.
  • If you’re washing dishes in the sink, use a bowl or sink full of water rather than leaving the hot tap running.
  • If you have a dishwasher, wait until you have a full load before putting it on, and use your dishwashers’ economy programme whenever possible.

Your clothes…

  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine – why not combine your washing load with someone else?
  • Use a lower washing temperature (between 30 -40oC), as 90% of the energy used in washing machines comes from heating the water.
  • Use a clothes horse to dry your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.

Yourself!

  • Taking shorter showers means there is less energy used to heat the water.

_____

Remember to ask your Hall Environment Rep if there are any upcoming events or campaigns you can assist with – energy saving is a team effort!

Image credit: The Green Age

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

interhall energy pic

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.

P1060473

 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.

P1060475P1060459

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.

P1060467

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.

Launch of This Year’s Green Sports Award

Compete for the £100 prize that goes to the greenest sports team!

Following on from the success of late year’s first Green Sports Awards competition, the Environment Team will be offering another £100 to the greenest sports club of the year.

How to competeGreen Sports Award 2013-14

The award is designed to stimulate and encourage environmentally friendly behaviour amongst University of St Andrews sports clubs.

The criteria is fairly simple; your club must have undertaken some kind of environmentally friendly project, activity or event during the course of academic year 2013/14.

This is very flexible and you are free to focus on any specific area e.g. energy usage, recycling, biodiversity or more generally on awareness raising or behaviour change. One-off events or more regular initiatives will all be considered. It could be fundraising for an environmental charity, volunteering for environmental organisations or something else entirely – be creative! This does not have to be a huge undertaking, the scale of your effort is up to you. The award will be judged more on the positive impact of your project/activity/event, the creativity and your enthusiasm than the scale. The only real stipulation is that it must be explicitly related to environmental sustainability.

You have until nominations open at the beginning of Green Week 2014 (semester 2, week 7) to complete your environmental project/event. The award will be judged by members of the Environment Team in Estates and will be presented at the SVS awards ceremony in April 2014.

The winning club will receive £100!

Suggestions to get you started include:

  1. Help out with a Fife Coast and Countryside Trust event http://fifecoastandcountrysidetrust.co.uk/Support-Us/Volunteers_11.html e.g. Dune Action Days happen once a month on West Sands.
  2. Plant trees – free from Woodland Trust (although this has been done before…) http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/moretreesmoregood/free-trees/Pages/free-tree-packs.aspx
  3. Run any kind of event/party but donate profits to an environmental charity.
  4. Run an awareness raising event e.g. contact One World Society to promote their veg boxes or ask Transition for ideas transition@st-andrews.ac.uk
  5. Make a note of all your club mileage and publicise to club – then petition AU for a hybrid vehicle!
  6. Run a fairtrade bake sale in coordination witht the University Fairtrade committee.

These are only suggestions… some a lot wackier and bigger than others… feel free to use, adapt or do something entirely different.

all smallLast year’s top 3 contesters included the Women’s Shinty team, Women’s Lacrosse team, and the Canoe Club! Can your team best them?

To register your intention to compete and for questions and support contact the University Environment Team at tsd6@st-andrews.ac.uk

University Building Receives Top Green Award

Aside

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

Image

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!

Image

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

Image

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

Image