With a carbon reduction target of 50%, London Metropolitan University has one of the most ambitious targets in the sector. It’s clear that the team have matched their ambition with action and have achieved emissions reductions totalling 57%.
Their concerted efforts over the last 6 years mean that the university has secured first place in this year’s Brite Green University Carbon League Table and met its 2020 carbon reduction target 4 years early. We asked Sustainability Manager Rachel Ward to talk about some of the highlights of her sector-leading programme from the last year.
Cutting carbon at London Metropolitan University
During 2015/16, London Metropolitan University undertook two major projects as part of its overall carbon management plan. Transforming Energy Efficiency at Central House (TEECH) replaced single glazed crittal windows in a 1960’s building to improve thermal comfort, reduce noise levels and improve light levels. The glazing project allowed students to be involved in learning in a 'living lab'. Architecture students were involved in every aspect of the project from using their designs for the finished windows, monitoring the building before and after work to using waste products from the construction in their artwork.
The University also utilised RE:FIT, a guaranteed energy savings scheme to implement several projects including extensive lighting replacements in our Tower Building and installing the University’s first renewable energy.
Solar on the university's superlab
In 2016, the University installed 221 solar panels on the roof of its Science Centre building. The Science Centre is home to the University’s “superlab” with 280 individual work stations and an international quality basketball court made from recycled aircraft tyres. The panels can produce a combined total of 60kW, the equivalent of 3,000,000 cups of tea per year. The installation of solar panels was the first renewable energy project at London Met and is being used by the team to help raise awareness of sustainability issues amongst staff and students. To help with this, a display screen was installed in the reception area so that everyone can see how much energy they are currently generating.
With the higher education sector becoming more competitive the team have also looked at how they can use projects to provide students with better learning outcomes and experiences. For example, the new solar array is used in the science teaching and members of the Estates Team will be involved in the teaching on the new master's course in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability. There are also volunteering and graduate internship programmes at the university which help to give students practical experience working on sustainability issues.
Professor John Raftery, Vice Chancellor at London Metropolitan University commented “Our success with sustainability is the result of hard work and determination from our outstanding sustainability team and the engagement in this issue by our students and staff. The work is important to London Met and our neighbours, and we are exploring new curriculum innovations to complement our excellent sustainability efforts.”
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