It took the Green Business of the Year title at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, an award sponsored by Crawley Borough Council.
The trophy was received by Abigail Dombey, Environment Manager, on behalf of her fellow members the university’s Environmental Team, in front of a 600-strong audience at Effingham Park Hotel, Copthorne.
Councillor Dr Howard Bloom, Leader of Crawley Council, said: “The university team set very ambitious goals and then threw themselves into a major programme to systematically reduce energy, waste and water use across their very large estate. It included an innovative programme of engaging staff and their client base of more than 21,000 students to help them achieve these goals.”
Abigail Dombey said: “I believe that the award is recognition of everything that we’ve achieved within the Environmental Team, and all the work that’s going on across the wider university and by the Students’ Union.”
Professor Stuart Laing, the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am delighted for the Team and for everyone in the university who has worked hard to reduce our carbon footprint and to help tackle one of the greatest threats facing mankind.”
Professor Laing said: “The university has a long tradition of environmental excellence, finding new and innovative ways to reduce its carbon footprint, and of working hard to encourage students and staff to adopt more sustainable habits.
“The university’s C-Change project aims to raise awareness and change behaviours around sustainability issues both on campus and in staff and students’ personal lives.”
The university set itself a target to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent in five years, by the end of the 2015/16 academic year. The target is higher than any other higher education institution in the UK.
The university has incorporated renewable and low carbon design in all its major building projects. The Moulsecoomb campus in Brighton now has the largest solar PV array in Brighton & Hove. A ground-breaking low carbon Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage system currently is being built as part of a multi-million refurbishment of the Cockcroft building in Moulsecoomb. This is a ground-breaking low carbon system to heat and cool the building.
O of the sector’s first rainwater recovery systems was installed in the Watts building at Moulsecoomb; rainwater from the roof is filtered and then used in lavatories, reducing the university building’s water consumption by 31 per cent.
Sustainable food practices have been introduced in all campuses including free-range eggs, organic milk, and Marine Stewardship Council- certified fish and seasonal produce.
The university two years running has been placed in the top five out of 143 higher education institutions in the People and Planet’s Green League, it has also achieved the Silver Eco Campus standard for environmental management, the Carbon Trust Standard, and it holds Fair-trade status.
Abigail Dombey said the work is continuing: “The award is testament to all the hard work put in by many different people across the university over the past seven years. Our environmental performance goes from strength to strength and is very strongly supported by senior management helping to drive forward change at a strategic level.”