Author: Max Levell

Guest Post: Franklin-Wilkins Library Sustainability Champions

[This week’s guest blog comes courtesy of Emily Russell, (Sustainability Champion for the Franklin-Wilkins Library). The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability]

[This is part of series of guest posts from Sustainability Champion teams, for more information about the scheme you can click here (Overview) and here (Summary of Awards evening).]

When I first heard about the sustainability workbook and audit my first thought was, ‘that sounds like a lot of work.’ The truth is we only had to make small changes to make our office more sustainable. To borrow a cliché, its small changes that can make a big difference. This June, I was proud to learn that those small changes earned the Franklin-Wilkins Library office a bronze in the annual sustainability awards.

As I ponder where to hang our lovely award, it’s also a great time to reflect on how we achieved it. While the sustainability workbook has its own headings, these are the three important messages I kept in mind when co-ordinating our workbook effort for bronze.


You cannot be sustainable all by yourself. Sustainability is a team effort, and you need the support of your colleagues. In order to educate my office about how they can be more sustainable, I use emails and posters. While completing the workbook this year we created a fun poster with a simple message about recycling. Using Star Wars characters (Yoda for recycle and Darth Maul for waste) we outlined to our colleagues about which bin they should use for specific waste. It helped to be specific about waste as not everyone is aware that you can’t recycle a crisp packet or that you can recycle a post-it note.



As well as creating fun posters to educate our colleagues, we started putting our scrap paper to good use. In the library we have lots of printers and we frequently find abandoned paper from when students or staff print incorrectly. Usually this paper would go in the bin, but we’ve started collecting non-confidential paper that is only printed on one side and made it available to students to use for note-taking. It’s proved popular with our students, and now we aren’t handing out fresh computer paper each time someone needs to take a few notes.

Powering off

While working on the sustainability workbook I found an infographic that said if you power down your PC at night you will save enough energy to heat six microwave dinners. That’s quite a bit of power, but again, this is an easy change you can put in to practice straightaway.

Completing our sustainability workbook was not a hard task to complete and I think it’s important that we role model sustainable behaviour to our students. The workbook has also motivated me to make sustainable changes in my personal life and again, I have started with small changes.

I’m looking forward to working on the silver workbook soon!

Bronze Award Winning Teams including the FWB team

Bronze Award Winning Teams including Jane Picciano and Samuel Clyma from Library Services

If you would like more information about the Sustainability Champions scheme or about general sustainability concerns at King’s you can contact the Sustainability Team. 

Celebrating at the Sustainability Champions Awards Evening (5th July 2016)

Tuesday 5th July saw the culmination of the Sustainability Champions scheme with the annual Sustainability Awards held at the Great Hall at Strand.

Over the last 12 months over 100 staff and students have been active Sustainability Champions with their actions affecting almost 2000 staff across the University. Taken together, the Champions have overseen the implementation of sustainable initiatives that have tangibly reduced the environmental impact of the University.

President and Principal, Professor Edward Byrne AC

President and Principal, Professor Edward Byrne AC discussing the importance of Sustainability

The evening opened with an opportunity for current and prospective Sustainability Champions from across the university to meet and share experiences.

After a short introduction from Kat Thorne, Head of Sustainability, the President and Principal, Professor Edward Byrne AC took the stage for a speech. The Principal emphasised the importance of University-wide sustainability, and thanked those who have made a difference improving practises in King’s. Jessica Naylor, from the NUS, followed this up by discussing the impact of the national Green Impact scheme for Sustainability Champions scheme across the country.

Kat Thorne, Head of Sustainability, introducing the awards

Kat Thorne, Head of Sustainability, introducing the awards

28 teams from across the University were then rewarded and thanked for their work over the past year and presented with their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards with the winners listed below. .

The Silver winning Guy's Estates team

The Silver winning Guy’s Campus Operations and Hard Services Asset Management Team with Peter Frost admiring his Cactus

The Gold Winning Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Team

The Gold Winning Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Team


The Bronze Winning Office Teams

The Bronze Winning Office Teams

The Bronze Winning Lab Teams

The Bronze Winning Lab Teams

It was great to see so many people from across the University community who have supported sustainability together in one place and to have the opportunity to thank them for their contributions.

There were many people who couldn’t attend the Awards ceremony but had been involved over the past year including many of our students who were involved as Auditors or supporting staff champions.

Karen Megranahan, a student who helped audit the Champions scheme, had this to say about the scheme:

‘It was a pleasure to be able to join Kings in celebrating those departments that have successfully participated in the green impact sustainability awards scheme. As an auditor it was wonderful to see so many people involved in the overall project really pulling together for the benefit of all. I hope that the successes to date will encourage more departments to participate in this valuable programme.’

We’d like to take this opportunity to once again say thank you to all the staff and students who have been involved over the past year and well done to all the Sustainability Champions for their achievements.

We look forward to working with everyone over the next year and presenting even more awards in a year’s time.

If you’re interested in participating in the Sustainability Champions scheme in the future please get in touch. There is more information available here, you can also sign up to our Champions mailing list. Next year’s scheme will be launch in October.


All the winning teams, The Principal and Sustainability Staff

GSTT Dental Link Nurse Team win Sustainability Award

nhsawardThe already prestigious Guy’s and St Thomas’ Dental Institute has one more reason to be seen as world leading! As well as training 20% of all dentists in England, the Dental Link Nurse team is now saving £40,000 annually in material waste costs. This great example of sustainable practise has won them an NHS Sustainability Award.


The Nurse team found plenty of ways to reduce expenditure and waste so that more of the budget could be used to enhance care and training. By switching from exam kits to the just required mirrors for consultant clinics they saved around £500 a week on procurement and over £70 on waste.

Other changes such as transitioning from disposable to reusable gallipots, labelling bins and an atmosphere more excited in sustainability lead to an equivalent of 56 tonnes less carbon emissions from waste incineration as well as saving £42,000 over the past year which has been fed back into the department.

 Future Plans

The Dental Link Nurse team hopes to expand their savings to other clinical teams. By stressing the savings and communicating their successes to the rest of the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Foundation NHS trust departments hopefully this great success will be replicated.


Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee Forum

Hi All

Jusocialst a quick reminder that we have the next Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee Forum tomorrow evening from 5pm to 7pm. It will be at S-2.08 at the Strand campus and will be an opportunity to hear what is happening in the world of King’s investment policy which involves ethical and sustainability issues such as fossil fuel companies. This is also a chance to have your voice heard on the topic.

More details can be found here.

Have a good week!

KCL Student Switch Off Celebratory Event

This Thursday (May 19th) saw a massive ice cream give away at Great Dover Street Apartments as a reward for the great success of GDSA students work for Student Switch Off.

A wave of exam drained students lining up

A wave of students who just finished an exam

What is Student Switch Off?

Student Switch Off is a NUS led initiative aiming to bring collective energy saving action to university accommodation across the country. This could be through simple actions like switching off lights to longer, larger campaigns. So far this year SSO has reached 139,000 students over 44 universities leading to an average of 5.5% reductions in energy use (keeping roughly 1,188 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere).


A lot of Ice Cream

One third of the freezers full of Ice Cream

How did King’s Accommodation do?

Over the past year KCL Halls of residence (specifically Stamford Street Apartments, Great Dover Street Apartments, Wolfson House and Champion Hill) used 4.3% less energy compared to the 2014/15 academic year. That’s the equivalent of 76 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide being kept out of the atmosphere.




students  students2

Did you say Ice Cream Giveaway?

Why yes. As Great Dover Street saw the greatest reduction in electricity use amongst the halls they were treated to roughly 400 tubs to free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (as well as some vegan options and sorbets). With help from the RLAs (Resident Life Assistants), Neil Jennings, who set up the Switch Off programme, was able to pass on all that ice cream to GDSA students, a brief but welcome respite in the middle of exam season.

students3   students4

To keep up with the KCL Switch Off campaign you can check the facebook page. 

For more information about Student Switch Off in general click here.

KCL Sustainability Veolia Trip

Group photo

Jessie Hardcastle, Jo Cassidy, Charles Pegg, Harry Warner, Beth Fuller, Richard Burgess

This Monday a group of King’s College Staff visited Veolia, our waste contractor who services all of Southwark. We got to see the processes our recyclables and general waste all go through (about 20,000KG each week) as well as all the sustainability work Veolia does.

Landfill Waste

If all the recyclables and general waste Veolia received went to landfill that would be the equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of CO2 each year but one of their main accomplishments is their lack of landfill waste. All general waste they receive are transferred to the SELCHPs (South-East London Combined Heat and Power) incinerator and produce heat and power (saving up to 8,000 tonnes of CO2 each year). Similarly other waste this yields has been used to produce steel and limestone to fill mine shafts.

Biodiversity Projects

To support local biodiversity Veolia has several schemes for wildlife. Birds, bats and beetles are all accommodated for with roosting boxes while on the flora end over 100 trees and 10,000 shrubs have been planted. Serum mats also provide an artificial, green roof habitat over the building’s rooftop.

Building Sustainability

The Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility was built with sustainability in mind. 25% of the materials in its construction came were from recycled sources and its rooftop solar panels provide 20% of the buildings energy requirements. Meanwhile grey water is used for car washing and toilets in the resource centre while smart taps limit any fresh water use.


The Veolia plant also does plenty to educate local members of community. They hold regular site tours to those interested but they put notable effort in appealing to primary schools to engage with young children about the importance of recycling properly.

While we can always improve our waste management systems (only a third of what Veolia receives is put in recycling bins) it is good to see our partners at Veolia attempting to improve the sustainability on their end.


KCL Sustainability: Green Labs

While King’s has been greatly investing in its broad sustainability agenda, there has also been a drive to innovate in our laboratories. Despite covering just over 10% of our floor space, our labs are spread across all 4 campuses and use a disproportionately large amount of energy and water, as well as produce dangerous chemical waste.

To address this untapped area, Kings has invested in over the past 18 months in a post to lead in this area as well as invested in the projects highlighted. Here are just some of the scheme’s we’ve recently implemented to improve the efficiency of King’s labs.

 Savawatt Installations

This £38,000 installation project saw 584 Savawatt controls being installed into our research fridges and freezers which saves about £15,000 each year (and roughly 68 tonnes of CO2) meaning it pays back its cost in about 2.5 years.

Green Impact: Lab Sustainability Champions

Just like in our King’s offices, our lab staff take part in an awards programme which helps reduce energy, water and general waste across the labs. They also get audited for their work at the end of greeni_logoeach year for an award promoting an environment of commitment to sustainability.

This year 20 teams are participating which is the most laboratory teams for any university in the UK.

Drying Cabinet Exchange

33 old uninsulated drying cabinets were consolidated and replaced by 28 insulated efficient models, paying back our investment in 4 years and achieving £15,000 of annual savings.

blogfumecup Fume Cupboard Management Policy

Already applied to new fume cupboard installations, this technical policy will take over a year to implement but will result in hundreds of thousands of pounds saved!

Cold Storage Policy

Our laboratories are subject to a ‘Cold Storage Policy’ which is used at other universities such as Oxford amongst others. This promotes efficient, safe and sustainable practise for using the research laboratory fridges and freezers.

Current/Future Endeavours

  • Continued installation and refurbishment of fume cupboards and ventilations systems
  • Introduction of Warp-it system for redistributing unwanted resources warpitamong other institutions such as UCL who have been very successful with the system
  • Joint UCL/KCL procurement mini-tenders

 More to come!

Look to our case studies on our labs page for summaries of all the above projects and plenty more to come, including a variety of small projects lead by local lab staff (timer installations, equipment exchanges, UPS installation, freezer warm-ups, waterless condensers and more).

If interested in our growing collection of case studies see here:

You can also contact our Research Efficiency Officer Martin Farley (

KCL Green Impact Office Audits

March 31st saw this year’s Sustainability Champions good work be audited by a selection of volunteering students.

What are the Sustainability Champions?

Sustainability Champions are our members of staff promoting sustainable use of their environment for the Green Impact Scheme accreditation.

What is Green Impact?

Green Impact is an NUS lead scheme working with hundreds of organisations to improve workplace sustainability and public engagement. Each team of Sustainability Champions (organised by department) use different criteria from a workbook to go for Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards depending on their achievements.

This was just Green Impacts second year at King’s and we had about 20 office teams across our campuses, and a similar amount of lab teams.

AuditingAudit Team

8 Teams submitted their workbooks (with teams aiming for awards between bronze and gold) on the 25th of March and 8 students volunteered to help audit their work last Thursday. From 9.30am to 1pm our auditors were trained by Jessica Naylor from the NUS with help from their laptops (to keep their work paper-less) before being sent off in teams of two to audit our sustainability champion groups. These were between all campuses from the Strand, to Guy’s to Denmark Hill.

All our auditors did an amazing job and so did our sustainability champions. Small issues are being rectified over the next few weeks but we’re super proud of how it went.

The Green Impact awards will be on 5th of July where our teams will receive their awards and celebrate their achievements.

If you’d like to know more about Sustainability Champions you can find information here.