Category: Projects (page 1 of 2)

Win Prizes with Warp It

So far King’s has saved over £140,978 since we launched Warp It in 2016 and we’re giving you prizes to help to make that number even bigger!

How can you win?

We’re giving you prizes to share as many items as possible on Warp It. The user who uploads the most items by the 12 July 2018 will win a goodie bag of vegan treats!

What exactly is Warp It?

Warp It is a Freecycle style online platform that allows staff members from inside King’s to share unwanted furniture, office and lab equipment they no longer need. Every time an item is added to Warp It it is then available for staff members across King’s to claim, meaning that unwanted, good quality items are no longer being thrown away.

Did you know…?

Lab equipment can be put on to Warp It as well! Everything from electronic equipment to glassware can be shared and claimed on the platform.

Why is it important?

Warp It not only helps us to reduce the amount of waste that we produce, but it also saves users a large amount of time and money that they would otherwise have spent on purchasing new items. It helps to promote the ethos of reuse, reduce, recycle at King’s and encourages staff members to think about what they purchase, before they purchase it.

So far at King’s we have:

  • Saved over £140,978
  • Saved over 58,259kg of CO2, which would normally arise from waste disposal and buying new items
  • Avoided over 20,292kg of waste
  • Kept the equivalent of 25 cars off the road and saved 79 trees

Sign up to Warp It and start winning prizes today!

Become a Committee Member for Fetch Ur Veg

Are you interested in helping to promote sustainable food at King’s, as well as gaining experience at running a unique enterprise?

Fetch Ur Veg is a student-led food co-op, providing fresh, organic vegetable bags to students and they are currently looking for new committee members to take over from next year. As a committee member you will have the opportunity to gain practical experience on how small enterprises are run, as well as encouraging healthy, sustainable lifestyles to students on campus.

If you’re interested in any of the following roles please apply online.

King’s hosts global sustainability workshop

Last week saw King’s College London host members of the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes (GCSO).

The GCSO is an organisation made up of 11 world-leading universities, including King’s, aiming to create solutions to global sustainability problems through research, development and capacity building. Combatting climate change and working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals requires innovative new solutions, and universities are often where these solutions are made – by academics and students alike. While each university might be able to drive change locally on its own, coming together to simultaneously implement solutions across the world can take these ideas to the next level.

The GCSO Network of universities

The GCSO Network of universities (Source: GCSO website)

King’s is a founding member of the GCSO and represented through Chris Mottershead, Vice Principal (Research and Innovation) and member of the College Council. This demonstrates the University’s commitment to sustainability, not only through improvement of day-to-day operations, but also at a senior strategic level.

Within the GCSO, several topic groups were set up to develop projects. The group that met at King’s last week is aimed at sustainability solutions related to energy, water and waste, that can be scaled from university campuses to the wider urban and rural environments. Representatives of the following universities were present:

The aim of the three-day workshop was to agree on their first joint project. With each of the universities presenting their own project proposal, the workshop showed the variety of innovative sustainability solutions discussed around the globe.

GCSOMedium

The attendees of the GCSO workshop

Impressed with the quality of all proposals, the attendees of the workshop decided to combine aspects of each to develop a new, joint project – a toolkit to transform university campuses into ‘living labs’. In these living labs, academics, communities and other stakeholders come together to test new ideas and technologies. If the test proves to be successful, it can be replicated elsewhere. Any changes within the ‘living lab’ campuses will be monitored and evaluated using quantitative aand qualitative measures developed at the GCSO institutions. This way, universities can ensure that operations and users of buildings do not experience any negative impacts as a result of the “experiment”.

King’s has agreed to be one of several test sites for the first GCSO project, exploring energy-savings around hot water. If successful, this project could save 3-4% of the university’s annual CO₂ emissions, bringing King’s closer to its 43% reduction by 2020 target. Details on what exactly students and staff can expect from the project will be announced at a later stage, so look out for further information!

UNSDG #17

The GCSO links to SDG 11, 12 and 17

With the first one-year pilot project due to kick off in the next few months, we are hoping that this global collaboration will continue to deliver innovative solutions over the coming years. The workshop saw so many exciting proposals to improve sustainability, it is without doubt that this first GCSO project will not remain the only one.

More information on the GCSO can be found on the organisations website.

The GCSO projects links to UN Sustainable Development Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). More on the Sustainable Development Goals here

Reframing the problem to find a solution

Giving passengers free champagne could save railway £5 billion.

by Richard Milburn

The upgrade to the Eurostar services cost £6 billion to shave 30 minutes off the journey to Paris. But was there a better, cheaper way to solve the problem? In the TED talk below, advertising guru Rory Sutherland, suggests there was. For example, for 1% of that cost, free wifi could have been provided, so the journey became an extension of the office, reducing time pressures. Better still, by spending one billion pounds – still saving £5 billion – they could have employed the world’s top supermodels to walk up and down the train giving out free champagne, and (here’s the real irony) people would have asked the train to slow down.

This example highlights a fascinating approach to reframing problems that we face today (it also suggests some other options to put forward in the debate around HS2!) Can we take this ‘Champagne’ approach to sustainability challenges?

Some examples of different approaches already exist. The UK’s 5p bag tax, for example, has led to an 80% reduction in the use of plastic bags. Other initiatives were already in place to incentivise re-using bags; Sainsbury’s gave customers nectar points, for example. Yet it seems it was only when a charge was levied on bags that real change happened. This makes sense from a psychological perspective; we care more about money we might lose than that we might gain.

Overcoming the Cup Menace

Should such an approach be used for card coffee cups? A little known fact is that just 2% of coffee cups are recycled in the UK. Because of the wax lining inside of them, there are only two companies able to recycle them. This is an area where we need rapid change to reduce cup use, so perhaps it is time for a 10p cup tax? This would help to raise awareness about the damage wrought by these cups, change behaviour to encourage more people to carry keep-cups, and raise funds to support charitable initiatives or to enable better cup recycling.

In terms of sustainability messaging, it suggests new approaches are required to encouraging action on climate change. We need to talk more about solutions and solving problems that are tangible to more people. Developing electric cars to reduce poisonous fumes from motor vehicles that are damaging children is an argument that appeals to a wider audience than reducing carbon emissions, for example.

Do you have any ideas for ways to reframe sustainability problems? Let us know in the comments section below.

Investing in Efficiency: Solar Panels at Great Dover Street Apartments

As we discussed last week, King’s is currently reviewing the methods and guidelines that exist for fundraising, research grants, procurement and investments. Aligning procedures with ethical values matters because it signals an active commitment to shifting our economy towards a low-carbon trajectory.

Building a more sustainable institution requires more than rewriting existing policy, however. At a practical level, our most significant environmental impact stems from keeping the lights on across our sites. With 27,600 registered students, 6,600 staff members, five London campuses and more than ten halls of residence, King’s is a prodigious consumer of energy. Reducing our carbon footprint through investments in energy efficiency and switching to alternative forms of energy therefore represents an area of significant potential impact.

King’s College London has committed to a reduction of 43% in carbon emissions by 2019/2020 against a 2005/06 baseline. This effort has been targeted at emissions arising from the use of oil, gas and electricity in daily operations. As outlined in the 2011 Carbon Management Plan, King’s low carbon vision is to reduce carbon emissions through the application of energy efficiency methods and the use of low carbon technologies.

Capture3

CO2 emissions 2008-2009: Energy use in buildings comprises the vast majority of the total footprint

Investing in smarter, greener and less energy-intensive systems is already bringing economic and environmental dividends. Since 2005/06, the implementation of the Carbon Management Plan has led to annual savings of approximately £3.6m. In 2014/2015 alone, investments in energy efficiency projects led to reductions in excess of 688tCO2e.

Yet, as the number of King’s students and staff continues to grow and as the university expands to new sites, there is a need to scale investments in carbon reduction projects to achieve the 43% reduction target by 2019/2020. Jon Wibberley, Karen Shaw and the wider Sustainability Team are continuously working towards identifying the most promising areas for investment in energy savings.

Over the past year, this effort has centred on upgrading heating and lighting in a number of King’s Residences. Undoubtedly, the most eye-catching of these carbon reduction projects has been the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Great Dover Street Apartments (GDSA). The panels were installed on Blocks 1-10 of GDSA in the spring semester of 2016 and are now fully operational.

With a net capacity of 84.97kW and an estimated annual electricity generation of 71,510 kWh, the panels are expected to result in annual onsite savings of £9,140. These savings are projected to increase by approximately £1000 p.a. going forward to 2025. At an installation cost of £119,635, this represents excellent value for money.

Solar panels on the roof of GDSA

Solar panels on the roof of GDSA

The solar panel installation at GDSA is not solely the product of long-sighted thinking by the King’s Energy team, however. Students were involved in initial conversations held between KCLSU and KCL to jointly fund the GDSA solar panels. In the end the UK government’s decision to reduce the feed-in tariffs from January 1st 2016 meant that there was not enough time to finalise the project. Nevertheless, Energy Management Coordinator Karen Shaw credits the broad student support for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives as important in “building momentum for future projects”.

This support is evident through the actions taken in the student council. In 2014/2015 two key motions were adopted: one formulated an Ethical Investment Policy while the other encouraged KCLSU to explore alternative ethical banking providers. The outcome of this combined effort was that KCLSU moved a third of its reserves to an account with the ethical investment bank Triodos and replaced Natwest with MetroBank as its commercial banking provider.

Student involvement is not only important in helping carbon reduction projects get off the ground, but also in ensuring they are successful once they lift off. In addition to the solar panels, the spring semester saw several other upgrades at GDSA: personal fridges were replaced by larger communal fridges in the kitchens, LED lights and presence detectors were installed in kitchens and hallways and a more efficient heating system will be installed. These changes are part of a five year refurbishment project taking place at both Great Dover Street and Stamford Street.

A number of other major projects which have been completed successfully are worth mentioning: solar PV and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) is contributing to substantial energy savings at Champion Hill; Ground Source Cooling has been installed at the at the Wohl; Ground Source Heat Pumps are in operation at Cicely Saunders and both Cicely Saunders and Honour Oak Park use solar thermal energy to heat water.

Honour Oak Park

Honour Oak Park

Many more projects are in the pipeline over the next couple of years as part of a broader strategy to “design out” energy use from daily operations.

Yet, technological solutions can only go so far. Achieving real energy savings requires the participation of students. And here the good news is that lots of students are very conscious of the need to save energy. This past academic year, students in Stamford Street Apartments, Great Dover Street Apartments, Wolfson House and Champion Hill used 4.3% less energy compared to the 2014/15 academic year. Students play a role both in conserving energy and in identifying areas of energy wastage.

Going forward we hope to build on these achievements and lower our impact further. Students will remain central to this ambition being realised.

As always if you have comments, queries or suggestions do not hesitate to get in touch:

tobias.1.udsholt@kcl.ac.uk / sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

Follow us on twitter @KCLSustainable

Bike Week at King’s

Header-banner-728x90pxThis week is Bike Week at King’s. Bike Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling under the headline ‘everyday cycling for everyone’.

Participate in Bike Week by biking to work or university every day this week!

The latest bike news at King’s is that more bicycle parking racks have been set up outside the Maughan Library.

We want to continue to make being cyclist at King’s easier and more convenient. We are using the occasion of Bike Week to collect suggestions for how we can improve facilities available to bike users at King’s. If you have 5 minutes to fill out our short survey we would very much appreciate your input: http://bit.ly/1syryzh.

Please spread the word to any fellow cyclists! The survey closes on Monday the 20th of June.

Other bike-related events taking place in London this week:

  • Dr. Bike will be in Green Park on the afternoon of Friday the 17th of June. Get your bike checked and registered free of charge.
  • Register your bike online now, here.
  • The Royal Parks are hosting events all week to promote considerate cycling. Find out more here.

You can always drop us an email with any suggestions or feedback on sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

 

A Look Back at the SRIRC and Changes Taking Place at King’s

Hello everyone,

First things first, my name is Tobias Udsholt and I will be working with the Sustainability Team at King’s over the next few months.

As a student at King’s I have spent a lot of time engaged on issues relating to asustainability. Now that I have completed my degree, I am very excited to spend the summer months putting words into action. I will only be with the team for a short period of time before I begin an MSc in Environmental Economics at LSE in September, but I hope to get a lot done. You can get in touch with me directly on tobias.1.udsholt@kcl.ac.uk.

One area of particular interest to me is the debate over the role and responsibilities of universities in relation to the array of societal challenges we collectively face. As I see it, universities stand uniquely placed to nurture an understanding of the importance of sustainability amongst its students while playing a positive and active role in the wider social debate.

Grass root campaigns calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies have sparked intense debate on university campuses over the past few years. How far should universities go in taking a stance on issues such as climate change? Can engagement with companies whose business-models centre on the extraction of fossil fuels help shift us towards a more sustainable trajectory? And how should strategical objectives be balanced with ethical dilemmas?

King’s responded to the Fossil Free KCL campaign in November 2015, by setting up the Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee (SRIRC) and tasking it with a wide-ranging review of practices. On the same occasion Professor Ed Byrne, the Principal of King’s, released a statement reiterating “the commitment of King’s College London to doing more to bring about a low carbon and just world.”

The review conducted at King’s is distinct from the approach taken by many other universities in the UK. Rather than focusing solely on the framework for making investment decisions, the scope of the SRIRC extends to in-house energy management, research grants and contracts, fundraising, procurement and of course investments. By formulating a new university-wide strategy for incorporating ethical considerations into daily-operations, sustainability is put on the agenda across the board. This presents a good opportunity for the Sustainability Team to feed in ideas for new sustainable procedures in a variety of areas. If you want to participate in this process you can either send your recommendations directly to ian.creagh@kcl.ac.uk or via us at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

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On Wednesday, the SRIRC held its second Open Forum to discuss the draft recommendations issued by the committee. I invite you all to browse through the discussion points but among the highlights are the following:

  • King’s plans to identify high quality managers that specialise in investments in solutions to climate change and other environmentally friendly issues.
  • King’s is currently working to create more incentives for academics to disclose consulting engagements.
  • There is spectrum for closer supervision of the supply-chains of contractors employed by King’s.
  • Policy is in place to reject prospective funding from organisations that are deemed harmful.

The discussion paper also revealed that King’s has been an important player in the establishment of a new tobacco-free fund at BlackRock Investments. This illustrates that there are a number of options available to secondary investors that do not directly control the destination of their investment.

The Open Forum itself was lively and well-attended. The panel-speakers included two student representatives, Dr. Tytus Murphy and Nadine Almanasfi, the Student Union President, as well as Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary, Chris Mottershead, Vice-Principal (Research & Innovation) and Professor Sridhar Venkatapuram. In the ensuing question-and-answer session students probed the criteria set out to identify opportunities for positive investment and how the governance structure of the committee will be formalised going forward.

The SRIRC will make their final recommendations to the Principal by October.

Next week is Bike Week at King’s so expect a foray of information on cycling facilities, safety and initiatives at King’s.

Until next time!

 

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.

Welcome back – a new year and new term

Welcome back to students and staff – we hope you have had a happy and sustainable holidays!

We are pleased to share with you that King’s reduced our electricity consumption by 43 per cent and gas by 24 per cent compared to normal December usage. The Sustainability Team would like to thank you for all reducing our electricity and gas consumption over the winter break. This resulted in savings of £73,000 and 338 tonnes of CO2. We managed to improve by 24 per cent against the winter break of 2012/13. This is a fantastic achievement but there is still room for improvement.

University-wide efforts are helping us to achieve our energy and carbon reduction targets. Shutting down unnecessary items, including lab equipment, lighting and PCs wherever possible led to this result. This builds on the success of the Blackout project in late 2014. This year we will be aiming to achieve similar savings every holiday, weekend and evening when non-essential equipment, such as lights and computers, are not needed.

Looking forward to the term ahead we have a jam-packed schedule. The Sustainability Champions project is set to officially launch next week, swiftly followed by Green Week, and Fairtrade fortnight. We are looking for enthusiastic people who would like to be involved at driving sustainability at King’s and helping with any of the former mentioned projects.

Fairtrade fortnight is especially important; we will be celebrating 20 years of Fairtrade, King’s is aiming to gain accreditation for being a Fairtrade university. The fortnight will be focusing on core commodities – cocoa, sugar and tea. This is the chance to take action to ensure marginalised farmers around the world have decent working conditions and are paid a fair price for their produce. Watch this space for the full Fairtrade fortnight schedule.

News, stories & interesting bits

Upcoming events

Calling all Sustainability Champions

100MSDCF1

Brilliant sustainability tips from King’s staff

This week we’re looking for staff volunteers to help us launch a new initiative, Sustainability Champions. If you have a passion for sustainability and want an opportunity to help drive change at King’s, then this is a great opportunity for you! This initiative seeks to embed sustainability within our departments, offices and labs through the efforts of King’s own staff. Volunteers can create teams of any size, from an entire department to a few colleagues, and will be working with the NUS Green Impact workbook with the full support of the Sustainability team. If you want to learn more and see a list of times and places at which you can drop by to chat with the Sustainability team throughout this week, take a look at our Sustainability Champions page.

This initiative is meant to complement our operational goals and to build on the efforts of King’s staff that have already been championing sustainability. Allison Hunter offers a great example. As Technical Manager for the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, Allison is responsible for technical provision across laboratories and relevant campuses. In this role she has managed to make some truly sustainable strides, and last month she was awarded a prestigious King’s Award for Sustainability. The King’s Awards recognise outstanding achievements of staff members as nominated by staff and students. In this case the Award recognised the successful implementation of a laboratory cold storage energy saving programme, which has saved 250,000kWh, or £25,000, per annum across six research buildings. Indeed, the efforts of staff like Allison can have a tremendous impact on the operations of the College, and we hope that Sustainability Champions will enable many more staff to participate.

What else is sustainable this week? EcoSoc is holding a Christmas dinner Tuesday evening at the Duke of Cambridge to reflect on the year and plan for the next (find details below). This seems a fitting end to an exciting term. Again, if you’re a staff member interested in becoming a Champion, swing by our drop-in sessions for a chat (and some cake!). We’ll be back next week for a final post before the holidays. Until then, keep it sustainable!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

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