Category: Staff profiles (page 1 of 2)

Introduction to Nicola Hogan, King’s new Sustainability Operations Manager

King’s’ new Sustainability Manager, Dr. Nicola Hogan joined the sustainability team last month having previously worked at Goldsmiths, University of London, The EAUC and The University of Limerick in Ireland. Since starting her career in sustainability in Higher Education (HE), Nicola has worked as both a researcher and a practitioner and in some positions, as both. She has conducted research into the calculation of the Ecological Footprint of A4 paper use and from that created a road-map for HE institutions on how to reduced paper use at source, save money and reduce CO2 emissions. She has also  conducted research into the use of sustainable ICT in UK universities identifying where and how ICT energy was being wasted.

In her role as Space, Environmental and Sustainability Officer at Goldsmiths Nicola was responsible for embedding sustainability into campus operation as well as ensuring the College was accredited with Fairtrade – something Nicola is particularly passionate about.

Embedding Sustainability into campus operations across a multi-site university has many barriers – something she is all too familiar with. From 2010-2016 Nicola conducted research that examined what the barriers to sustainable performance in universities might be and how to overcome them. Nicola identified 7 barriers in total, with poor stakeholder engagement identified as being the greatest barrier. However, Nicola was quick to note that stakeholder engagement is pretty good at Kings with more than 500 staff and student sustainability champions actively doing that extra bit for the planet and for King’s, in the 2019-2020 academic year.

When asked what singular and simple action (if any) could be taken to reduce our environmental/carbon footprint and improve our overall campus operations, she indicated that a reduction of waste’  – in all its forms (solid waste, waste water and energy waste) could potentially see an improvement of sustainable performance  by 20% to 30% – with almost no capital costs incurred. In fact it’s widely regarded that waste energy for example could be reduced by 20% in universities simply by switching off and powering down when not in use.

As Nicola starts in her new role at King’s College and with a new year’s resolution  to reduce waste at source in 2020, she is reminding everyone to ‘take a quick look in your bin’ at what you discarded and ask yourself – ‘could I have done without it’ ?

A Welcome from Ali Hepple, Sustainability Projects Assistant

Hello!

I am very excited to have recently joined the King’s Sustainability Team as their new Sustainability Projects Assistant. In this role, I am responsible for helping to raise awareness and embed sustainability throughout the university. This includes Sustainability Champions, which is a brilliant programme run in collaboration with the National Union of Students . It is designed to enable and empower staff to recognise the difference they can make on an individual level, both as a part of the King’s community and throughout wider society. This champions year (18/19) we have 324 staff champions. This is also the first year we will be having student assistants assigned to staff champions teams, bringing staff and student communities together around the common goal of making King’s and the wider society more sustainable and supported. If you’re interested in becoming a champion please get in touch!

My relationship with the university began in 2014, when I came down from the North of England to start my Geography degree at King’s. As a new student in London, I wanted to find programmes I could get involved in which combined community and environmental action. In my first year, this included the University of London’s Reduce the Juice programme. This involvement with the UoL Sustainability Team then led in my second year to developing my own initiative. This initiative was to make meals in UoL halls of residences more sustainable through the introduction of a daily vegan option. This not only replaced a meat based dish, but also responded to the dietary and cultural demographic of the halls’ residents and actively responded to feedback given in the student experience surveys. My work around sustainable food developed in my third year of university, working with the King’s sustainability team to get King’s College London a Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) rating. The SRA assessment is known as the ‘Michelin stars of sustainability’ and is based on three pillars of sustainability: Sourcing, Society and Environment. The assessment included a wide variety of criteria, from fair treatment of staff, our use of natural resources, food waste, community outreach and charity work, and food certifications. I am very happy to say that King’s submitted its final SRA assessment in November (2018) and will receive its SRA rating and sustainability action plan with the key areas to improve and guidance on how to do this in January 2019.

For my final year dissertation, I lived and worked on a Community Supported Agriculture farm in rural Sweden over the summer of 2017, this experience forming the body of my research. The farmers’ story was incredible, establishing their farm as the first CSA in Sweden (est. 2001) and made possible through the reliance on volunteer, largely international labour. Their approach to life was inspiring, teaching those who want to learn with open arms and passionately addressing the social and environmental justice issues around food. They struck a balance of community, environmental and social sustainability based around food that I had not seen or experienced before. It made a long lasting impression and it is something I would like to explore more within the UK.  

I am thrilled to continue my relationship with King’s as a member of the Sustainability Team and to use my experience as a student here to inform my decision making and areas of focus. I want to use my role in the Sustainability Team to enable more staff and students to get involved in sustainability at King’s, to help King’s progress as a leading sustainable institution, to strengthen the community of King’s and nurture the sustainable knowledge of staff and students who will go on to shape the future.

I am very much looking forward to continue engaging with staff and students, listening to input, and working to make King’s a leading university for sustainability together.

IT Sustainability Champions try the Iron Veggie Challange

This year for Sustainability Week our Sustainability Champions outdid themselves, hosting events, bake sales and litter picks, showing that no effort is too small to make a difference.

Our Sustainability Champion for IT at Drury Lane tells us all about what they did for Sustainability Week:

This week’s guest blog comes courtesy of Ioannis Golsouzidis. Ioannis is a Graduate Analyst for IT.

(The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability.)

Towards the end of November, the Head of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, joined the IT All Hands conference to encourage us all to sign up as Sustainability Champions. A group was formed shortly thereafter and we were keen to get underway in trying to achieve the Bronze award by May 2018 (in order to achieve the award, we have to meet the criteria set out in the Champions Workbook e.g. ‘actively promoting alternatives to the use of disposable water bottles.’)

Since forming the team, we have had our CIO sign our pledge, sent out communications to staff to power off non-essential equipment over Christmas, implemented waste paper trays in printing rooms around our department, changed some of our suppliers to more sustainable alternatives and, of course, planned some stuff for Sustainability Week amongst other things!

As part of the Sustainability Week, we organised several initiatives in order to help us reach our ambition of securing the Bronze award. After seeking some advice from the Sustainability team, we themed our week around vegetarianism (as eating less meat helps to reduce our carbon footprint) and here is how people got involved:

  1. InstaVeggie: All staff were encouraged to try eating a vegetarian/vegan lunch at least once during the week of 12th-16th February and send a picture of the dishes that had inspired them to do so. All participants got a small prize.
  2. Iron Veggie Challenge: Staff were challenged eat a vegetarian/vegan lunch for all 5 days and there were special prizes for those who sent in pictures.
  3. Sustainability Lunch: We organised a lunch at Sagar Covent Garden (a vegetarian restaurant) on the 15th February 2018 as a get together for staff across the department.

 

Here is what people thought of the initiatives:

“I really enjoyed the veggie week. I’d just completed veganuary so it was a great reason to keep up eating no meat.”

“I’d failed in my bid to do a dry Jan… so this was the next best thing!  It was easy to do and the people in my team were supportive”

Meet Josh, our Waste to Resource Project Coordinator

 

Photo of Josh2Hello! Well, where do I start? I’ve been tasked to sort out all of your rubbish – which may be seen as a massive ‘waste’ of time. Okay, I’ll stop with the waste puns right now. My formal title is Waste to Resource Project Coordinator, which entails me helping King’s to achieve it’s 2018/19 goal of recycling 70% of all its commercial waste, along with aligning waste practices across the King’s estate.

Since joining the team in August 2017 I have implemented coffee cup recycling across certain sites with the message that “King’s is taking responsibility for the waste it generates”. It’s important that the University looks to mitigate its effect on the environment and this a great way to get the ball rolling and promote a circular economy. I am currently working with the newly appointed waste provider, Simply Waste Solutions, to rationalise the bin systems we have in place to ensure our cleaning team have the tools to achieve our 70% recycling goal. Once this has been accomplished I’ll be looking at the bin provisions within our buildings, ensuring that 70% of all the bins inside are designated for recycling, giving you a 70% chance of recycling your waste. “70” is the golden number and by applying this to everything we do I have no doubt we WILL achieve our target by 2018/19.

I have been working alongside King’s for a number of years, helping to assist the cleaning team with the integration of non-chemical based cleaning products, and working on efficient waste management. I then migrated to the King’s facilities team at the Strand, working in Operations to improve student facilities including the roll out of Deluxe Bike Stands across the King’s Estates.

I am always open to innovative ideas and pragmatic approaches to dealing with waste, so if you have any ideas please do get in contact with me. My email is josh.pullen@kcl.ac.uk or you can get in touch at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

Away from waste, I’m also the Co-Chair of the King’s LGBT+ Staff Network promoting Diversity & Inclusion in the institution and working with departments and faculties to promote a fair and comfortable environment for LGBT+ people at King’s. If you are a staff member and would like to hear about events, volunteering opportunities or just meet up with fellow LGBT+ colleagues email lgbtnetwork@kcl.ac.uk to join the newsletter.

SPA takes itself to task on sustainability

Laura Westwood SPAThis week’s guest blog comes courtesy of Laura Westwood. Laura is an Internal Auditor within the Directorate of Strategy, Planning & Assurance.

(The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability.)


The last couple of months have seen a proliferation of posters and a new recycling bin in the Directorate of Strategy, Planning & Assurance.  Handily located at the tea point, the new bin makes each coffee break an unavoidable opportunity to do our bit – and we’ve additionally committed to using only eco-friendly coffee pods.

Before the bin arrived, we had to walk to the kitchen across the corridor to recycle waste.  Hardly an onerous task, I admit, but when one lunches al desko on rainy days, absent-mindedly favouring the nearest receptacle can become a habit.  I have rescued several stray banana skins from the floor under my desk this week, as I habituate to our personal bin ‘cull’!

When our Directorate Sustainability Champion, Sian, came to the Internal Audit team meeting, the information she shared with us showed that some of the choices we make with good intentions may in fact be ill-informed.  I had been convinced that rinsing my cup under the tap was preferable to leaving it in the dishwasher, but Sian explained that if we avoid using sinks and run one dishwasher cycle per day, our energy efficiency will improve.

My personal good news story is that, confronted with the information on one of our new office posters that King’s produces ten tons of waste each day, I logged into Papercut for the first time and resolved to curtail my printing activities.  I find it much easier to absorb information when I read it on paper, but I’ve made a concerted effort.  My first zero-printing week occurred this month, and I hope for many more.

The next step for the Strategy, Planning & Assurance sustainability team is to advance our ideas for contributing to the local community.  Talks are underway with local organisations to build on the success of previous years’ clothing collections by welcoming homeless guests for a hearty meal served by King’s staff and students.   New and nearly new clothing and accessories are planned to be collected and displayed in ‘retail’ style, so that guests can browse at leisure and select pieces to take away.

All in all, the drive for sustainability in SPA has pushed me to fully accept my duty to demonstrate sustainable behaviours at work.  However insignificant our individual ‘oops’ moments may seem amongst an 8000-strong staff population, they add up to serious environmental impact.  I can no longer gloss over my environmental footprint, because with Sian’s help, it has been laid out in front of me – and I’m thankful for that.

Laura Westwood is an Internal Auditor within the Directorate of Strategy, Planning & Assurance. 

A Welcome from King’s new Operations Sustainability Manager

Hello!

20161010 Olivia's Personal Blog (photo in blog post)I’m delighted to have recently joined the Sustainability Team at King’s, and the energy and ideas I’ve already witnessed in my first few weeks has been invigorating, not least the positivity from the many students I met at the Fresher’s Fair and Welcome to King’s events.

For the last year I’ve been working in the Learning and Innovation team at the UK Green Building Council, a membership organisation campaigning across the industry for a more sustainable built environment. As a large owner-occupier, the case for King’s College to make sure any new buildings we design and construct are efficient and sustainable, buildings that we will occupy and pay the energy bills in for many years to come, is a no-brainer. I’m excited to work with new colleagues in Estates and Facilities to make sure this happens.  Prior to UK-GBC, I spent nearly 5 years as Environment Manager at the BBC, working to improve environmental performance across their property estate. With around 175 buildings nationwide, and 22,000 staff working on delivering T.V. and radio content in studios and out on location, it was no mean feat. Ranging from improving the performance of the iconic Broadcasting House, with its 24-hour newsrooms, to advising on the most appropriate way to dispose of some very realistic-looking body parts from the clearance of a Silent Witness props store, no day was boring.

I hope this sets me up well to champion sustainability and support the College in embedding sustainability across all its activities. With a background in waste and pollution legislation gained at the Environment Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of what happens when environmental controls aren’t in place (and the hefty bills that can result from clean-up or prosecution). With this in mind, I’ll be making sure we are compliant and following best practice. But what excites me most about joining King’s can be summed up in one word – Potential.

From the world-class research and teaching across all academic disciplines, to the innovation bubbling out of the Entrepreneurship Institute, to the ground-breaking work of the Air Quality Group, and many more, I believe it’s no exaggeration to say that at King’s we have the potential to change the world for the better. And there’s never been a greater need.

20161010 Olivia's Personal Blog UNSDGs (photo in blog post)

With the ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement agreed at COP 21 finally bringing some hope of keeping global warming below the dangerous 2 degrees threshold, to the launch of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals one year ago, it’s an exciting time to work in sustainability. What I hope to be part of creating with the fantastic Sustainability Team is a step change in how all of us, students and staff, understand the potential we have to create a more sustainable future.

I look forward to meeting you at our events, and especially working with colleagues across the University through our Sustainability Champions scheme which is being re-launched later this month.

I hope you’re excited as I am about getting on board with making King’s sustainable!

Olivia

Sustainable labs at King’s

Martin_labsThis week we are catching up with Martin, our Sustainable Labs Project Coordinator, to find out how he is getting on with making King’s labs more sustainable.

As part of Martins job he is currently collecting information about various different pieces of equipment throughout the labs at King’s. Within these surveys he is looking at a variety of lab specific equipment including drying cabinets and fume cupboards, with an aim to reduce energy consumption and improve usage.

One current project involves replacing drying cabinets with much more efficient models. Furthermore Martin has been giving out timers to labs so that non-critical equipment such as drying cabinets can be turned off at night and then come on again in the morning, saving plenty of energy during nights. The estimated savings from the timers alone is expected to save around £30,000 over the next 10 years at King’s.

Martin is also looking at fume hoods and their usage to ensure they are being used correctly and are working as efficiently as possible. Many of the fume hoods are VAV (variable air volume) which have the potential to save a lot of energy. However it is vital that these are being used correctly and Martin is surveying to determine the status of our current usage.

Another large part of Martins role focuses on Sustainability Champions in labs. Within this programme, labs teams are asked to complete a workbook, which looks at improve the sustainability of the lab from waste and recycling to chemicals and materials. There are now 9 lab teams across King’s, representing the labs from all campuses. All of the Champions are at least at bronze level and are working hard to improve the sustainability of their labs. Martin is currently in the process of auditing these area and the awards for labs will be in July, hosted by Nick O’Donnell.

If you’d like to get your lab involved or would like more information on sustainable labs please contact Martin. 

Meet Phil, our interim Head of Sustainability

Today we’d like to introduce you to our newest member of the team, Phil, our interim Head of Sustainability. Phil is covering for Kat Thorne whilst she is away on 12 month maternity leave and joined us at the end of March. He has some key objective he will be working hard to achieve within his time here at King’s.

Phil Evans‘I’ve been working in the energy and environmental sector for 20 years, with this being my third stint in Higher Education along with a variety of corporates and consultancies. Over the years I have worked with varies organisations including UEL and Imperial College, London, as well as Green Bridge and EnTech Energy.

My main goal is to ensure Estates & Facilities becomes ISO14001 certified within the short time I’m here, so I’m going to be busy! It’s the obvious next step for us because the ISO14001 environmental management system will allow us to consistently manage our environmental risks and help to demonstrate our commitment to serving a world-class University.

Everyone within the Sustainability Team is playing their part in making this happen, but we won’t be able to do it without your help and support.’

So Phil’s main aim for the year is to help get King’s college ISO14001 Certified. ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management and shows that as a University we are committed to meeting and improving environmental standards. This will help us to achieve:

* An effective management system for activities affecting the environment on sites             * Reducing risk to the environment and improved efficiency at King’s                                   * Compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements in relation to the environment

It is also good housekeeping, keeping us in line with Fit for King’s, which in turn can help lower costs within estates and facilities.

Phil will be working closely with Ann in implementing the Environmental Management System in accordance with this which is currently being developed. This is a huge positive step for the University and we are happy to have Phil joining the team!

If you have any ideas or projects that you think will improve the sustainability at King’s please do email them to us. Also sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our progress and to find out how you can help us!

Now let’s meet Ann – Sustainable Operations expert

We have introduced Tom, energy manager, and Martin, sustainable Lab’s coordinator, both who are working to minimise the impacts of King’s use of natural resources in our energy consumption. The role of the sustainability team is however much broader than just energy – it is our responsibility to embed sustainable culture throughout King’s operations. Enter Ann.

Ann joins the sustainability team as Sustainable Operations Manager. Starting just before Christmas, Ann has begun to sink her teeth in to a variety of projects. So Ann, tell us more about your role:

‘My role as Operations Sustainability Manager is primarily involved with championing and embedding sustainability across the university. This includes working closely with colleagues both in Estates and Facilities and across the wider university; and together with students to help deliver the university’s sustainability objectives while minimising the impact of King’s on the environment. The focus of my role include areas of sustainability such as travel, sustainable procurement, waste & resources, sustainable construction and, development of our Environmental Management system.

In the past my career has included a working for a range of sustainability roles within a variety of industries in the private sector including a renewable energy company, buildings interiors fit out company and as an airport operator.

I’ll be at the next Sustainability Forum on 27th January at the James Black Centre, Denmark Hill so please feel free to pop along and say hello!’

So Ann is implementing an environmental management system; in other words she will be ensuring all sustainability policies and procedures become apart of our culture here at King’s so we can reduce our carbon footprint.Once Ann has had a chance to catch her breath, she will be no doubt providing updates in her progress.

Since Ann has started, she has been leading our latest initiative: Sustainability Champions. The Sustainability Champions programme is a great way to get involved with sustainability at King’s at the grassroots level. We are looking for passionate staff who would like to champion sustainability in their workplace and help King’s have a positive impact on our surrounding environments. Please get in touch if you would like to become a champion: sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

News, stories, and interesting bits.

Upcoming events

Introducing Martin, the lab guy

Last week we learned a bit about Tom Yearley, our new Energy Manager. Tom is just one of a group of new staff to the Sustainability team. Energy is a broad and important strand of sustainability work at any institution. Also important to King’s is its laboratories, which on average consume 3-5 times more energy per square meter than other academic spaces. This is a big reason why Martin Farley has joined the team as the Sustainable Laboratories Project Coordinator. This week we will be looking into what Martin’s role entails, and why those of us working in labs ought to be thinking seriously about sustainability.

blog pic martin

Martin, bringing some serious sustainability into the laboratory.

‘I work with research labs to improve sustainability in short. Research labs consume a lot of energy, way more than most areas, and yet are often overlooked. There are a variety of areas we try and focus on like cold storage, ventilation, management practices, and about anything that produces heat. I try and bridge the gap between the researchers and facilities to find win-wins for everyone.’ In particular, Martin says he’d ‘love to further improve cold storage management here at Kings, though people like Allison Hunter have already been trailblazing in this area. For now I’ve been following in her footsteps. Cold storage is a unique challenge from the purchasing of freezers, to their maintenance and management, and finally their disposal, there is always something else to do. Kings isn’t unique in this respect I should add.

I worked just under two years at the University of Edinburgh doing a similar job, and before that worked in a few research labs and got a MSc in biology. Chatting around with lab people and learning how things and people work was pretty useful.’

Generally speaking, Martin urges everyone to be the change they want to see: ‘I really love working in and the idea of sustainability. Figuring out how as a species we’re going to survive on this planet without making it too painful for ourselves seems to be the big quest of our time, and it’s fun to be involved in a small way.’ Also, he suggests enjoying your local organic apples!

While he was at Edinburgh, Martin initiated an ongoing study into cold storage units, which seeks to discover the impact of various extreme cold temperatures on sample viability. Martin will write more in the future about laboratories to help those unacquainted to understand better what labs can and need to do in order to become more sustainable.

On another note, the Sustainability team is excited to welcome another new member, Ann Maclachlin, who steps into the role of Operations Sustainability Manager. We’ll share more about what she’s up to in coming weeks.

Unfortunately, due to last-minute scheduling conflicts, we have decided to re-schedule our second Sustainability Forum for January. The topic – green spaces and well-being – is one that we feel is very important, especially in a large city like London, and so we are very much looking forward to hosting the event in the new year. Keep checking back here for details, and we apologise for the late notice – we hope it doesn’t cause any inconvenience!

Until next time, keep it sustainable!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

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