Recycling League dominated by Catering!

Catering departments are dominating the top spots now that they are part of the Recycling League with CPU recycling a staggering 74% of their waste so far this year – a fantastic result! Keep it up!

Some other high achievers over the last couple of months are MERL and Wantage Hall (catering) who have increased their recycling figure by 12% and 10% respectively, well done to you and lets hope to see you climbing up the ranks next time too.

We’ve also seen a general rise in recycling within building and departments of between 2% and 4% overall over the last couple of months which is great news and if we all keep up the effort we will hopefully hit our target of 60%.

Still a lot to do though – please let know if there are any recycling issues that you notice or if you have any ideas about increasing recycling in your area please get in touch.

Full results our on our website:

Happy recycling!The Sustainability Team

Collage of UoR bins

Saving energy taking the bus

The trip to Greenlands Campus from Whiteknights would normally be an automatic journey in the car. I wouldn’t fancy cycling it and the train is not direct. The other option would be to take the bus. I’d always considered this to be too slow and not frequent enough to meet the need for a quick visit to Henley. However, since I was doing a Green Impact audit today I thought I would make the effort, plan the journey and find out how practical it was.

I was pleasantly surprised! The first thing was the departure point, East Friars Street in Reading town centre, about ten minute cycle form campus. The fare was also very reasonable at only £5.20 for a return journey. This must be at least half the price of a car journey. When I got on the bus I found it to be about half full, meaning the route must be fairly efficient on a carbon basis. We left Reading at just after quarter past 1 and arrived at Greenlands at 1400. The bus drops you off just outside the rear gate so is very convenient.

The meeting was planned around the bus schedule, and Greenlands did well to get a gold Green Impact award, I had plenty of time to catch the 1517 return trip. Again no problems and I was back in reading town centre by 1600. All in all a good experience.

Kate came with me and bought the Brompton. No problem with this on the bus. She decided to cycle back to Henley station and catch the train back home. She found a nice route that involved a short cycle to cross the river at Hambledon and then follow the cycle path back to the town centre. I guess it helped that it was a sunny March afternoon but it certainly beat the car!

Fume cupboard upgrades save £88,000!

We’ve just completed our largest energy saving project to date; expected to save £88,000 and reduce our carbon footprint by 343 tonnes CO2 annually.

£250,000 has been investment in the complete redesign of the ventilation systems and controls for 44 fume cupboards in Chemistry’s teaching laboratories.  Energy savings are being made through a combination of measures:

  • New high-efficiency fans ventilation extract fans for the laboratories’ fume cupboards, which are 32% more efficiency than the previous models
  • Intelligent ‘Variable air volume’ (VAV) controls, which adjust the ventilation system’s input and extraction rates based on the demand from the cupboards
  • PIR sensors installed on the cupboards, linked to a warning system reminding users to close the sashes on the cupboards when not in use
  • Re-designed ventilation to the chemical storage cupboards, so the majority of fume cupboards can now be turned off when not in use.
  • Substantial heating savings, as less heated air is being extracted from the labs.  The number of times the complete volume of air in the labs is replaced has reduced from 36 to 10 per hour; in line with current efficiency standards.  The labs are also a warmer as a result.

Fume Cupboard Competition PosterOur Green Week competition winner, Saiyma Iqbal, has designed an interactive display to indicate how efficiently the cupboards are running in each laboratory.  Saiyma wins a £100 Oracle Gift Card and will see her design, based on the periodic table, built and installed in both labs.

As the graph below shows; we’re already seeing significant energy savings and with over 300 fume cupboards around campus, we are beginning to explore opportunities for similar improvements in other labs, which can make a significant contribution to our 35% carbon reduction target for 2016.

Chemistry Energy Graph

Our thanks go to colleagues in Chemistry, Health and Safety and the Estates & Facilities Projects Team for their patience and support in seeing this through.

This project was partially funded by a £187,000 interest-free loan from Salix Finance.  Details of the many other initiatives we have underway can be found at