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teams working on the scheme. In previous years students have put together video’s showcasing the awards, as well as wider environmental activities such as student sustainability projects.

Martin Wiles, Head of Sustainability at

the University, said: “The scheme is a real celebration of achievement no matter if you have done a few actions or 100. It’s about inclusion and engagement, a positive ground swell. It is not a league table as it’s not focused on who is best, it’s about getting involved.”

So far over 70 departments have got involved, representing about half of the University. This equates to about 1,500 environmental actions being taken each year and this is growing year on year. For the University of Bristol, the Green Impact Awards contribute to a wider environmental agenda, which includes obtaining ISO14001 and ISO14064 (CEMARS – an energy efficiency accreditation), both achieved in April 2011. Martin added: “We have a range of environmental activities from a £20million carbon management plan to a new student bus service which contribute to our improving environmental performance.” Over the last four years carbon emissions have fallen at Bristol by 3% in spite of the estate growing in size, water use has fallen by 12%, recycling has increased by 14% over the last year and waste in general has fallen by 5%. “Green Impact has helped contribute to these reductions,” says Martin.

The scheme has also inspired unexpected results. For example, individuals who are keen to implement green actions often don’t feel empowered to do them but Green Impact has helped to unlock this potential. Martin explained: “I have been surprised by how many people are keen to get involved and often go beyond the actions recommended.” On top of the standard criteria in scheme, unusual actions that have been taken include the introduction of a bio-fuel van and reusing old cooking oil from University catering facilities to run it, composting organic waste in wormeries, running art competitions/events to promote recycling by reusing waste materials, installing bug and bird boxes, running clothes swop events, promoting video conferencing and installing heat

recovery in teaching space. This year a number of teams are taking on sustainability projects which are more fundamental to the departments operation. This could involve development of construction standards, Green ICT, environmental printing standards, green publishing, Bio-Blitz and even Green Dentistry!

This illustrates another unexpected result of the Green Impact Scheme. “Some very green departments want to go beyond standard actions like recycling and do a project with a bigger impact. These departments are leading the way to embedding sustainability in what they do,” Martin enthused.

The Sustainability Team at Bristol has also found Green Impact facilitates the implementation of environmental projects in departments which might otherwise be reluctant. “There can be suspicion about what sustainability or environmental managers want to do and that ‘green’ activities can be inconvenient, costly or time consuming. Green Impact has helped to open doors. Staff now know what we are trying to do and why it’s important and want to help.” NUSSL, who partnered Bristol in developing the scheme have been rolling Green Impact out to Universities across the UK. Almost 50 out of the 120 Universities are now running the scheme, resulting in a staggering 30,000 members of staff getting involved in the scheme and carrying out thousands of environmental actions.

Martin said: “It’s great to see Green Impact being used across the country and resulting in significant changes to help the environment. Universities inevitably have many buildings of varying ages and lots of staff and students who travel there and use the various facilities. “We have a responsibility to reduce the impact these activities have on the world around us and it’s encouraging to see that Bristol’s efforts are leading to changes in attitude throughout the higher education sector.”

NUSSL are also collaborating with an organization called ‘Change Agents’ – – a charity which offers paid sustainability placements within organisations such as Universities. Whilst Green Impact can be

implemented without additional staff resources, additional capacity can really make the schemes take off. There have been over a dozen ‘greener living’ assistants employed by universities to help implement Green Impact over the last four years, giving recent sustainability graduates a vital step up onto the career ladder.

NUSSL are also keen to develop and adapt the Green Impact Model to other sectors, thus the development of a Green Impact Hospitals scheme. NUSSL are looking at local authorities and small and medium sized businesses as new areas to develop systems for. Martin added: “Our new partnership with University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust is very exciting. We’ve seen that relatively minor changes to the way we do things can have a big effect, and this will hopefully be the case in hospitals too. We’re looking forward to holding a joint award ceremony in May 2012 to highlight what’s been achieved.” Samuel Willitts, Energy and

Sustainability Manager at UH Bristol, said: “Piloting Green Impact at the Trust is an exciting opportunity to get staff involved in practical solutions to improve our environmental sustainability. “The programme complements the central schemes the Trust is already investing in like better recycling systems and more energy efficient buildings.” Another initiative being adopted by the University this year is Green Impact Labs, a joint initiative between NUSSL and the S-Labs project based in the University of Bradford, which looks at efficient cold storage, fume cupboards, ventilation and heating, chemicals, waste and water. For research-intensive universities like Bristol, the environmental impact of what they do in their labs is large. It’s estimated that 40 per cent of energy use at Bristol University is generated by its labs and the focus is now on reducing this critical impact.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Universities, Hospital and labs scheme please contact Charlotte Bonner on if you want to see more of what the University on Green Impact see has done please see environment/green_impact/


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