Month: December 2013

Managing a household of 30,000+ people

Yesterday our team joined a London Universities Environmental Group (LUEG) meeting to talk about various ways to reduce our carbon emissions. LUEG meetings offer a great opportunity to share best practice with sustainability practitioners at other universities in London, as we all work on similar issues. One of those issues is energy use. With more than 25,000 students and 6,000 staff, the College spends about £10 million on energy per year! We listened to a presentation by DemandLogic, a company that works for King’s to identify energy efficiency problems in our estates by getting data from building management systems into ‘the cloud’. Or as Joe of DemandLogic described it, this is where the “hardcore industrial world meets internet geeks”.


The DemandLogic system shows how the building management system is performing.

Controlling buildings better can save a lot of energy and reduce emissions. The Carbon Trust estimated that UK businesses and public bodies could reduce 2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by encouraging more sustainable behaviours from employees, which could save a shocking £500 million! Since DemandLogic started to work with King’s a year ago we’ve saved 2500 tonnes of carbon. Overall it is estimated the project identified savings worth approximately £390,000.

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Sustainability Forum: Urban farms, food co-ops and crowdfunding


Faazi is a geography student at King’s College London. She provides her thoughts below on our second Sustainability Forum on sustainable food production and social entrepreneurship. 

The GrowUp story

For our second forum we were lucky to have former King’s student Tom Webster come to talk to us about GrowUp, his sustainable urban farming business. Tom and his business partner Kate use vertical growing techniques and aquaponics to grow salad and vegetables and farm tilapia fish. Vertical growing means that food can be grown with much less space than traditional farming, which is ideal for cities – and also reduces transport emissions. The fish tanks are kept inside the greenhouses that the vegetables are in, so the heat from the tanks also heats the greenhouse. Aquaponics is a farming system where water is kept within a loop: the nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks is used to nourish the plants and is then recirculated to the tanks, so energy and water use are kept to an absolute minimum. Tom and Kate raised the initial costs of £16000 through a Kickstarter campaign, where anyone can donate to your project in return for a small gift once the project is up and running – proof that with a bit of work, anyone can take their ideas to the next level!

Brainstorm on sustainable food at King’s

As a group, we came up with loads of brilliant ideas to make food at King’s more sustainable. There isn’t a big range of healthy food sold in King’s Food outlets, and the labels don’t tell you how the food was produced and where it came from. Switching to sustainable, local suppliers who used seasonal food would reduce the carbon footprint of the food that we consume on campus. There is currently a farmer’s market every Tuesday on Guy’s Campus which sells local food, and it would be fantastic to have something similar on all five campuses.

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