Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

UCL’s Positive Impacts

By Alex Green, on 17 July 2014

We know that UCL has a lot of impacts; carbon emissions, energy use, the effect of our purchasing and the way we deal with waste.

But we also know that through research, volunteering, participation and public lectures, UCL creates a huge positive impact.

We’ve created this infographic to celebrate the effect that we all have on the local community, on London, and on the wider world.

Click on the infographic to see it full-size.


My work experience on the Sustainability Team: Tabitha’s report

By Alex Green, on 10 July 2014


travel infographicTabitha is studying for her GCSEs at a school in Westminster. She recently spent some of her week’s work experience with UCL’s Sustainability Team, finding out what they’re doing to improve the environmental impact of the university.


Photo caption: Tabitha (middle) with Sustainability Manager Stephanie Chesters and Director of Sustainability Richard Jackson.

As a student in my first year of GCSEs, I have becoming increasingly interested in Geography and Maths and the world around us. I chose to spend my Work Experience working with the UCL Sustainability Team to discover more about what being sustainable means to me and everyone else, including UCL.

During my time here I have discovered UCL to be a huge university, made up of people from across the world with very different experiences and backgrounds. As UCL is so large, the need for it to become more sustainable is ever increasing and is required in every aspect of the university.

“Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable”

The size of UCL is constantly increasing, which despite its benefits comes with its challenges. UCL currently uses the equivalent energy of 11,000 homes and energy bills have reached an astronomical cost of £14million per year. This not only has an impact on the environment, but also on the university’s finances. Moreover, a huge amount of carbon is produced during the academic travel, which generates 160,000 tonnes of carbon per year. This is a big part of UCL’s contribution to global warming and rapid climate change.

Fortunately, the Sustainability Team are working to find and develop solutions to the problems that UCL face. Of the 3,672 tonnes of waste produced by UCL from 2012-2013, 69% of it was recycled and that number is continuing to rise through the new installation of recycling bins across campus (coming soon!). The team is also encouraging more students to take cycle safety training to advertise a more sustainable commute, which is why more bike racks more showers and safe cycle routes will be installed. The use of renewable energy has also increased and they’re exploring the possibilities of installing an energy efficient cooling loop around the university campus.

Energy infographics

From my time working with the Sustainability Team, I have learnt how we can do small things every day to help the environment and make it more sustainable. Simply by using recycling bins properly we can help reduce our carbon footprint and turning the plug off when our mobile phones have finished charging. Pestering our parents to mend a leaky tap could save money and thousands of litres of water a year. Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable.

Greening Education Conference 2014: report by Anne Spira

By Alex Green, on 7 July 2014

greening education conference 2014

Anne Spira is studying for an MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at The Bartlett School of Planning. She recently attended the Greening Education Conference and wrote this summary of the event.

The Greening Education Conference brought together academics and researchers, scientists and policy-makers, technology companies and education providers working to find solutions for a greener future.

According to Tom Reynolds, coordinator of the Greening Education 2014 conference, there is no better instrument through which to lead by example than the part of the establishment young people have most contact with: education. Through their educational ethos, universities are able to nudge successive cohorts of students into being more sustainability conscious. Additionally, universities themselves have the great opportunity to green their business approach and buildings.

Overall, the conference sought to tackle a variety of questions to the issues of more sustainability-conscious behaviour and institutional change: how can discussion about greening universities be framed to trigger more interest among students and university staff? How can those active in the university’s greening initiatives be made to feel their voices count? How can universities develop effective carbon investment strategies that cover projects, from building retrofit to decentralised energy?

In line with these questions, two of the take-home messages of the conference with regard to behavioural and institutional change include:

greening education conference 2014 V2

  1. Taking a more inclusive approach to sustainability: to trigger sustainability-conscious behaviour change and to motivate students and staff to become part of this change, Louise Hazan from People & Planet suggests reframing of the discussion around sustainability. Currently, the logic of becoming a greener institution does not cut across the entire spectrum, but rather focuses on a very small area: the university’s operations. According to Hazan, more power needs to be given to the individual in coming up with ideas on how to tackle issues like climate change and environmental degradation in the individual’s every-day life.
  2. Taking advantage of new technologies and modeling software: for new buildings, 3D building information modeling (BIM) schemes like COBie, which provide all project and asset information, documentation and data electronically, will become mandatory in the UK by 2016. 3D BIM makes it possible to document knowledge about a facility’s spatial and physical aspects, as well as the costs across the building’s entire life cycle. Overall, this technology allows for more informed decisions regarding. For instance, the materials used and their embodied carbon, as well as the installment of more energy-efficient technology and better insulation to reduce the building’s long-term resource consumption and costs. For existing and old buildings, SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com presented some products, such as tap aerators or light controls. Tap aerators or light controls allow to cut energy and water consumption, and costs.  At low instalment costs and short payback times, because of increasingly reduced resource consumption, these appliances are probably the most effective, cheapest and easiest solution for universities without lowering the comfort.

Overall, the conference offered some good solutions to institutions of higher education to lower their environmental and social impacts and again highlighted the imperative of education providers to tackle issues around climate change and environmental degradation. Amongst the attendees was a variety of academics, university building managers and consultants. I hope they took similar messages home from the conference!

Give your feedback and get a £10 Waterstones voucher

By Alex Green, on 12 December 2013

we need your views

This year we launched NETpositive, a new online platform to help connect students with opportunities to make a positive social, environmental and economic impact during their time at UCL.

This year we launched NETpositive, a new online platform to help connect students with opportunities to make a positive social, environmental and economic impact during their time at UCL. The tool can be found at www.ucl.net-positive.org

We’re giving away £10 Waterstones vouchers to students that attend this feedback session and give their views about the tool. 

  • Where: Grant Museum of Zoology
  • When: Thursday 23rd Jan ’14
  • Time: 12-1pm

Spaces are limited, so please book early.

Please RSVP to alex.green@ucl.ac.uk


Better World Books

By John M Draper, on 25 November 2013

Better World Books are a charity that work with other charities and organisations in the UK and across the world to promote literacy and the pleasure of reading.

They were involved in the PALS Green Impact last year where we sent them any left-over books from our Green Awareness Day. We have also set up book-collection ‘bins’ in our buildings and would like to further improve our working arrangements.

They’d like to be involved with other Green Impact teams this year. Further information about Better World Books is at: www.betterworldbooks.co.uk where you can see that ‘Helping the Planet’ is one of its key aims. Their contact is Andrew Parker at: aparker@betterworldbooks.co.uk so please contact him.


Bartlett Competition

By Louise A Raynham, on 13 March 2013

PrintThe Bartlett Green Action Team is running a media competition to help raise awareness of green issues, particularly ones pertinent to our faculty.  An exhibition will be created from the entries.  This is a chance to have your work go on display.

Imagining a sustainable future

The Bartlett’s Green Action Team invites competition entries in any media that communicate the sustainability agenda in new and exciting ways so that people, particularly those from the Bartlett or wider UCL communities, feel that they are able to make a difference.

Entries will be displayed in on the Lobby Gallery in Wates House in April 2013.

The winning entry will be awarded £200 with two Runner Up prizes of £100.

Prizes will be presented by the Dean, Professor Alan Penn.

  • Entries are invited from students and staff within the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment or from teams involving others from UCL or elsewhere, where the team leader is a Bartlett student or staff member.
  • Any media may be used but entries must be no larger than 1m3.
  • Monitors will be available to display video entries.  Other equipment will not normally be available but please contact Helen Fisher (h.fisher@ucl.ac.uk) if you would like to discuss this.
  • No funding will be available for materials.
  • We are particularly keen for entries to have a relevance to UCL, and ideally the Bartlett in particular, but entries with for a more general audience are also welcomed.
  • The deadline for submitting entries is Wednesday 27 March 2013 and they should be delivered to Helen Fisher, Bartlett Faculty Office, 6th Floor Central House.

Love food hate waste: UCL staff and students reduce food waste

By Rosemary Willatt, on 11 March 2013


UCL’s Environmental Sustainability Team has been working with Toby Jones from the North London Waste Authority to help UCL staff and students reduce food waste. As part of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign  Toby has set up stalls during Green Week UCL and at halls providing information and tools. Here’s what Toby has to say about Love Food Hate Waste and working with UCL…



“We have had a great response so far from UCL students to our food waste prevention campaign! The campaign aims to highlight how much food we waste at a household (or student kitchen) level, and provide practical tips on how to easily reduce this waste, as well as giving out some useful tools to help you. An example is measuring out portions of foods like rice and pasta so that we only cook as much as we mean to and won’t end up with a surprise pan-full. We also provide recipes and storage tips so that this surplus gets used up rather than thrown away.

The message certainly seems to be well received once people stop to chat – it helps that you can take away our handy freebies: rice and pasta measurers, a tea towel, bag clips and more! You can get involved by simply stopping by to browse our information stall when you see us, or find more online. If you want to go further we’re always happy to run workshop sessions if you know of any interested groups who would like one.”


It’s Climate Week!

By Ellie Jones, on 4 March 2013

clouds (c) SXC

To celebrate Climate Week 2013 (4-10 March) UCL Energy Institute and UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources are running a week-long blog written by staff and students on a range of climate related topics from biodiversity to recycling to using data.
Read new posts each day of Climate Week – http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/energy why not join in too? To add to the blog email  energy@ucl.ac.uk


Meeting with TfL – cycle safety ambassador scheme

By Elmer A Van Der Wel, on 7 February 2013

During lunch hour, 6th of February, a small group of 9 people from different UCL bodies, London Metropolitan University and City University came together with TfL’s Joe Lewis and Chris Morris to discuss possibilities to make cycling safer for students.

One option, if you feel you could do with some training, is to get free cycle training. The other and more advanced option that TfL provides is a free four-day cycle instructor training for which anyone can sign up and after which you will be accredited with a cycle instructor diploma.

Green Week UCL was reviewed, some events were reviewed and the foundations for safer cycling have been laid.
More information can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/greenucl/whats-happening/programmes/tfl-cycle-safety-ambassador-scheme and any ideas on how TfL and UCL could provide safer cycling are welcome! Let us know what you think by commenting below.

Elmer van der Wel – http://urbansensation.wordpress.com/

Lunch hour lecture on risks and benefits of active transport

By Elmer A Van Der Wel, on 4 February 2013

On Monday the 28th of January, Dr Jennifer Mindell of the UCL Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health held a lunch-hour lecture on Cycling, walking or driving – what are the risks and benefits?

The one-hour lecture had an extremely high information density and showed a variety of research findings, figures and statistics that are encouraging for us walkers, runners and cyclists. A small collection of great findings: in a Finnish study, 55-year old cyclists were found to have the aerobic fitness of someone 30 years younger. There were 8 times more road injuries amongst car occupants than cyclists, proportions of cyclist death and serious injuries have fallen 33% in the last decade and one cyclist fatality occurs per 30 million kilometres cycled. However, a wider adoption and more research is needed because the average cyclist is a man in his forties, and comparative data is still an issue. The lecture ended in style with a most amusing fact: cycling is actually less dangerous than fishing. So let’s cycle.

By Elmer van der Wel http://urbansensation.wordpress.com/

This presentation was given as part of the Environmental Sustainability Topic Lunch Series.