Category: Sustainability (Page 1 of 33)

Student Review of Enrolling on and Co-Creating King’s Sustainability and Climate Change #TakeAction Module

This guest blog post was written by student and KEATS TakeAction team member Oliver Yu Hurst.


Who am I?

Hello! My name is Oliver Yu Hurst and I’m studying a part-time MSc in Climate Change: Environment, Science & Policy in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. I graduated from Queen Mary University of London in 2021 with a BSc in Geography with Business Management. I aspire to gain a career along the interface between academia and social-environmental justice working within public, social enterprise and/or non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors.

First impressions of the pilot module?

I was pleasantly surprised to come across topics not covered in my education journey so far, which is always very refreshing! This included perception framing, digital sustainability and the various ways King’s is decarbonizing and embedding sustainability throughout its activities (with, as always, more to be done/continue doing). Seminars with professionals about, for example, the neuroscience of eco-anxiety or how to ‘bring climate change home’ by highlighting its interconnections with everyday life, are some of several events that made the module engaging.

Joining the Take Action Team

The opportunity to join the Take Action team and add/improve content, was the absolute highlight. I contributed at least 12,000 words, leading on What is Sustainability, Climate Crisis and Social Sustainability sections, whilst coming across resources to help brainstorm ideas for my MSc dissertation.

I was adamant that ‘critical lenses’ of sustainability and climate change were integrated throughout as they are often discussed/practiced through a narrow (Western, Global North) perspective. Dreaming, implementing and governing just pathways out of the climate crisis require transcending dominant narratives of development and learning/unlearning downplayed or silenced voices.

Skills & Experience Gained?

Ensuring content is understandable and accessible for all has developed my skills in science communication, adaptability, and critical thinking. I also helped organize events and create/edit audio of podcast episodes. This was a fantastic experience to interview staff from an NGO I volunteer for, the Environmental Investigation Agency. I look forward to developing public speaking skills during a Q&A event with the Collective for Climate Action (another organization I volunteer with), in February 2023 – look-out!

Greatest Challenge?

Given my passion for the topics and their infinite scope, it was difficult to avoid information-overload. Several times when I had to reflect on the bigger picture and remember key learning objectives of the module, which helped condense content. The Take Action Team’s auditing and peer-review sessions were also very useful.

Final thoughts and why you should join the module and/or Take Action team!

Joining this module will broaden your conception of sustainability and climate change and importance of understanding alternative perspectives, if we hope to transition to more just and inclusive futures for all of (non)human Nature.

The Take Action team welcomes any students, staff or alumni, to add/improve content or help with communications. You will not only gain behind-the-scenes into Keats, but also feel closer to the university by engaging with various academic and professional services staff. Finally, for anyone interested in a career in education, sustainability, climate science/action, this is an invaluable opportunity for you.


Sign up to the Sustainability & Climate Module now, launching on the 11th of October.

Welcome to King’s Sustainability: events

Are you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? This Welcome Fortnight, the Sustainability team have prepared an exciting range of events for you to learn more about climate and sustainability. Check them out below. You can also find us at various hubs and fairs – come have a chat!

Introduction to Sustainability

12/09/2022, 14:00-14:45 Online Are you passionate about sustainability and want to make a difference? Join the King’s Sustainability Team to learn more about what King’s is doing around sustainability, and how you can get involved.
Climate Action at King’s 13/09/2022, 15:00-16:00 Online What action is King’s taking on the climate crisis? How can you take individual and collective climate action while at King’s?

Join this session to find out more about King’s recently approved Climate & Sustainability Action Plan and opportunities to get involved in climate action at King’s.

Volunteering for Sustainability 14/09/2022, 14:00-15:00 Online

Passionate about sustainability and climate change? Want to do more to help local communities?

Join King’s Volunteering and King’s Sustainability to find out how you can take action for sustainability and volunteer to help meet the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

Projects include: Climate Action Network, Sustainability Champions programme, KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and education for sustainability mapping project.

You will also learn more about the King’s Volunteering platform, discover sustainability-related opportunities with our partner charities and organisations and find out how to log hours/get recognition for the volunteering work you do.

Explore sustainability at King’s and discover volunteering opportunities that are directly tied to the SDGs to kickstart your sustainability journey!

This event is for all students at King’s.

Take action on sustainability at home 15/09/2022, 15:00-16:00 Online Do you care about sustainability but not sure where to start? Join this session to hear some useful tips from the King’s Sustainability Team on how to be more sustainable (and possibly even save some money!) in the home environment.
Sustainability & Volunteering Creative Hackathon 20/09/2022, 14:00-16:00 Strand MB4.2 Join us in exploring ways to change the world during your time at King’s! We’ll be tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Sustainability and Volunteering projects at King’s and in our local communities.

Let’s get creative – in this hackathon, we’ll provide a range of creative prompts and art supplies to help you create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. You’ll get to know other students, think about social and environmental impact, and work together to imagine the answers and shape the future direction of the Sustainability, Volunteering and Culture teams.

We’ll provide snacks, refreshments & art supplies!
This event is for all students at King’s.

Tour a sustainable lab at King’s 21/09/2022, 13:30-15:30 Guy’s campus – Guys Memorial Garden Join this session to learn more about sustainable labs at King’s!

Labs are extremely energy and resource intensive, so you’ll hear about what labs at King’s are doing on their sustainability journey. You’ll explore why lab sustainability is important, while also experiencing a guided tour of two labs to see what they’re doing.

There will be lots of space for questions with lab sustainability champions, and you’ll hear more about what you can do to get involved!

Sustainability games night 22/09/2022, 16:00-18:00 Strand MB2.2 Are you interested in learning more about sustainability? Or want to prove your sustainable knowledge? Join our quiz night that’ll be full of games, quizzes and competition! It’ll be a great session to meet like-minded students and the King’s Sustainability Team while learning more about sustainability in a fun way.
Vegan and sustainable food at King’s 23/09/2022, 15:00-17:00 Somerset Room, Strand Join this event with King’s Food and King’s Sustainability teams to find out more about vegan and sustainable food initiatives – and leave with a bag full of yummy vegan snacks!

Have a look at how you can get involved with King’s Sustainability. Make a difference during your time at King’s!

How to register

  1. You’ll need to download the Life at King’s app from the App store (you can download onto iOS and Android.)
  2. ​​​​​​You’ll need to download the Welcome to King’s Guide for all information for new students. To access this guide, you’ll need to enter our passphrase reggielion22 (no spaces)
    • The Welcome to King’s Guide will be the first stage of welcoming you into university, offering a range of information from ID card collection to new opportunities at King’s.
  3. ​​​​​When you’ve downloaded the Life at King’s app, you will need to create an account; we advise that you use your King’s email address to create an account. ​​​​​​
  4. Once you’ve set up your account, allow ‘push notifications’ on your device, so you can receive important messages.
  5. Go to Welcome Events & Workshops and scroll down to “Sustainability”
  6. Check out our events across the two weeks and register by clicking “+”

Get ready for another year of sustainability action at King’s 

Group picture at the London Student Sustainability Conference with participants holding up SDG signsAre you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? The Sustainability team have a range of volunteering opportunities, events, and other ways to learn more about climate and sustainability.

Enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, volunteer in the Climate Action Network or Sustainability Champions programme, join a committee to make your residence more sustainable, or attend one of the many events throughout the year. Find out more and pick your project below! 

KEATS Sustainability Module, Seminar Series, and Take Action Team
The online module on Sustainability & Climate is an open-access and interdisciplinary module covering the biggest topics in sustainability from climate change and food to sustainable finance and social justice. It has been fully co-created by a Take Action Team which currently includes about 50 students, staff, and alumni members. It has been complemented by a Sustainability Seminar Series and other events to build a sense of community and support participants in developing transferable skills. The module and seminar series are relaunching in October 2022. Register here. 

King’s Climate Action Network
The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) is an open, interdisciplinary forum bringing together people from the King’s community who are passionate about climate action. It was created in October 2020 to co-create the university’s approach to climate action and now has more than 300 members. It focuses on solutions to reduce our carbon emissions while maximising our positive impact on climate action, through 7 themes: Zero Carbon Estate, Procurement and Waste, Travel, Responsible Investment, Students & Education, Community & Engagement, and Zero Carbon Research. Join the King’s CAN 

One of the current CAN projects is the climate listening campaign in our local communities which aims to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges they face and to identify how King’s students and staff can work with them. Get involved. 

Sustainability Champions
The university’s Sustainability Champions are staff who work on campus and in our residences to make King’s a more sustainable working environment; reducing the negative and maximising the positive social and environmental impacts. Throughout the year, Sustainability Champions work on implementing projects and actions and working toward gaining a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Find out more. 

Sustainability Month
King’s Sustainability Month takes place every year in February. This month is a collaboration between King’s and KCLSU that offers all those involved an opportunity to learn more about sustainability topics, collaborate and connect with others from across King’s and #TakeAction on the climate crisis. The month includes exciting events organised by people from across the King’s community focused on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Check out Sustainability Month 2022 

King’s Community Garden
Did you know King’s has a Community Garden on campus? Email kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk if you would like to contribute to this garden or get more information. Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Podcast
The King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast aims to draw attention to sustainability at King’s and beyond. The goal is to get you thinking about some of the issues and challenges we face regarding climate change and the natural world by highlighting some of the excellent work surrounding sustainability happening at King’sand on a local, national and global level. Start listening here. 

Sustainable Residences
Students living in King’s Residences can participate in the Sustainable Living Community buddy scheme and join the Sustainable Living Communities Facebook group. 

 

If you want to set up your own sustainability project with friends, a society, or individually, you can also get in touch with the team for support. Any ideas, feedback, things to promote, are always welcome: sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 

All of those who make a significant contribution to sustainability at King’s will be recognised through the Sustainability Awards and/or the King’s Experience Champion for Change Awards.

Expand your positive impact to local communities by signing up to volunteer with King’s Volunteering.  

Make a difference during your time at King’s! Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Take part in the climate listening campaign in the community

Passionate about taking climate action, challenging injustice and building stronger communities? Then this might be an exciting opportunity for you!  

Over the next few months, the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) will be running a listening campaign in King’s local boroughs. The CAN is now recruiting leads and 121 volunteers to support the roll-out of the listening campaign. 

The leads will form the passionate core team shaping this campaign. As a lead, you will receive full-day community organising training by Citizens UK to empower you to coordinate the project and lead a group of volunteers to conduct 121 conversations.  

As a 121 volunteer, you will conduct the listening to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges our local communities face and identify how King’s can support them in taking action. 

You will be working together with like-minded people to make real change while developing key skills including leadership, listening, organisation, and teamwork. 

Apply here: https://forms.office.com/r/wcAiRsyBVQ 

Sustainability Awards 2022 

This blog post was written by Lavinia Allen, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant. You can read the news story on King’s central pages here. 


On Monday 18th July 2022, students and staff came together at the King’s Sustainability Awards to celebrate the efforts and achievements of everyone who has worked tirelessly this year to make King’s a more sustainable place.  

The ceremony took place in the Great Hall on Strand Campus. This was the first in-person awards ceremony since 2019, making it extra special. During the core of the ceremony, we celebrated the hard work of the 500+ staff Sustainability Champions who completed 2,800 actions on sustainability this year. 

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

61 Sustainability Champions teams were awarded: 

  • 1 Working Towards Sustainability Dozen 
  • 13 Sustainability Dozen 
  • 7 Bronze 
  • 1 Working Towards Silver 
  • 5 Silver 
  • 34 Gold 

Office and Residence Teams: 

Sustainability Dozen  Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Clinical Pharmacology  James Black Centre Offices  Arts & Humanities Cluster Offices (Working Towards)  Entrepreneurship Institute 
Deans Office  Research Management and Innovation Directorate  Vascular Biology & Inflammation  Estates and Facilities, Lavington Street 
Denmark Hill Estates and Facilities      Geography 
Global Mobility Office (Working Towards)  Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience 
Guys & Waterloo Chaplaincies  King’s Sport 
International Development  School of Global Affairs 
King’s Online/KPED  Service Centre 
Libraries & Collections, Franklin-Wilkins Library  Social Mobility & Widening Participation 
Libraries & Collections, IoPPN Library  Strand Estates and Facilities 
Libraries & Collections, Maughan Library  The Dickson Poon School of Law 
Libraries & Collections, New Hunts’ House Library  Wolfson House Residence 
Libraries & Collections, St Thomas’ House Library   
Libraries & Collections, Weston Education Centre Library 

 

Lab Teams: 

Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Biological Services  Centre for Developmental Neurobiology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – DNA analysis 
Centre for Inflammation Biology and Cancer Immunology  Engineering  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Drug Control Centre 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (Hodgkin)  Institute of Hepatology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Genetic and Environmental Toxicology 
Human & Applied Physiological Sciences    Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – King’s Forensics 
Physics Research Labs (Nanophotonics Suite)  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Lab 4.134 
Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics  Basic and Clinical Neuroscience 
  Cardiovascular Research 
Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine 
Chemistry Research 
Chemistry Teaching 
Diabetes Research Group 
Dissecting Room 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (St Thomas’) 
Geography 
Guy’s Multi Disciplinary Labs 
Innovation Hub, Guy’s Cancer Centre 
James Black Centre: Cardiovascular Sciences 
Nutrition Sciences 
School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences 
SGDP Centre, Molecular Genetics Lab 
Twin Research (The Rayne Institute) 
Vascular Biology & Inflammation 
Wolfson Centre for Age-related Diseases 
Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

We also had a Special Awards category where we recognised and celebrated the hard work of individuals and groups who took part in sustainability initiatives, projects, and programmes this year. 

Members of staff in this category included: 

  • Dola Akanmu 
  • Glyn Jones 
  • Kautuk Chaddha 
  • IoPPN offices 

Other wider groups: 

  • 84 students who completed the KEATS Sustainability & Climate Module (between March-June) 
  • 6 students who took part in the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping project 
  • 6 students and staff from the King’s Climate Action Network  
  • 5 students and alumni who co-hosted and co-produced the Spotlight on Sustainability Podcast 
  • School of Global Affairs communications team 
  • Damely Akizhanova for their work on the Sustainability Residence Committees
  • The King’s Procurement Team  
A variety of celebratory cakes

A variety of celebratory cakes.

THANK YOU! 

A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to our successes at King’s this year. The combined efforts of everyone involved have a significant impact and aid in achieving our university sustainability goals. 

Achievements this year include: 

  • King’s has reduced its carbon emissions by more than half (51%) since 2005/06 baseline 
  • King’s has divested from all fossil fuels – one year ahead of schedule 
  • King’s ranked in top 5 UK universities for environmental & social impact in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, as well as second in the UK in the People & Planet League table this year. 
  • 500+ people taking part in the Sustainability Champions programme and 350+ members of the Climate Action Network (CAN)  
  • Between September 2021 and July 2022, over 1,400 attendees came together across 87 events and training opportunities ran by the King’s Sustainability Team 
  • The development of the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, which had over 600 students and staff enrol and over 180 complete the full module and receive sustainability awards  
  • Over 1000 modules mapped against the Sustainable Development Goals, carried out with the help of over 60 trained students and staff 
  • All King’s suppliers must now sign up to the Sustainability Supply Chain Code of Conduct. This is a huge step to reducing our carbon emissions, as our supply chain is the biggest source of carbon (scope 3)  
  • King’s Food & Venues choice menus are now 70% vegetation and vegan 
  • King’s has recently been awarded the highest rating of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) rating, as well as being re-accredited as a Fairtrade university.  

Join us! There are lots of projects and ways to get involved in sustainability at King’s: 

  • If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion, please register via this form and contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 
  • If you would like to join the Climate Action Network, register here.  
  • If you would like to enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module (to be re-launched in October ‘22), register here. If you would like to join the Take Action team of students and staff developing this module – please email sustainability@kcl.ac.uk 
  • If you are a student living in a hall of residence and would like to get involved in shaping the Sustainability Living Communities programme, get in touch. 
King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

King’s is a finalist in the Green Gown Awards

This blog post was written by Rosa Roe Garcia, King’s Sustainability’s Digital Communications Assistant.


We are thrilled to announce that King’s has three finalists for the 2022 Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland. These awards are intended to recognise the outstanding sustainability initiatives at different universities and colleges. We are so proud of these three finalists who have worked so hard to integrate sustainability into King’s.

The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) has been chosen as a finalist in the 2030 Climate Action Category. This category focuses on the steps that institutions are taking or plan to take in order to meet their sustainability targets. The King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum for co-creating and implementing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.

With many sub-groups tackling a wide range of climate issues, this network always puts students and staff at the center of our approach to climate action. More than 350 students and staff have joined the King’s CAN since its beginnings in October 2020. The judges described it as innovative engagement centered on staff and students.

We have two finalists in the category of sustainability champions: a student and a staff member. This category recognises individuals who have worked incredibly hard to implement a sustainability project that has had a positive impact on their colleagues, their institution, or the local community.

Clarisse Mace is a finalist for the student sustainability champion category. She began volunteering with the King’s Sustainability Team to assist in the development of our new course, Sustainability & Climate: Learn, Discover, #TakeAction. She has covered various aspects of the climate crisis and sustainability with a diverse and growing group of students and staff. She has said “I am passionate about this project as I think that learning about climate change is the first step to taking action.”

Fatima Wang is a finalist for the staff sustainability champion. She has established nine green impact initiatives for MSc students studying sustainability in collaboration with Lambeth’s Air Quality Team and Business Improvement Districts. She also launched a new project on low traffic neighbourhoods in Lambeth to motivate residents to adopt greener modes of transport. She said “Through research, education and community engagement, universities have huge potential to have a positive impact on local communities and to forge unique collaborations.”.

Congratulations to the two individual finalists and all the members of the Climate Action Network. We are so happy all your hard work is being recognised and we look forward to the awards ceremony.

A welcome from Rosa Roe Garcia, King’s Digital Sustainability Communications Assistant

Image of Rosa standing on a bridgeHello everyone! My name is Rosa, and I work as a digital communications assistant for the Sustainability Team. My main focus is on the social media platforms, where I assist with the production of our Podcasts series, TikTok-style videos, and the development of digital educational content. I want to assist and encourage students and staff to engage with sustainability, whether through their degrees, daily lives, or future jobs.

In 2021, I graduated from a Philosophy BA at King’s. Philosophy led me to reconsider and evaluate our relationships with nature, animals, and other people. I was able to see climate change through an ethical lens, and I became aware of many of the challenges that people face when taking climate action.

Joining the Sustainability Team and environmental activist groups made me value community and university climate action. I learned about the importance of people coming together to create positive changes within our society. I am thrilled to be a part of King’s journey towards a more sustainable future.

King’s Food Awarded 3 Stars by Food Made Good Report

Good news alert!

Graphic showing a background image of a King's food outlet and the Food Made Good logo with 3 stars.The Sustainability Restaurant Association (SRA), through the Food Made Good report, celebrate all the ways that the business is succeeding on the road to sustainability, while helping to lay out a path toward continual improvement. This year, King’s received three stars with an overall score of 80%.

The SRA’s Food Made Good rating sets out a 10 key area framework for continual improvement on sourcing, society and the environment. In 2018, King’s received one star from the SRA, with an overall score of 59%. In 2019, we achieved our second star, with an overall rating of 68%. There was no rating carried out in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry. We are thrilled that King’s increased its score by 12% this year compared to the 2019 report, achieving an overall score of 80% and gaining a third star. This represents a 12% increase since our last report.

As the image below shows, King’s received a 75% score for sourcing, 86% for society, and 81% for environment. Since the last report in 2019, we improved our performance across all 10 key areas, but the largest increase was in feeding people well (33% increase), wasting no food (22% increase), and supporting global farmers (21% increase).

Graphic showing the scores King's received for sourcing (75%), society (86%), and environment (81%)Source: 2022 SRA Report

We would like to congratulate the King’s Food team for this great achievement and are excited to see more developments to come.


Further links:

Sustainable education at King’s Academy Festival

This blog post was written by Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant.


Image of the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping posterThe King’s Academy Learning & Teaching Festival is an annual event which celebrates education and learning across King’s. I presented the education for sustainable development (ESD) work that the Sustainability team have been working on over this last year. This included our KEATS Sustainability & Climate module as well as our Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Curriculum mapping. These were both 2 workshops which linked to the key themes of the festival which were sustainable education as well as co-creation with students.  

Both workshops were taken very well. Many were impressed with our student co-creation model for the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and how well we have done since its inception earlier this year (122 completed the module!). From the seminars organised alongside the module to the quizzes and interactive elements of the module; it showed everyone how broad and intersectional sustainability truly is.  

Staff feedback from the SDG Mapping session also showed that ESD is something that they are wanting to actively incorporate into teaching and learning within modules and the faculty. As a team we are actively looking for opportunities to help staff and students embed sustainability into their module; it’s not something that sits separately but needs to be weaved into everything. Everything can be tied to sustainability whether it is social justice, the climate crisis or looking at circular economies.  

This was followed by an in-person day with poster presentations and further workshops. I presented the key findings of the SDG Mapping which included how colleagues could look at working in ESD to their own teaching as well as wider commitments from the college. It was great seeing everyone and  being able to network with colleagues who wanted to work together to further sustainability and inclusivity.  

All this work furthers on from a previous ESD report that we did in 2014 and we have seen and made progress since then. Many students themselves have led societies with specific sustainable education areas and colleagues have been including sustainability within their curricula from English to Dentistry. We are hoping we can connect and work with more students and staff to help them embed and develop sustainability within learning.  

Smart freezer management goes a long way

This guest blog comes courtesy of Martin Farley, King’s Sustainable Research Manager.


Ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers are an essential resource in medical science, as they allow biological samples and vaccines to be preserved safely at very low temperatures. Many lifesaving vaccines, including the Pfizer (COVID-19) vaccine, require ULT freezers for storage and they are vital to research laboratories, including ours here at King’s, where we have over 550!

Like any cooling, freezers are extremely energy intensive, particularly ULT freezers. Depending on their age and model, these freezers can use the same amount of energy as the average UK home and require further energy to cool the spaces they occupy. Beyond the impact of energy consumption, cold storage devices utilise refrigerant gases, which are HFCs. While these gases are far less harmful on the environment than their predecessors (CFCs), they can still wreak havoc if released into the environment. In the UK, there are regulations in place to avoid their release, but old equipment can still lead to leakages.

So, what can we do to manage our ULT freezers sustainably?  

  1. Procure energy efficient freezers – To start, we can aim to purchase more efficient units. At King’s, we promote sustainable procurement both through our tender process and sustainable lab programme (LEAF).
  2. Manage samples efficiently – Storing our samples efficiently means we can maximise our freezer space. King’s Department of Women & Children’s Health have recently transformed their sample management system by adopting microtubes that take up less than half the space of previously used containers. This has had the dual effect of increasing the internal capacity of each freezer and reducing the volume of plastic required. Shared around the college, this practice is now being adopted by others, including groups within the School of Basic & Biomedical Sciences.
  3. Store only what we need – By removing samples that are no longer needed we can consolidate our holdings. To support this, King’s Freezer Replacement Scheme offers to pay for new, ultra-efficient, fully-racked ULT freezer if researchers can consolidate the contents of freezers in their area, so that two older freezers can be taken away in exchange for one new energy efficient one. This scheme aims to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the adoption of efficient management systems.
  4. Good housekeeping – Smart freezer management goes a long way! Our Good Practice Guide provides some great tips and tricks on maintenance such as defrosting and clearing filters.
  5. Reduce the temperature – Check what temperature the freezers are set at. While many operate at -80°C, historically they all were set to -70° That 10°C difference leads to an impressive 25-30% in energy saving, and has been implemented in some of King’s sites like the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases.

As our research and laboratory practices grow, we must ensure that consideration is given to the impacts on the environment and integrating sustainable practices such as those listed above is crucial to delivering impactful research, while minimising our environmental impact. Whether you are directly involved in freezer management, or have a supporting role, we can all play a part in sharing this knowledge and raising awareness amongst our peers, which in turn can go a long way in creating a wider mindfulness about their environmental impact and how we can support a more sustainable infrastructure at King’s.

« Older posts