Welcome to blogs.reading.ac.uk. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
As you will have seen if you’ve been to the Earley Gate side of campus recently, we’ve been making some improvements to the shared paths there. Widening them to allow more space for cyclists and pedestrians to share space safely. The improvements in this location are a direct result of your feedback in previous Travel Surveys, that this was the spot that concerned the largest number of respondents.
This work forms the start of a programme of improvements to routes on campus. We hope you managed to view and comment on our proposals for Campus Routes and Quads development in the consultation earlier this year. Our responses to your feedback should be available shortly.
Why not segregated paths?
We have opted to widen paths for shared use, rather than provide segregated routes. This decision was based on recommendations from our consultants, based on an assessment of the usage levels of the routes, and is in accordance with current guidance for heavily used routes. (See below for links).
Reports suggest that while people often express a preference for segregation of pedestrians and cyclists, it doesn’t always perform well in practice, particularly where there are larger groups of pedestrians and where pedestrian movements might be at variance with the linear paths taken by cyclists. The reports note that larger groups of pedestrians tend to disregard segregation techniques, rendering them ineffective.
The conclusion for Whiteknights Campus was that a fully shared surface would provide a better environment than attempting to define segregated spaces which would need to be crossed frequently. By comparison, a level wider surface gives users a better opportunity to navigate past one another without conflict.
Our intention is to provide sufficient space for all path users to share the space safely. We will continue to monitor the situation and your feedback.
For those interested in further reading:
DfT Guidance on share use routes, including LTN 1-12 and the ‘Operational Review’ report
A literature review for Wales Govt at: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/file_content_type/phil_jones_associates_report_-_september_2011.pdf
A more recent feasibility study for the Royal Parks.
In March 2017, the Old Whiteknights House Green team were the successful recipients of money from an environmental fund, set up to support staff and students to undertake green projects important to them.
Their project looked to encourage staff and students to get involved with a small kitchen garden they proposed to plant in the grounds of their building. The benefits of this were two-fold, to engage people with a very tangible environmental project near to their place of study/work but also to increase well-being with gardening a proven way to improve people’s level of happiness.
Over the last month, during the fantastic weather we’ve been having, Helen and Nicky have been out purchasing plants and getting them planted outside the building. All the plants that have been chosen are ones that can be used in the kitchen, another way to engage and interest people. Since planting, they’ve both been engaging mint tea from their very own kitchen garden!
If you are interested in getting involved with environmental issues on campus do send us an email at email@example.com
Following a thorough audit by the external auditor NQA, our London Road and Whiteknights campuses have been certified to the internationally recognised environmental standard ISO14001:2015.
The University has excelled this year in certifying for this revised standard and was awarded no non-conformities for its updated environmental management system (EMS).
The revised standard places an increased emphasis on leadership, commitment, continual improvement of environmental performance and ensuring the University is embedding sustainability into its core business.
The Vice Chancellor was interviewed by the auditors and demonstrated that there is commitment and leadership at the highest level.
The University was able to show that the EMS was effective by;
• Embedding environmental and sustainability into key business processes, e.g. via the Estate Strategy.
• Ensuring that sustainability is considered during the procurement process.
• Making staff aware of their collective and individual environmental impacts.
• Communicating areas of good practice and promoting the positive impacts that the University can and does have.
• Demonstrating continual improvement of environmental performance (35% carbon reduction and diverting 99% of waste away from landfill), as well as forward planning with long term strategic plans that take into account the influence of internal and external issues e.g. legislative changes, student population etc.
• Providing cost savings and a significant return on investment as demonstrated by the Carbon Management Plan.
• Maintaining compliance to legal and mandatory obligations by auditing, reporting and reviewing processes.
The certification offers an independent validation to the University’s operations which legitimises the environmental initiatives. It offers external customers, suppliers and interested parties confidence that environmental risks are being identified and addressed and that compliance is a key consideration.
For more information about the EMS process please contact Anna Glue (Sustainability Officer), or to report sustainability issues or achievements please contact Sustainability Services on ext. 6837 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are delighted to announce that the University has cut its carbon emissions by 35%!!!
This has produced a saving of £17 million over a five year period and means we have cut our annual carbon emissions from 44,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2008/09 to just over 28,500 tonnes per year now. The total carbon saved over the five year period is 63,000 tonnes, which equates to just over two years’ worth of the University’s current carbon emissions.
This achievement puts the University among the top institutions in the country for reducing its carbon emissions. It demonstrates the University’s commitment to delivering against its environmental commitments and makes Reading a leader in the sector for action on climate change.
The big question is, how have we done it? Since 2010, the University has been working hard to deliver on this commitment. Over £4 million has been invested into projects across the University to improve the efficiency of our buildings and operations. The infographic below gives a breakdown of where the reductions have come from and demonstrates how broad the programme has been.
Looking back over the last 5 years, we’ve identified the following 8 points as key to achieving the 35% reduction…
- Consistently committed senior leadership
- Increasing localised as well as centralised action
- Regular progress reporting, including on carbon performance, financial investments and associated returns
- An evolving programme with regular annual reviews rather than a static list of projects
- Close monitoring of and planning for key estate and business strategy changes to anticipate impacts on the programme
- A combination of internal and external funding streams; with 40% coming from external sources
- A strong energy management system, certified to ISO50001
- A committed, enthusiastic and persistent team of dedicated staff
If you have any questions please do get in contact as we would be delighted to discuss the 35% reduction with you. We also know we have a lot more to do however and we always welcome suggestions on how we can improve our energy performance – do let us know if you have a suggestion. You can contact us by emailing email@example.com
IT have recently introduced Skype for Business at the University, something that many people have been asking about for a number of years. Having instant messaging and video conferencing facilities at our desks makes it easier for us to meet with people across the country and the world without the need to travel.
One thing that we’ve found useful in Sustainability Services is having Skype for Business open when your start your computer up. This has meant we can see when colleagues are available through the day so we can communicate whilst people are working remotely. So to make sure Skype for Business opens on start up follow the process below:
Log into Skype -> Go to tools -> Options -> Personal tab -> Then check the box that says “Automatically start the app when I log into Windows”
That’s it, really easy! Let us know what you think of Skype for Business and how you are using it to reduce the amount of travel you need to do. You could even instant message us…
Last week the University celebrated all things sustainable with its first Green Festival. Running from Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 November there were a number of events including tours of the University’s state of the art energy centre, a careers event for students to explore environmental jobs and the ever popular Blackout event.
We are delighted to say that many of the events were over-subscribed, demonstrating the passion and enthusiasm staff and students have at the University for green issues. During the week over 50 staff and students visited joined one of the Energy Centre or Carrington building tours and 60 students listened to professionals from companies such as AECOM, Thames Water and Barratt Homes explain what it’s like to work in the sector.
The week finished with the Blackout where over 90 staff and students came together to audit buildings across Whiteknights and London Rd to see what has been left on, switching off anything it was safe to do so. They found over 400 monitors or computers and nearly 200 lights that had been left on and with many of them switched off, the live energy data showed that energy consumption on the night was below a normal Friday evening. The enthusiasm in the room was fantastic and one student emailed after the event to say it was the first time they saw how much energy could be saved if people switched off and they loved being a part of it. Some of the social media highlights from the night can be seen here.
Thank you to all the staff and students that participated in the week, especially those staff that lead teams on Friday evening. To keep the good work going, we were pleased to announce the launch of an Environmental Fund which staff and students can bid into to deliver projects they care about. More details will follow over the next couple of weeks but if you are interested or have an idea for a project you would like to deliver please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The University is proud to have been announced as the winner in the ‘Facilities and Services’ category of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) 2016 Green Gown Awards last week.
The annual EAUC Green Gown Awards are a celebration of sustainability achievements across the higher education sector, and the University’s energy efficiency improvements to its science labs was picked as the overall winner in the Facilities and Services category – http://www.greengownawards.org/2016-winners1
The judges saw Reading’s entry as “…an exemplar model of engagement and collaboration with senior academic leaders which has led to a significant impact on energy savings and carbon reduction measures. Strong leadership for this project aligns closely with the theme of ‘Securing and Sustaining Societies’ in the University’s overarching strategy to 2026.”
This follows hot on the heals of another national award – winning in the ‘Stars of the Future’ category of the Love Energy Savings’ awards – https://www.loveenergysavings.com/the-love-energy-awards/
The University’s £1.025 million investment in upgrading the ventilation to its science lab fume cupboards is saving over £300,000 and over 1,000 tonnes CO2 per year.
The programme has involved:
• Upgrading the ventilation control systems
• Replacing extract fans with higher efficiency equivalents
• Providing more efficient ventilation to a number of chemical storage cupboards
• Removal of some redundant fume cupboards
• Re-calibrating the run speeds of fume cupboard ventilation across campus
More details on the University’s Sustainability Services are available at:
Over the summer, we hired two interns to help develop a platform to display our new and improved energy data. It is important for us to engage with staff & students, to inform them about their consumption as they are both primary users. As a result of 10 weeks of designing, editing and planning, we are proud to be launching our new sustainabilityoncampus.co.uk very soon.
About the interns (name, course, career aspirations)
Abi: 1st year student reading Geography (Human & Physical); hoping to work in the environmental sector or continue in further studies.
Adam: recent graduate; Applied Statistics, wanting to become an Analyst.
What your role involved?
Abi: As a Junior Energy Officer, I worked with the Junior Energy Analyst to research and produce a data-driven website to display our energy data. My role involved co-designing, branding and communication. Also, producing the supporting content for the data to provide information surrounding the data. Other works include video-editing Green Gown’s submission task, website auditing and part analysis of business travel data.
Adam: As a Junior Analyst, I developed and co-designed the data-website. The work consisted of data manipulation, content-editor and completing analytical tasks as a result of improved Automated Meter Reading. Focal points included the Energy on Campus map display and using HTML coding to aesthetically present data. Other works include analytic data tasks in electricity, heat and water.
What have you gained from this experience?
Abi: Skills I have developed from this opportunity include communicating with appropriate people to utilise the services provided by the University to ensure we are both engaging to staff and students; overcoming and finding appropriate solutions around limitations to ensure all is under University guidelines. Further, it was interesting to approach energy & heat on a local scale having almost, always learnt about global/ national issues. It forms a more apparent microcosm of wider issues.
Adam: I have been able to find and present analytics best suited to layman audience including simplifying jargon and providing explanations for appropriate trends and patterns. Also, dual working- being able to work with another to ensure the website decisions satisfies both and compromising on conflicting issues. To best suit Systems-link (data software), I learnt HTML coding when embedding it to our site.
What was it like working for Sustainability Services?
Abi: As a first year student, my experience in the field of energy & sustainability is fairly limited. This was a great opportunity for me to use my knowledge from Geography as a baseline to learn much more from experts who have been reading, analysing all branches of energy, waste and travel. It is a welcoming and friendly environment where we were integrated into the team swiftly. It is also very encouraging to be working in a team where everyone is passionate about sustainability.
Adam: It’s a friendly, relaxed and calm working environment. It is easy to interact with everyone across the team, despite the project focusing on energy. There is also the ethical satisfaction, in knowing the analytical work I completed is to reduce overall carbon emission and help not only the University of Reading but our surrounding environment.
Would you recommend this to others?
Abi: I would highly recommend this others- regardless of year of study. It is a great way to develop skills in various fields- coding, communications, marketing & learning all things sustainability whilst working with a friendly team. It will also provide great links and contact across the University when communicating and makes you more aware of services provided across University campuses.
Adam: Yes. Initially having thought it was purely aimed at second and third year students- it is suitable for recent graduates also. It is a perfect opportunity for graduates who are less aware of career plans. To be working in a familiar environment means you are able to focus more on the work, making the experience even more worthwhile.
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity and making this a great experience”
Best wishes, your legendary interns.
The University’s programme of energy efficiency improvements to its fume cupboards has been recognised by 3 national sustainability awards:
- S-Lab Awards – shortlisted in the Laboratory Environmental Improvement Category – http://www.effectivelab.org.uk/2017-s-lab-awards.html
- EAUC Green Gown Awards – winner in the Facilities & Services category – http://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk/green_gown_awards_2016_facilities_and_services_7
- Love Energy Savings Awards – winner in the Stars of the Future category – https://www.loveenergysavings.com/the-love-energy-awards/
Following a successful £250,000 pilot scheme in 2014, the University carried out a complete review of all its 252 fume cupboard facilities. A further £768,000 has been invested during 2015/16, partly funded by a 0% loan from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE)’s Revolving Green Fund.
The programme has involved:
- Upgrading constant air volume (CAV) fume cupboard ventilation to variable air volume (VAV) ventilation; resulting in significant energy savings whenever the fume cupboard sashes are closed
- Replacing 98 extract fans with higher efficiency equivalents, which on average use 32% less energy
- Providing new ventilation to 49 chemical storage cupboards, meaning their associated fume cupboards can be switched off when not in use
- Removal and making good of 2 redundant fume cupboards
- Re-calibrating the face velocities of cupboards across campus
This has been a significant and at times disruptive programme of work and we are particularly grateful to our Chemistry colleagues for agreeing to a complete decant of their research laboratories during the upgrades.
With the programme now substantially complete, we are monitoring energy consumption closely to ensure that the anticipated £315,641 and 1,037 tCO2 total annual savings are delivered.
More details on our Sustainability Services are available at: