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Silver Award for Green Impact

This week the University of Oxford’s Sustainability Awards were celebrated. Congratulations to the Old Road Campus Research Building (ORCRB) team, which includes the Department’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME), for winning a Silver Green Impact Award. The University’s Sustainability Showcase recognises the work that has been done over the last year by staff and students under various schemes aimed at reducing the University’s environmental impact. The Green Impact scheme is aimed at empowering people to make their workplaces more sustainable.

Environmental sustainabilityHeld at the Sheldonian Theatre and then the Bodleian Library’s Divinity School, the Showcase attracted more than 150 people from across the University. Professor William James, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Resources and Jack Hampton President of Oxford University Student’s Union, hosted the evening after a welcome from Paul Goffin, Director of Estates.

There were awards for the work of the nearly 300 people in 33 teams across the University who have entered this year’s Green Impact scheme. Charles Parkins said: ‘As ORCRB’s Building and Facilities Manager, I can conclude that the major benefit of undertaking the Green Impact tasks has been to change the behaviour of those in the building. Whether visitors, students or staff everyone can see evidence of our actions to reduce the environmental impact of our work in the building.Green Impact Running the ORCRB facilities is expensive with electricity costs regularly around £50k per month so changing staff behaviour to remember to turn off unwanted equipment or for facilities to set-back ventilation rates in unoccupied laboratories saves funds for use elsewhere in the operation.  Also, close collaboration with the University’s waste management contractor, Select Environmental, has achieved better compliance by staff to discard waste in the correct stream, resulting in up to 80% reduction in some costs. Undamaged packaging products are likely to be a common issue across the University estate and if it’s not possible to reduce then their re-use or recycling could be a potential source of income, especially if this were rolled-out across the Old Road Campus or wider University estate. The ORCRB’s Green Impact team aims to build upon the knowledge we’ve gained in achieving the Silver award and I would strongly recommend others to join the process’.

Speaking on behalf of the Department, Dr Joanna Rhodes, Head of Finance and Administration, said: ‘As the lead administrator for engineering in the Old Road Campus Research Building I am very encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment which staff and students alike have brought to the Green Initiative and can confirm the full support of the Department’s senior management team. I’ve been particularly impressed with the impact on waste, recycling and transport initiatives and we are aiming to share this good practice and enthusiasm to other sites which the Department shares’.

Some members of the Green Impact TeamThe IBME team comprised Caroline Brown, Aimee Stewart, Naresh Kasoju and Julian George. Caroline Brown, who co-ordinated the IBME Green impact scheme, said: ‘There were 21 tasks to complete and evidence, and following our submission we were visited by an auditor who commented we had ‘put in a very detailed application with plenty of evidence of our actions’. At the IBME we have taken measures to reduce the amount of paper used. The administrative team no longer keeps printed copies of purchase orders or expenses claims, they are all saved electronically. Since July 2016 we estimate this has saved us 10 reams of paper. Furthermore, following the Chorus telephone installation in February 2017 all quick reference guides were communicated electronically, there were 58 phones installed to service all 220 IBME members’.

Sustainability is a significant area of activity and the Environmental Sustainability team provides a wide range of services across the University. This includes conducting building energy audits, improving facilities for cyclists and running engagement programmes.

For more information on Environment and Sustainability Initiatives within Oxford University, please visit: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/estates/ourservices/environment/

Published on Thursday 15 June 2017