February 2017 Greenwich Sustainability News


Greenwich Sustainability News, February 2017

Almost every behaviour and action we make will have a sustainability impact. This newsletter provides lots information about initiatives, support and systems that will assist you improve your positive behaviours and reduce the negative ones. To help you along the way incentives have been provided that, it is intended, may improve habits that become long term behaviours. With such actions we hope to have cleaner air to breathe, healthier staff and students, improved recycling rates and a reduced carbon footprint amongst other outcomes..

Please share with researchers students and anyone else interested.

Receive rewards for walking & cycling

The university is collaborating with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver an initiative called BetterPoints that encourages walking and cycling. As part of the Borough’s low emissions zone the initiative aims to encourage people to leave their car at home and instead walk, cycle or even run to work!

A simple smart phone app tracks your travel and awards points that can be used to obtain shopping vouchers or donated to charity. Participating outlets will soon include the university cafes.

All university staff and students can join receiving extra points over national BetterPoints Scheme members! For more info click here

It’s a waste not to recycle more!

Three projects are currently being piloted currently that could help the university meet its recycling and waste minimisation targets.

The projects include working with students at Avery Hill Halls, targeting Stockwell Street building users and users of the new Medway Student Hub.

All sites are benefiting from clearer signage, using visual cues rather than textual ones to connect more effectively with busy users. It is hoped that the project will help us understand and share better behavioural actions lifting our recycling rate from approximately 50% now towards our target of 75% by the end of the academic year.

Students are helping co-ordinate the delivery of the programme to their halls, incentivising improved recycling behaviours of student residents through Fairtrade chocolate treats. This is increasing awareness, engagement and also leading to wider improvements including health and safety ones. Staff at Stockwell Street have engaged well with their pilot and the cafe has since become totally zero waste, now only generating recycling and compostable wastes! Staff and students at the new Medway Student Hub have been trained and supplied with clearly designed and well located bins to  ensure the culture of zero waste is incorporated in the building right from the start. For more information contact  sustainability@gre.ac.uk

Food (& Fairtrade) Fortnight

For the fifth year running the university is celebrating responsibly and ethically sourced and Fairtrade food by running a series of informative and interesting events and activities. Catering outlets will be putting on special menus and providing enticing, tasty treats, many Fairtrade but also organic, seasonal and locally sourced.

We will soon confirm external and internal expert speakers, beehive visits, fairtrade coffee mornings and much more.

The fortnight runs from 27 Feb to 10th March and this webpage will be updated with events as they are confirmed. For more information email sustainability@gre.ac.uk

Help Save Energy in Teaching Rooms

As part of the university’s Carbon Management Plan all staff and students are asked to reduce their energy use to help meet our 40% reduction target by 2020.

Staff using teaching space are particularly encouraged to ensure that projectors are switched off after use. When left on the bulbs and the projectors fail sooner creating inconvenience for lecturers and their students. By switching off projectors they save significant amounts of money, not just the energy they consume but also the cost of bulb and projector replacement. As they only take a couple of minutes to switch on again it isn’t an inconvenience for staff that may subsequently need the equipment.

The last person to leave a room is also asked to switch off the lights. Please encourage your students to do so too.

For more information to help you save energy and undertake many other sustainability actions visit our website.

Sustainable Success for Greenwich Academic

Andres Coca-Stefaniak, Senior Lecturer in the Marketing, Events and Tourism Dept. in the Business School recently won a 1.1m Pound research project (with Euros 220K allocated to Greenwich). The 4 year co-funded INTERREG project involves partners across 7 European countries will explore sustainable pan-European approaches to the management of cultural heritage in tourism destinations, including the use of Smart Tourism Destination and smart city concepts. Congratulations to all involved!

Mayor’s Entrepreneur’s Prize last week to enter!

Your students have until 12th Feb to submit their ideas to the Mayor of London’s 20K Pound Low Carbon Prize. For more information follow this link if you need support please contact Greenwich’s Low Carbon Prize Ambassador Gianluca, gt9516e@greenwich.ac.uk

Clean air for all – let’s cut Air Pollution

Felt a bit wheezy recently? Perhaps it’s an effect of the recent air pollution episode that has covered much of the UK and Europe.

Many parts of London and the South East broke the annual pollution limits within the first few days of the year and warnings have been made by London’s Mayor, schools and health professionals to avoid strenuous exercise and limit exposure to harmful emissions. Research suggests over 40,000 premature deaths are caused by air pollution every year in the UK. Children are particularly affected as the pollution impacts on their developing lungs, ill and elderly people suffer as their lung capacity and strength may be insufficient to deal with the impacts of high pollution.

Much of the pollution is derived from vehicle exhausts. Engines produce nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates. Car diesel engines have been particularly singled out as producing significant amounts of nitrous oxides and harmful particulates called PM5 and PM10 which can lodge deep within the lungs. Nitrous oxides combine in the atmosphere to create smogs typical of still cold sunny conditions of the winter and hot sunny days in the summer. In the winter pollution is often trapped under a cold inversion layer where toxic gasses accumulate creating particularly persistent and dangerous conditions.

For information about real time pollution in your area check out these two websites.

LondonAir      Air Pollution in Europe

To help us all breathe better here are a few tips to help:

  • Walk, cycle and take public transport. Leave the car at home. (Use the Better Points System to incentivise your switch!)
  • If you have to use the car then don’t idle the engine at the lights or elsewhere. Switch it off.
  • Car share to work if you can
  • Pollution is particularly problematic for children so try and avoid the school run, use public transport, walk or car share.
  • Check your exhaust pipe as it may be producing more emissions than it should indicating a problem which may cost you in more in fuel to run
  • Switch your car from diesel to petrol, and preferably electric or even hydrogen. Even better think about getting rid of the car then join car clubs, get a bike and live (almost) car free.
  • Avoid wood fires at home and bonfires in your garden.

Want more information & ideas? Yes?

Then click below on further project areas:

Learn about sustainability using animations & inspiring short films.

Review and ustilise the information in our sustainability microsite

Stay up to date and get in touch:

Check our blog &Twitter feeds Follow us on twitter: @sust_greenwich. Click here for previous newsletters

Email: sustainability@gre.ac.uk

Contact: Simon Goldsmith, Head of Sustainability s.t.goldsmith@gre.ac.uk

Join Avery Hill’s Community Edible Garden: email: edible-garden@gre.ac.uk

Sustainable Development Unit, Flat 47, Aragon Court, Avery Hill Campus. London SE9 2UG

University of Greenwich Sustainability Blog