Rachel Ward, Energy Manager at London Metropolitan University tells us how staff and students have worked together to acheive fantastic results across the board from smashing their carbon reduction target to campaigning for improved cycle safety.

London Metropolitan University have been a member of the ISEP since its inception. The majority of our staff and students live and work in Islington so we believe it is important that we do all we can do to help reduce the environmental impact of our operations.

London Metropolitan University was created in 2002 with the merging of London Guildhall University and the University of North London, the first merger between two universities in the UK. The University has three hubs at Islington, Moorgate and Aldgate.

The University developed a Carbon Management Plan in 2010 which set out 97 projects to help reach us a target of a 33% reduction in carbon emissions by the end of 2014 (based on a 2009 baseline). This was complimented by an environmental policy. By summer 2014 we have already met our target which we’re delighted about and we anticipate we’ll now be able to achieve a 35% reduction by the end of the year.

The main energy reductions came from:

1. Technologies such as VSDs, BMS, voltage optimisation, M & T, LEDs, automatic PC shutdowns.

2. Training members of our maintenance team to be “Energy Engineers” to empower them to reduce energy and highlight projects as their knowledge of the buildings is invaluable in highlighting areas of savings.

3. Introduction of Ska rating for larger refurbishments and a standard specification for small refurbishments. Ska assesses fit-out projects against a set of sustainability good practice measures. The University aims for a minimum of a silver rating

4. Despite Site Waste Management Plans no longer being a legal requirement, the University implements these as good practice. The University has been a member of WRAP’s “Halving construction waste to landfill” for six years. We currently achieve recycling rates of 92% on projects.

5. Introduction of Climate Week to help raise awareness. The University have tried to make events fun to normalise carbon conscious behaviour rather than making it a chore or creating a “green wash” approach. Events have included:

• “Tower Challenge of Terror” – race up 226 stairs of 13 floors in tallest building, winning time 1min 22 seconds, faster than it takes to call the lift!

• Online pub quiz – prizes of ecofriendly gadgets for answers about the environment at London Met

• Swishing – students brought clothes they no longer wanted and swapped them with others

• Energy Doctor in conjunction with Islington Council – home energy advice for staff/students to reduce costs at home.

In addition to our main energy and waste reduction work we also launched a cycling campaign petitioning the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to help make London’s roads safer. This followed the tragic loss of 3 staff and students due to bike accidents. As a result of campaigning by the University, the Mayor released funding to TfL to run a pilot scheme to train students to be safer on the road. The initial scheme has been a success and was last year extended to 8 Universities.

Through this scheme over 100 staff and students per year undertake free cycle awareness training, we also offer free  ‘Dr Bike’ maintenance service visits every month and we hold ‘Exchanging Places’ events where students/staff can sit in the can of a lorry and see what the driver can’t see out of the mirrors. The training and Dr Bike service is provided by Islington Council and has proved to be one of our most popular events.

We are developing a new Carbon Management Plan to meet a 46% reduction target by 2020. The projects will include further behaviour change, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and renewable energy. The University has allocated funding to ensure the reduction targets are met and further funding will be bid for from external sources such as Salix.

To improve our recycling rates we are upgrading our recycling bin system and aim to recycle more waste streams. We also plan to establish a system similar to Freecycle so that unwanted furniture, and stationary etc can be listed and reused in other buildings

Our Sustainable Procurement Policy is being developed to ensure that contracts we let do all they can to reduce our environmental impact.

Being city based we have very limited green space but we aim to make the most of it. A ‘Big Dig’ is planned for the end of August where Estates staff donate their time to turn part of our courtyard at our main site on Holloway Road into a wild meadow and build bee hotels.

We also plan to introduce staff and student environmental champions and continue to work on behaviour change.

One of the most valuable resources has been finding out what other organisation have done through networks such as ISEP. Even though every organisation does something different, we all have the same challenges such as finance, time and in particular changing behaviour – it’s helpful to find out what has succeeded elsewhere and also realise you aren’t on your own!

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