The University has undertaken many projects over the last year to help improve not only our organisations sustainability but encourage our staff and students to carry on good practices at home and it future employment.
London Metropolitan University has installed a roof garden on top of one of our buildings. We decided to install this to provide food for our two beehives, increase our biodiversity, create a garden in an urban environment and get staff and students involved in gardening as it is great for relaxation and mental health. A twice monthly gardening club has been set up so that staff/students can learn about gardening and meet new people. The produce from the garden has been given away free to staff and students. Herbs are use in our Food Technology classes and a research project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Dietetics course to establish how to minimise food miles at the university. The garden has a compost bin to create compost from cuttings and a rain water harvester. Containers have been used in the garden as planter which were due to be thrown out. We now offer coffee grounds from our coffee outlets free to staff and students for them to take home and use in their garden.
Although we are a very urban University, we have undertaken considerable work to make our spaces as green as possible. We held an Estates day out to dig up beds that were choked with bindweed and ivy and replaced them with plants that add seasonal variety and planted a wildflower meadow to encourage insect life. Bee hotels and bird boxes were also installed. We organised a bulb planting session with students to plant over 700 spring bulbs to brighten up our courtyard in spring. As not everyone has access to green space, we encourage staff and students to grown in small spaces. We give out plant growing kits to Fresher’s and held a chilli growing contest last year.
The University has actively encouraged students to gain work experience and learn about employment opportunities in sustainability. The University has used links with the Energy Manager’s Association to invite energy/sustainability managers from a wide range of industries to explain their role to students to demonstrate the wide range of opportunities available.
Due to the increased awareness at London Metropolitan University through an increased communication programme, further opportunities have been realised to engage with students. The Faculty of Business and Law became aware of the measures the University were undertaking and positive publicity generated and was contacted by Estates with the potential to develop a course to expand on our success. Through developing practical content with Estates (such as on-site consultancy project and behavioural change research) we will launch our first Masters in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in 2017.
A key part of our sustainability is carbon management. During 2015/16, London Metropolitan University embarked on a programme called “ Lighting Up London Met”. Lighting Up London Met consisted of 3 main areas– installing 3,170 LED lights, 221 PV panels and 914 windows. The project brightened up the University by improving light quality and utilised sunlight to make our own energy.
Lighting Up London Met consisted of two key projects. Transforming Energy Efficiency at Central House (TEECH) replaced single glazed crittal windows in a 1960’s building to improve thermal comfort, reduce noise levels and improve light levels. The University also utilised RE:FIT, a guaranteed energy savings scheme to implement several projects including extensive lighting replacement in our Tower Building and installing the University’s first renewable energy.
The windows were replaced with more thermally efficient windows and insulated aluminium cladding panels were added to the concrete structural columns to further insulate the building. The window installation project was carried out with the building fully occupied by staff and students which presented the project team with a significant challenge, a series of mobile partitioning panels were incorporated to segregate the building occupants from the construction site and the partitioning was so successful that the lecturers requested that we leave it in place temporarily so the students could utilise it to display their end of year course work.
The University installed 221 solar panels on the roof of its Science Centre building. They are arranged in 2 arrays which can produce a combined total of 60kW. A PC monitor, linked to the panels, was also fitted in the reception area of the building so people can see how much electricity they are producing at any given time. The Science Centre is home to the University’s “superlab” with 280 individual work stations and an international quality basketball court made from recycled aircraft tyres. This building is the University’s second largest user of electricity so all electricity will be used on site. This building was chosen so that the photo voltaic panels could be used as a teaching tool. As it is the first renewable energy at the university it is a very exciting project, one which is being used to help raise awareness amongst staff and students on sustainability issues. The system used at London Met was a relatively new system and used a click frame to install the panels rather than having to bolt it to the roof. This made it a quick process to install the panels and they weigh less so less structural issues and no damage to the roof.
London Metropolitan have installed additional solar panels in the “E-lympic rings” project. This utilised 5 wooden structures made by CASS students for the 2012 Olympics which were due to be disposed of and repurposing them. The wooden rings had seating and photovoltaic panels installed to allow students and staff to charge up phones, laptops etc. whilst having a break in our courtyard. These have proved very popular and help raise awareness of renewable energy.
3170 T8 lights were replaced at the Tower Building with LED lights. These will reduce the University’s energy consumption by £55,000 per annum and save 225 tonnes of carbon. To ensure that the upgrades were cost effective, existing fittings were used where possible. The lighting replacement was undertaking during term time therefore out of hours work was used to minimise disruption.
In addition to the practical projects, a programme of environmental awareness raising was undertaken to let students and staff know about the work being undertaken, London Met’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact and the actions they could take to help reduce this further. Events were run throughout the year culminating in the University’s most successful Green Week to date with over 400 attendees. For the first time, a Green Society was established at the University which won “Society of the Year” at the Student Union awards
Lighting Up London Met builds on the success of the previous carbon management plan which resulted in savings of 43% in 2014 and we expect to meet and exceed our 2020 carbon reduction target of 50% by the end of the academic year of 2015/16
London Metropolitan University have publicised the work that has been undertaken through internal communications such as staff/student newsletters, new articles on websites and through presentations at groups, for example during Reading Week to students and to the University’s Senior Management Group. Information has also been disseminated through external sources such as on the Edie website, Energy in Buildings and Industry magazine, NUS website, case studies on suppliers websites . The University is a member of Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership to help other companies in the area implement similar energy saving projects. Social media has been important in communicating messages to students with popular twitter, facebook and Instagram accounts used.
We also have a webcam so people can view the bees 24 hours a day.
We expect to save £103,200 per annum on energy costs through the “Lighting Up London Met” project and a further £7,436 per year (minimum) on CRCEES. The project was funded through a loan from HEFCE for TEECH, a loan from Salix and capital funding from the University. The lighting and PV have guaranteed savings.
We work with local schools to arrange visits to the University – we show them some of the sustainability initiatives we have in place such as the roof garden.
We work with Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership, Tower Hamlets Council and Islington Council to ensure our impact on the local environment is positive.
INNOVATION AND PRODUCT SELECTION/DIVERSITY
The teamwork of staff involved in carbon projects at London Met has been recognised through the team being given a team award at the annual staff awards. The team are so committed to improving sustainability rather than spending the money on themselves, it was used to hire bee hives. The hives are used as an educational tool with visits for staff and students arranged every two weeks. Student projects are planned for the new term including analysis of the honey to find out where the pollen is from.
CARBON REDUCTION COMMITMENT
Through the “Lighting Up London Met” project we expect to reduce the University’s carbon footprint by 440 tonnes. This will result in us meeting our 2020 carbon reduction target of 50% four years early