The University’s commitment to improving its green credentials has been recognised by recently gaining the Gold EcoCampus award.
EcoCampus is a scheme designed to help higher education institutions improve their environmental performance.
Reading’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions by 35% by 2015/16 via a new carbon management plan was instrumental in the University attaining the award.
Other key factors in the University’s recent ‘green’ success include its behavioural change policy for staff and students and commitment to making our campuses as eco-friendly as possible. Many members of staff were involved in the recent Green Impact Awards, which encourages teams of people in a Faculty or building to take small steps towards reducing their individual environmental impact.
Denise Shearman, Head of Campus Services, said: “We are delighted that our efforts have been recognised by EcoCampus. The University reduced its carbon emissions by 10% in 2010/11, equivalent to almost 4000 tonnes of CO2, and over 65% of our staff and students now walk to the University or come by bicycle or public transport.”
Other impressive eco-friendly statistics include:
- The University has installed over 200 solar panels on building roofs which will cut our annual carbon footprint by 22,000 kilograms of CO2 per year
- In our most recent halls of residence development project, we recycled 98% of the masonry from the original 1960s halls in the foundations of the new (Mackinder and Stenton) Halls
- We have achieved a Green Flag award for one of the best open spaces in the country
“Behavioural change is a large part of our ethos to continue to become more eco-friendly,” continued Denise. “Initiatives such as our annual Green Week which aims to make staff and students even more environmentally friendly, regular campus litter-picks and active involvement in schemes such as Earth Hour, are instrumental in the University becoming ever greener. We now have over 250 ‘Environmental Champions’ helping to change our working environment for the better.”
EcoCampus is the leading national Environmental Management System (EMS) and award scheme for the higher and further education sectors. The scheme enables universities to identify, evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance and practices. The scheme was launched by HEFCE in 2005 and has since attracted approximately 30% of the sector.
The Catering team have also been winning awards this month, with a number of the University’s catering outlets receiving bronze and silver accreditations in Wokingham Borough Council’s “Eat Out Eat well” scheme.
The aim of the scheme is to reward caterers throughout West Berkshire and Wokingham Councils who make it easier for their customers to make healthy choices when eating out.
Darren Edwards, Chef Manager from the Central Kitchen, has undertaken Nutrition Training organised by West Berkshire Council, and the team have been introducing more healthy alternatives and options in the Eat cafés and outlets.