Freshers’ Week 2016: A Guide to Green Events

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There are many many events going on this Freshers’ Week and whilst you are all probably going to be busy making new friends, settling into halls, attending events and trying out new societies do have a look and consider coming to these awesome events.

There’s more! Think food, bicycles, beach activities, colour fights, and other games, oh, and more food! There are just too many exciting events to talk about here so be sure to click the link at the bottom of this blog to find out about ALL the other Green Events we have going on this Freshers’ Week!

Monday 5th September

The Big Green Fair (St Katherine’s Lawn behind Library, 11am-3pm) is an outdoor festival celebrating the environment, with live music and great local food. Find out more about what our eco-friendly societies are up to this year and how to get involved in their activities and projects. The Environment Team (that’s us) will have a stand there too so be sure to pop by and say hi.

The Big Free Giveaway (Arts Lecture Theatre, 11am – 3pm) is an event where household items, kitchenware and stationery donated by previous students will be up for grabs! It’s a popular event so do make sure to arrive on time!

Tuesday 6th September

The St Andrews’ Veg Soc and Inklight Soc (Cockshaugh Park, 2pm – 4pm) are collaborating to bring you an exciting event filled with poems and smoothies! They will even have their own Smoothie Bike so you can make your own smoothie in a green way!

Wednesday 7th September

The Community Garden Sessions (Uni Community Garden, 2pm – 4pm) offers the opportunity for you to gain the knowledge and skills to grow your own food! With the University now having 10 food growing spaces that are open to students, staff and local people it’s also a very popular part of life here. Come along to learn more and enjoy some of the food from our gardens (a Transition event).

Transition St Andrews is part of a UK based initiative to reach out to academic and non-academic communities through events and training to help make communities more sustainable and aware of our impact on the world. Head down to East Sands to meet more of the team, learn about what is going on this year and have a fun and relaxing afternoon on the beach (Sea, Swim, BBQ)!

Thursday 8th September

The Wildlife and Conservation Society (WildSoc) are having a Scavenger Hunt (Rectors Café, 10am – 12pm) across St Andrews followed by a Pub Quiz (Drouthy Neebors, 7.30pm) at Drouthy Neebors. This one is not to be missed!  11313616_1642722232660940_2024001443_n

Want to meet some like-minded people and have a drink at the same time? Then come along to Green Drinks (St Andrews Brew Co, 5pm – 8pm) for the chance to meet people who are also interested in environmental issues and have a try of some local beer (or whatever takes your fancy).

Saturday 10th September

On Saturday join and meet the cycling community of St Andrews at St Andrews’ Bike Fest (Agnes Blackadder Hall, 11am – 2pm) where you can grab yourself a bargain ride, find out about training, maintenance and other bike help. There will be around 100 quality second hand bikes for sale plus many to rent through Bike Pool so make sure you arrive early as its going to be a popular event! This is the perfect opportunity to learn how to fix your bike and grab a bargain.

Sunday 11th September

Freshers’ Fayre is by far the biggest event of Freshers’ Week! On Sunday you will be able to discover all the different societies that you can get involved during your time in St Andrews. Be on the lookout for Transition, The Environment Team and Fairtrade St Andrews and all the other brilliant societies!

We look forward to welcoming you to the Green Bubble very soon. Have a great Freshers’ Week!

For more information on all other Green Events click here.

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Fairtrade and Brownies

Lindsey Mackay, the Sustainability Intern for the Environment Team, discusses Fairtrade and shares a recipe which can be enjoyed by everyone. The Environment Team strive to improve the sustainability agenda across the University and St Andrews.

Fairtrade is an international movement helping to improve trading conditions for producers in poor countries. The movement strives to achieve and maintain fair prices for farmers to cover aspects including production costs, and to ensure that they can achieve long term sustainable living. In addition, Fairtrade guarantees long term contracts with the farmers to provide security for their families and local communities, and the opportunity to benefit from expertise that will enhance the skills needed to develop their businesses and increase production in a sustainable way. Fairtrade is fundamental to changing the lives of farmers’ and workers’ lives for the better. For example, according to latest data from the Fairtrade Foundation, workers on plantations spent 26% of their Fairtrade premium on education1.

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Look out for the Fairtrade symbol when you are at the shops.

It is important that we all think about the choices we make on a day to day basis, particularly when they can directly affect the livelihoods of others. Having researched the effects of the international food trade during my time at University, I strongly believe in movements like Fairtrade. We can often take the food on our plates for granted, but I have come to discover and learn about the shocking, unjust, and yet sadly true stories behind the treatment and payment of farmers who work hard to support and provide for their families and local communities. I now actively seek to look for the Fairtrade Mark (see picture above) when I go on my weekly shop, and it’s easier than you think. Many products are covered by the mark including bananas and chocolate (two staples of my weekly shop), yet still more can be done. You can play an important role in supporting this movement by looking out for and buying products in your local supermarkets and shops with the Fairtrade Mark on the packaging.

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Before..

I have to admit that I am a bit of a baking enthusiast. If I could live of cake for the rest of my life I would. I like to think of myself as a good baker, however, one bake that has always defeated me is the brownie. Multiple recipes have been tried and multiple methods used but all with the same result; a soggy mess. When I recently received a recipe from a friend I was skeptical due to previous failed attempts in the kitchen but I wanted to give it a go. The result? Mouth-watering, rich and moreish brownies that the Environment Team seemed to enjoy. Success!

If you want to try out the recipe I was recommended follow the link, and remember to look for Fairtrade ingredients when you go to the shops (I find that Green & Black’s Organic Fairtrade Cooks’ Dark Chocolate works particularly well with this recipe!). Stay tuned for more delicious recipes using Fairtrade products!

If you would like to get to more about Fairtrade in St Andrews and how you can get involved please email lm222@st-andrews.ac.uk, visit our Fairtrade Facebook page or click here for more information.

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The result!

1http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/what-is-fairtrade/facts-and-figures

St Andrews hosts Energy Ethics Conference

Last week saw the University of St Andrews host an international Energy Ethics conference, where the ethical dilemmas surrounding our  relationships with energy were explored by over 25 academics. Topics of discussion ranged from the energy injustices for the ‘off-grid’ citizen, to the complicated ethical considerations ex-coal miners must face, in response to a declining industry.

Drawing from debates in anthropology and sustainability, they presented at the conference alongside Prof Debbora Battaglia and Prof Benjamin Sovacool who discussed the ethics of aeroponic horticulture and energy policy-making in Europe, respectively, in the two keynote lectures of the event.

Those attending the conference were offered an opportunity to visit the Guardbridge Energy Centre to see the installation of a sustainable district heating system, which will heat the University’s North Haugh campus buildings for the next 50 years.

David Stutchfield, Energy Officer at the University of St Andrews, led the tour of Guardbridge, from the biomass boiler to the wood chipping area (see photos below).

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Inside the Energy Centre

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David Stutchfield describes the retrofitting process for the old coal power station, a listed building which will become office space for University support staff

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Inside the Energy Centre. Biomass boiler (blue, right) will produce the heat for the district heating system whilst the thermal stores (silver, centre) will ensure efficiency is maximised

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Across the Motray Water to the chipping site

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The conference group pause for thought on the Motray Bridge. The old coal power station (immediately behind) and new biomass centre (left) are visible

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David Stutchfield points out the prospective site for the wood chipping equipment

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One last view of the Guardbridge Energy Centre, a key capital project which will help the University become carbon neutral for energy

Thank you to all our delegates and to Dr Mette High and Dr Jessica Smith for organising the conference.

 

 

 

 

Electrifying talk at Lawhead Primary

Pupils at Lawhead Primary were given a talk by Dita, manager at E-car club St Andrews, and Mike from the University of St Andrews. As part of the talk they were given a demonstration of the University ‘Wee Green Machine’ and the E-Car Renault Zoe.

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P2s and P5/6s at Lawhead were invited to explore the cars.

All photos reproduced have received permission from Lawhead Primary School to do so.

Road closures necessary as work on Fife Green Energy Centre begins

Residents and workers in North East Fife are being advised to expect travel disruption during early Spring 2016, when major pipe-laying works get underway on the main A919 Guardbridge to St Andrews road.

Fife Council will close the road, from 15 February 2016 to 8 April 2016, to allow 4 miles of water-pipe to be laid, connecting Guardbridge’s new £25 million Green Energy Centre with St Andrews, and providing the essential infrastructure for ongoing inward investment into Fife, job creation, and renewable energy production.

The new Energy Centre is being developed by the University of St Andrews and will pump hot water to St Andrews where it will be used to heat and cool student residences and laboratories.

To ensure safety to road users and to keep disruption to a minimum, diversions will be in place through Balmullo, adding an extra 7.5 miles to journeys north of St Andrews and south of St Michaels.

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Detailed consultation will take place with emergency services, bus operators, local businesses and community representatives and wherever possible the University will ensure that arrangements are in place to minimise the impact on services.

The University’s Chief Operating Officer, Derek Watson, said: “We are very sensitive to the fact that these works will cause varying levels of disruption to people who live or work in the Guardbridge, Leuchars and St Andrews areas, and we are very grateful for the support and consideration  which the community has shown so far as we have developed our plans to establish Guardbridge as a major centre for renewable energy.

“The Guardbridge development represents an investment of £25 million in north east Fife – creating more than 225 jobs in the construction phase alone, supporting apprenticeships, promoting the environment, and re-establishing Guardbridge as a key economic centre.”

Initially, the University had been directed by the Fife roads authorities to undertake the pipe-laying works in October and November this year. Following consultation with councillors however, it became apparent that the road closure might impact on commuting Madras pupils due to sit prelim exams in November.

The University lobbied for permission to undertake the works in January and February 2016 at the quietest time of year for traffic, but has now been informed that the road closures cannot start until February 2016.

Green Events not to miss this Freshers’ Week

Here are the highlights for all things sustainability-related in St Andrews during Freshers’ Week – don’t miss out!

Monday

The Big Green Fair (St Katherine’s Lawn behind Library, 11am-3pm) is an outdoor festival celebrating the environment, with live music and great local food. Find out more about what our eco-friendly societies are up to this year and how to get involved in their activities & projects.

The Big Giveaway with StAnd Re-Use (same time, Arts lecture theatre): Household items, kitchenware and stationery donated by previous students, all available for free! That’s right – FREE! Arrive early to avoid disappointment and don’t forget to bring a bag

Tuesday – Carbon Conversations, St Andrews Botanic Garden, 12pm – 1:30pm

Carbon Conversations is a free 6-session programme run in St Andrews which looks at individual carbon footprints and what can be done to reduce them, through interactive sessions which include games and group discussions as well as individual reflection. This taster session will introduce you to some of the activities so you can decide if it is for you, while enjoying lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the St Andrews Botanic Gardens. Bring a friend and pick up some great energy and money-saving tips!
Meet at the front gate at 12pm or find us either in the glassclass or learning den. Bring your lunch and we will have some to share

Wednesday – Sow, Grow and Eat at the University Community Garden, 2-4pm
Growing your own food is a skill for life. With the University now having 10 food growing spaces that are open to students, staff and local people it’s also a very popular part of life here. Find out more and get your hands dirty at this special session in the St Andrews University Community Garden where we will be harvesting crops and enjoying some food made from the garden’s produce. Drop in at any time during this session. (Edible Campus: Transition UStA event)IMG_1524

University Community Garden (opposite the Observatory on Buchanan Gardens)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1145078895519158/

 

Thursday – Charitable and Volunteering Fair, Students’ Association, 11am onwards

Passionate about development and Fairtrade? Then come to our stall at the Charitable and Volunteering Fair and find out how you can get involved. This is an especially exciting time to do so as the town is celebrating its 10 year anniversary as a ‘Fairtrade Town’ and the University will also be celebrating its 10 year anniversay, in 2016. What are you waiting for?

Friday – Freshers’ Bike Sale, Agnes Blackadder Car Park, 10am onwards

Looking for a cheap, green and healthy way of getting  around town? Want to learn how to fix your bike? Then come along to our annual and extremely popular second hand bike sale!

This year Bikeworks will bring bikes, teaming up with St Andrews Bike Pool so you can learn to fix your new bike or bring along one you own already to ensure it’s in good working order.

We sell out very quickly so make sure to be early to avoid disappointment!

 

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Staff Bike to Work and bag a free Breakfast

Yesterday saw around 30 members of staff from the University cycle to work; coming from various locations, some near and others from afar. The Bike to Work Breakfast was hosted a week ahead of national Cycle to Work Day to coincide with Physical Fitness week, part of the University’s Wellbeing calendar.

As shown in these two maps (below), 18 staff came from outwith St Andrews and across Fife, the furthest travelling over 15 miles from Ladybank and others taking part in a “park and cycle”, parking at Guardbridge and cycling the rest of the way to St Andrews along the cycle path.

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Maps showing the distance cycled on Thursday morning

 

Not only were they rewarded with some Scottish sunshine and for their efforts, a free (and healthy!) breakfast was provided by the Environment Team, which was served in John Burnett Hall.

Staff enjoy their free breakfast

Staff enjoy their free breakfast

 

On top of this Jim, from the St Andrews Bike Pool (below), provided a helping hand to fix any minor issues with the bikes.

 

Jim lends a helping hand to fix staff bikes

Jim lends a helping hand to fix staff bikes

And temporary bike racks were provided to cope with the demand from our cyclists. This year the Environment Team has helped to install 270 new cycle parking spaces across St Andrews.11949616_10155950715725494_2123367270_n

In total 315 miles were covered by staff which equates to 70kg of carbon dioxide – enough electricity to power an LCD TV continuously for 17 days! Well done everyone!

From China to Scotland: Engineers get Creative

Last week saw 22 engineering students from the South China University of Technology (SCUT) complete an intensive three week ‘Creativity in Engineering’ course here in St Andrews with ELT. The course focused on tackling the University’s sustainable energy challenges and seeking ways  to help us achieve our goal of becoming the UK’s first energy carbon neutral university in 2016.

Creative Engineers from SCUT, China

Creative Engineers from SCUT, China

Eager to find out more, the students were briefed on the University’s plans by David Stutchfield, the Energy Officer within our Environment Team, and were subsequently invited to visit our sustainable energy projects.

First on the list was Guardbridge, the £25 million biomass district heating project situated four miles from St Andrews in a disused paper. This scheme will heat and cool the University’s building with low carbon energy, saving around half a million tonnes of carbon within 20 years.

Guardbridge Old Paper Mill Site

Guardbridge Old Paper Mill Site

Next, was the site for the community wind farm project at Kenly, which will save 19,000 tonnes of carbon per year when it comes online. The students also got the opportunity to visit an active biomass plant, micro renewable energy projects at MUSA in St Andrews and the Michelin factory in Dundee.

After their (multiple!) trips the students were tasked to expand on the University’s current proposals and use their creativity to seek innovate ways that they could be made more sustainable. Their efforts culminated in group project presentations at the end of the week, bringing together the knowledge they had gained from the site visits, the lecture series and the ‘English for Engineers’ language course.

It was a tough decision for the judging panel but it was decided that Zhang Baori, Jiang Ziliang, Peng Jie and Huang Ledeng’s group was the best overall! Their proposals included high altitude wind turbines alongside an integrated anaerobic digestion (AD) and combined heat and power (CHP) system at Kenly farm. Thank you to all the groups involved, your proposals have proven your drive to produce new and inspired ideas!

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Action shots of the winning team's proposals (above). The winner team and judges from left to right: Peng Jie, Zhang Baori, Rohan Fernando, George King, Jiang Ziliang, Pamela McIlldowie, Nicola Dobson, Huang Ledeng (below)

Action shots of the winning team’s proposals (above). The winner team and judges from left to right: Peng Jie, Zhang Baori, Rohan Fernando, George King, Jiang Ziliang, Pamela McIlldowie, Nicola Dobson, Huang Ledeng (below)

St Andrews – A Sustainable Open

Creating a Sustainable Open

This week The Open 2015 comes to St Andrews, welcoming the world’s best golfers and over 200,000 spectators for one of the year’s biggest sporting events. A big challenge for the organisers is making sure that an event of this size is as sustainable as possible…so how do they do it?

The Open 2015 venue, St Andrews Links, holds golfs global ecolabel, GEO certified®, and the event itself operates a “GreenLinks” programme for sustainable development, making sure that the natural environment around the courses is protected, that sustainable procurement practices are used, and that waste is disposed of responsibly. The GreenLinks programme is mentored by GEO (The Golf Environment Organization).

Visitors are encouraged to travel to the event by public transport or by car share in order to reduce the carbon footprint of their journey. Once on the Links, they will be reminded to keep to the official walkways to avoid trampling and damaging habitats, and will be provided with designated recycling points to allow waste to be segregated on site, diverting it away from landfill.

Scottish producers will be supplying The Open’s food, ensuring a sustainable menu by keeping produce local to reduce food miles. Items that cannot be sourced locally (e.g. tea, coffee, chocolate, bananas) will be Fairtrade to ensure that growers receive a fair wage for their produce, as well as a premium that is invested back into their local community.

As well as this, the management of the golf courses themselves will ensure that they remain important habitats for many important species of flora and fauna that have a year-round home in St Andrews. By tending to the gorse, heather, and grassland that borders the Links courses, their growth is kept in check to ensure a diversity of wildlife can thrive – from brown hare, stoats, and weasels, to skylark, goldfinches, and barn owls. Grass clippings and gorse chippings are then composted and given away for free by The Links Trust, returning this vegetation to the soil. The Links Trust also run a fantastic Environmental Blog, where you can stay up to date on wildlife sightings on the courses.

The commitment from The Open to deliver a sustainable event is clear to see. If you’re heading to the Old Course this week have a fantastic time – enjoy the local food, drink lots of Fairtrade coffee, and be sure to keep an eye out for native species hiding in the rough!

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Be sure to check out the map of the Old Course, which highlights where wildlife can be seen at The Open.

For more information about wildlife management on the Links, download the Links Environmental Conservation Leaflet.

Geothermal energy could heat homes and businesses around Scotland

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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.