2013-14 was the first year the University of Salford participated in the NUS nationwide Green Impact Scheme. Eleven teams completed over 470 greening actions around the university!
We also decided to open nominations for five special awards to reward individual and team efforts going beyond the minimal requirements of the office awards. The winners are outlined below.
For photos of the Awards events please see our Facebook album.
Daniel was nominated by his Green Impact team (Team Green CSE, based in Newton Building). He has been instrumental in promoting numerous sustainability initiatives around the University. He has shown strong leadership, inspiring his team to implement changes to their office that make it a more environmentally-friendly and pleasant place to work.
Daniel has made a positive impact in leading the School of Computing, Science and Engineering to operate more responsibly towards the environment. Daniel's enthusiasm and encouragement led Green CSE to victory in February's 'Go for Gold' challenge by completing the most Green Impact actions over one week out of 12 participating teams. A team member says: “Despite our initial reluctance, participation in the scheme has allowed us to embed the values of environmental sustainability into the way we work and create momentum for sustainability across the school.” The team is also one of only two teams to achieve a Green Impact Gold Award this year.
Daniel is also engaged with sustainability initiatives in his local community, including organising community volunteer litter picking around Trafford. He assists in the running of a community allotment growing and selling fruit and vegetables and holds local events to promote organic food growing. Daniel has also participated in a 'free breakfast' initiative providing meals to his community, which included providing a warm meal on Christmas Day. He helps a local scout group, teaching young people about the importance of conservation.
The team concludes: “We feel that Daniel deserves this recognition due to the outstanding environmental effort he has made and how he has acted successfully to influence change without any expectation of reward”.
Lauren, a Sports Centre staff member, did not previously see sustainability considerations as part of her daily work, but took to Green Impact like a duck to water and has made a great effort to engage the rest of her team in making the Sports Centre greener. She has designed posters, promoted sustainable transport to colleagues and labelled switches around the office to remind staff to use energy efficiently. She has led the team to win a Green Impact Silver Award and is looking forward to going for Gold next year!
Bogumila is a Masters student at the School of Environment and Life Sciences. She has given many hours volunteering to assist the Green Impact and Student Switch Off schemes- visiting students, auditing Green Impact teams and participating in her own School's team, Green ELS. Inspired by www.everycancouts.co.uk, she started to recycle cans at her work place and from February to April recycled over 1000 cans. She says “the energy saved by recycling four cans is enough to run a washing machine for one hour!”. Her workmates were inspired to follow her lead and now save cans themselves. She bought a tree to plant in Macclesfield Forest with the money earned from saving cans.
The team have been developing a process to enable front line Estates Security staff, handypersons and building attendants to log Green Alerts which can include: - lights left on in classrooms/offices when they are not in use, windows left open (particularly where the heating is also on), radiators set too high, waste not sorted into appropriate recycling bins and PCs left switched on out of hours. The team has produced a Green Alert card which can be left in offices as a gentle reminder to consider environmental impacts of behaviour in the workplace. 'Green issues' can also be logged onto the Facilities Management System (CAFM). If the issue applies to a shared space or is recurring in a particular location, the Building Manager will visit the school or department office to offer advice. The team would like to roll the system out across the University to enable student reps and other nominated staff to log Green Alerts. As incidents will be logged on CAFM, this will allow the administration team to run reports and identify any 'hotspots' to target and in the long term to demonstrate positive culture change across the University regarding environmental issues.
Laura and Callum, both undergraduates, have established flower beds to attract wildlife to the grounds of John Lester/ Eddie Colman Court. The beds are soon to flower for their second season and have been expanded to provide more suitable habitat for the invertebrate species that occur here, with specific interest in helping the declining bumblebee population. They say “All plants are British and bee friendly. We have done our best to choose plants that flower across the seasons to give bees the longest food source possible and also for aesthetic purposes. Last year's flower bed was very colourful and we hope that the three new ones are just as successful.” Species include foxglove, echinacea and daffodils, allium, crocus and snowdrop, and wild flowers throughout. The herb corner includes bees' favourite: sage, thyme, marjoram and lemon balm. Laura and Callum have been assisting the Sustainability team with the ongoing Incredible Edible Salford project, resulting in planting choices that consider wildlife as well as human food needs!
The flower beds and their overturned soil provide forage for birds, too. Laura has introduced bird feeders in the trees and has spotted tits, greenfinches, blackbirds and robins taking advantage of the new food sources. Laura says “I am so happy that the staff at John Lester/Eddie Colman Court have been 100% behind me on making these grounds a home for wildlife.”
SURF has always regarded sustainability as a key focus of its work. The SURF Centre is committed to reducing its environmental impact and encouraging sustainable, responsible human behaviour. The team used the Green Impact workbook to assess its working practices and realised that its sustainability credentials were already strong. However, the programme has been a way to continually seek further opportunities for positive change. Ideas discussed included lunchtime campus rubbish collections and windows boxes. New practices include the use of Fairtrade refreshment products at events and electronic pack information sent out to participants prior to attending events with the aim of reducing the need to print thus reducing waste and saving ink and paper. The Centre is a strong advocate for social and environmental sustainability and its efforts deserve to be recognised.
Peter Proctor and his team of gardeners have provided unstinting support to the sustainability team this year, enabling staff and students to connect with the University grounds through such initiatives as Incredible Edible Salford (facilitating regular open-access food growing sessions), as well as their ongoing work to enrich and diversify our green infrastructure, despite some of this being lost to building work. They have provided ideas along the way, such as planting potatoes for students at Castle Irwell to harvest, considering the practical and ecological, as well as aesthetic, impacts of the gardens.
Diana, an undergraduate in the School of Environment and Life Sciences, has been involved with Green Impact since it began, taking part in regular trainings and acting as the Project Assistant for the Green ELS team. She has helped lead and motivate the team, keeping in regular contact, assessing progress and arranging meetings. She also recruited members of ELS for her community project, 'Be Keen Go Green'. Aiming to educate community members about environmental issues, she set up a Facebook group whose members share environmental tips. She has also organised events such as a tour of Salford's Biospheric Foundation and an information day at Longsight Library. She created promotional resources and branding to engage students and the wider community.
Engaging with communities outside the University is integral to the Energy Hub's operation, with one of its core functions being to provide advice and experimental assistance to manufacturers and installers of energy efficiency products. The project Green Deal Go Early, based at the Energy Hub, engages with Carbon Coop to monitor the internal conditions and reduce energy use of the Coop members' properties. The Energy House Green Impact team shares an office with CVD Technologies and has worked with them when implementing Green Impact actions such as providing recycling bins and energy efficiency advice. Several actions applied to public access areas, extending Green Impact beyond the team.
On behalf of the Energy Hub team, Moshe threw himself into the Green Impact project from its launch and, as the team's trained Project Assistant, took lead in ensuring that the programme was fully implemented within and beyond the department. Moshe, a PhD student researching the use of DC electrical current in reducing energy consumption, devised and promoted a campus-wide 'Crush and Bin It' campaign, advocating for can-crushing stations to be installed around campus and promoting the display of posters near recycling bins to reduce waste volumes and thus carbon emissions. Moshe has engaged his team to implement a number of actions around waste, energy, ethical food and travel that go beyond the demands of Green Impact. For example, by calculating the energy and financial savings of using a timer-controlled switch for the hot water boiler in the staff kitchen and communicating this to other Green Impact teams, Moshe has contributed to the development of Green Impact as a hub of good practice and cooperative working.