Sustainable practices

Our Strategic Plan 2013-2020 contains an objective to make more efficient use of resources and enhance our environmental performance. Below you can read about how we are working towards our resource reduction targets and how you can help.

Saving energy

The University uses electricity, gas, steam and heat as energy sources.

We have a long and award-winning energy management programme. We now use considerably less energy per square meter than when we started monitoring over three decades ago.

What you can do

  • Turn off the lights if you're going to leave the office for more than 10 minutes.
  • Switch off lights in other areas when you can see that they are not needed.
  • Turn off computer screens that are not in use.
  • When you're leaving the office for the day, turn both your personal computer and your screen off.
  • Make sure that energy-saving modes are operating on all types of electronic equipment.
  • If you're the last to leave the office, turn off printers and photocopiers.
  • Report faulty and energy intensive equipment by filling out a maintenance request.

Saving water

The University mainly uses water to heat and cool buildings, for domestic purposes and in research. We use significantly less water now than we did three decades ago, despite increases in buildings and student numbers.

What you can do

In kitchens

  • Wait until dishwashers are full before using them.
  • Use porcelain cups and give them a quick rinse between drinks rather than using a dishwasher.

In toilets and bathrooms

  • Don't use a full flush when half a flush will do.
  • Report dripping taps and running toilets or urinals that are not operating ‘on demand’

In labs

  • Think about water and energy use when planning experiments.
  • Build water and energy efficiency into experimental design.
  • If possible, make sure that lab equipment is connected to a water recycling system (instead of running water to waste).
  • Use electric vacuum pumps instead of water-based venturi systems.

Saving paper

Paper is used all over the University - in offices, computer labs, art and design studios, for projects and theses, and sometimes still for lecture notes and handouts. It’s an area where small changes in an individual’s behaviour can make a big difference.

While we began monitoring paper use relatively recently compared to energy and water, we have also reduced the total amount of paper we use. We have done so by switching from hard copies of course materials and lecture notes to online ones, by reducing printing and by increasing double-sided printing.

What you can do

  • Think before you print, and print only if it is absolutely essential.
  • Use electronic rather than paper-based filing systems, including for all projects and theses.
  • Design documents and handouts to minimise paper use by reducing the size of the margins.
  • Collect single-sided paper and re-use it for notes and drafts.
  • Use double-sided printing and photocopying modes wherever possible.
  • Recycle paper that has been used on both sides.

For academic staff

Ask for projects to be submitted electronically and review and mark them online.

Minimising waste

Many of the University's activities generate some form of solid waste. We have reduced the wastes we send to landfill by thinking more carefully about what we buy and throw away, by buying and using fewer disposable products, by reusing products wherever possible, and by recovering recyclable materials such as paper, glass, steel, aluminium, and certain kinds of plastics.

This is reflected in our ‘4Rs’ programme that encourages staff and students to re-think, reduce, reuse and recycle.

What you can do

  • Choose products that are more durable, have recyclable or compostable packaging, and have fewer environmental impacts.
  • Avoid unnecessary consumption by thinking about whether you really need a product.
  • Avoid replacing products that are still functional.
  • Repair, rather than replace, repairable products.
  • Find new homes for used furniture by letting staff and students know they are available.
  • Print only when absolutely necessary, and avoid printing emails as a matter of course.
  • Use electronic rather than paper-based filing systems.
  • Re-use paper that is printed only on one side.
  • Donate leftover stationary items to your local kindergarten.
  • Use crockery and cutlery that is re-usable, rather than disposable.
  • Separate cardboard and paper for recycling.
  • Sign up to be part of the 4Rs programme.
  • Recycle toner cartridges.

Reducing carbon emissions

Our main focus for carbon has been to save energy in buildings and to minimise the materials we use and waste. Reductions in the energy we use in our buildings and waste minimisation have therefore also reduced our carbon footprint.

We encourage staff and students to help us to improve further by using passive or public forms of transport, by car-pooling, and by using on-line video-conferencing wherever possible.

We also encourage staff and students to help protect biodiversity and off-set emissions by getting involved in the restoration and conservation of our native forests.

What you can do

  • If you live relatively close take the opportunity to get some exercise by walking, jogging or cycling to and from the University.
  • Support public transport by catching a bus, train or ferry, wherever possible.
  • If you have no choice but to use a car to get to work, share a ride with friends, family, co-workers or students.
  • Take part in tree planting activities – get a group of colleagues or friends together and set up your own group or join an existing one to help plant and nurture native plants.