University Energy Manager recognised in national awards

The University’s Energy & Sustainability Manager, Dan Fernbank, has been awarded Public Sector Energy Manager of the Year at the 2019 Energy Management Awards. Run by the Energy Managers Association (EMA), the awards recognise and celebrate outstanding work in the energy management and sustainability industry. Dan has led the University of Reading’s Sustainability Services team since 2011. Some of the team’s main achievements during this time include: Ensuring the University met its 35% carbon reduction target in 2016 (compared to its baseline 2008/09 emissions) Achieving a 40% carbon reduction earlier this year – keeping the University on track to deliver…
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Saving energy, saving the planet!

If you’re living in private rented accommodation this year, you may well find yourself paying for gas, electricity and water bills for the first time. This can eat into your finances, so here are some tips to keep your costs down:   Saving energy Landlords are only legally allowed to rent out buildings which achieve at least an ‘E’ rating Energy Performance Certificate (A being most efficient, G being least efficient). Ask your landlord for a copy of the EPC to check they are complying. Switch off! The easiest and most obvious way to save energy is by not leaving…
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Exploring low carbon heating in Henley-on-Thames

Using the River Thames for heat Since 2017, the University has been investigating the potential to provide low carbon heating to its Henley Business School, Greenlands campus. The site has a prime location on the banks of the River Thames on the outskirts of Henley-on-Thames. Heating at the site is currently from oil-fired boilers in each building and investigations have identify a water source heat pump to be a viable low carbon alternative. The large heat body of the River Thames nearby makes this a potentially ideal resource for low-grade heat to be extracted from. In simple terms, a heat…
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Sustainable university living

I’ve escaped from my desk to come and sit in Park Eat café/bar to write this article. Immediately I arrive, I’m confronted with an environmental dilemma. I’ve brought my Sustain It mug (of course!) for a cup of tea, but realise I can’t get any milk out of the machine because my cup isn’t chipped. The catering staff offer to put some milk in a paper cup. I insist I don’t want a paper cup and they insist it’s no bother. How should I respond? Back down politely and take the cup, or stick to my green guns and insist…
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Reading retains 1st Class Award in People & Planet Green League

The University has again been awarded a ‘1st Class’ rating in the latest People & Planet Green League for its environmental and ethical performance, ranking 28th out of 154 institutions in the scheme. People & Planet, an independent student campaigning network, reviews the environmental performance of higher education institutions across the UK in 13 topic areas.  They award degree-style classifications for their overall environmental and ethical performance, based on publically available data, both from institutions’ own websites and Higher Education Statistics Agency data. Reading scored top marks for its environmental management and auditing systems.  It also performed well in the Policy,…
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Going green in 2019

As 2019 begins, we take a look at our plans for delivering environmental sustainability at the University this coming year. Where we are 2018 was our most successful year yet sustainability-wise, with major reductions in waste production and water consumption and increases in sustainable travel levels. For an interactive look back, view our Annual Sustainability Report. Where we’re going Continuous improvement is a key part of strong environmental management, and 2019 promises to be no exception. Energy hack We are developing plans for our first ever ‘Energy Hack’, building on the success of previous Blackout events to reduce energy consumption in…
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Setting up a telephone conference using Skype for Business

All staff can download and install Skype for Business, but did you know, you can also use Skype to set up a telephone conference, even if your contacts aren't on Skype? Here's how: In your Outlook Calendar, select "New Skype Meeting" from the Home tab (if you can't see this button, this article may help, or contact the IT Helpdesk).   This automatically creates a Conference ID that is unique to your conference call, detailed in the meeting invite:                 It's as simple as that! For more tips on how to use Skype…
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Renewables come of age at University

We’re proud to consider ourselves a leader in cutting our carbon footprint, and have always taken an ‘efficiency first’ approach to reducing energy wastage in priority to investing in renewable energy, ensuring that we achieve maximum carbon reductions with the funds available.  Renewable energy technologies have never been far from our minds, but with a few exceptions, have seen a series of setbacks and disappointments.  That situation is now changing and by this summer, we expect to have installed over 300 kW of renewables in just 12 months. Early success Back in 2007, we installed one of the first commercial-scale…
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Are we focusing on the right environmental issues?

Opinion: Dan Fernbank, Energy & Sustainability Manager Paper cups, plastic bottles, plastic straws - it seems everyone's talking about them.  High profile coverage from the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'War on Waste!' and David Attenborough's 'Blue Planet 2' have done wonders to highlight their environmental impacts, and to encourage practical environmental action on a large scale. But are these really today's big environmental issues? The University has set ambitious targets for continual environmental improvement throughout its operations, aiming by 2021 to cut its carbon emissions by 45%, water consumption by 35%, boost recycling to 60% and continuously improve sustainable travel…
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Green Gown shortlisting for smashing our 35% carbon target!

Our achievements in meeting our 35% carbon reduction target have been recognised with a shortlisting in the Carbon Reduction category of the EAUC's Green Gown Awards, which recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK. Since 2011, we have reduced our annual carbon emissions from 44,000 tCO2 to just over 28,500 tCO2, making us the leader amongst research-intensive universities for delivering sustained reductions in our emissions.*  Our wide-ranging programme has delivered over £17 million of financial savings for the University, whilst delivering more efficiency buildings, improving building comfort and upgrading science laboratory facilities. Sir…
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