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King’s Energy: Home energy saving tips

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

King’s Sustainability understands that not all have the resources to switch to renewable energy. This blog, therefore, outlines some simple and accessible ways to save energy at home. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can both switch to cheaper, fairer and more environmentally-friendly energy and support your community in doing so, check out the Citizens UK Fair Energy Campaign, as well as how student group King’s 4 Change is supporting the campaign at King’s

Ask not what your planet can do for you, ask what you can do for your planet: How to save energy from your home

Okay so let’s ignore the political reference here, the point is that you want to become more energy-efficient, but you don’t want it to cost you, right? Well, good news for you – at the King’s energy team, we’ve put our heads together and come up with five startlingly simple ways you can save energy at home. And guess what, they’re basically free!

  • Don’t have double glazing? Use clingfilm instead

No, you did not read that wrong. While of course, it is not as effective as double glazing, using clingfilm around the edges of your windows can help your house to retain heat and therefore actually save you money on your heating bill.

  • Put tin foil behind your radiators

Yes, we know, it sounds crazy but you’re here to save energy on a budget and this is the ultimate method! Aluminium is a great conductor of heat (ever tried touching your foil when it’s fresh from the oven? Don’t!) and putting it behind your radiators will allow your rooms to retain heat and stay warm for longer. You may feel silly doing it but wait for the rebate on the energy bill and it’ll all be worth it!

  • Don’t leave anything on standby

An obvious one, we know. And one that should be redundant in the UK given we have those lovely switches on our plug sockets. However, we’re all guilty of this from time-to-time. If you see an orange or red light then turn it off, and yes, that includes your phone charger!

  • Be patient

Yes, we are still talking about energy. Be patient with your thermostat. Did you know that blitzing the heating doesn’t actually turn up quicker? Set it to your desired level then relax and wait for it to catch up. Your feet will be toasty in no time.

  • DO NOT BLOCK YOUR AIRBRICKS

Oooh capitals, must be serious eh? Right. Air bricks are vital for ventilation and prevent CO2 build-up. They may not be the most attractive things in the world but if you cover your air brick you may find yourself getting very sleepy, and not in a good way.

So, there you have it! Five things you can do at home to save money and do your bit for the planet. King’s are making great progress with their energy usage, and in the spirit of lockdown, it’s time for us to play our part from home too!

If you’d like more information, or want to get involved, be sure to email us at energy@kcl.ac.uk or head over to the King’s Sustainability Instagram page.

King’s Sustainability Team’s participation in the Mayor of London’s Resilience Fund

This blog comes from Nicola Hogan, Sustainability Manager at King’s.

As part of London’s wider efforts to ensure the city emerges stronger from COVID-19, the Mayor of London’s Office has launched ‘The Resilience Fund’. The fund is calling on innovators to address key challenges facing the city in the hope that not only will London and the UK be able to ‘build back better’ but also be better prepared for future disruptive challenges.

King’s College London’s sustainability team and Better Bankside have partnered in their application to be part of the Mayor for London’s Resilience Fund and created the Smart Mobility Challenge. This challenge asks innovators and ‘solution providers’ to create an intelligent tool that can devise shorter, faster and ultimately greener freight journeys through urban areas.

The Problem

Many of our towns and cities routinely breach air quality standards, exposing many of us to dangerous levels of air pollution. Organisations with multiple sites who operate fleets of vehicles like King’s College London, typically drive thousands of miles a year moving goods from one campus to another on an as-needed basis, and in doing so, emit air polluting CO2 and NOx. Unfortunately, the current ‘fleet usage’ system at King’s is reactive and could be considered wasteful. Once a request for the transport of goods is made, it’s carried out with only an occasional opportunity for consolidation of goods to the same location. Also, as debris from tyre wear and breaking also contribute to air pollution, this is another factor that solution providers need to consider.

The Fund is therefore calling on innovators – tech SMEs, engineers, social enterprises and others – to develop solutions to some of London’s key challenges, many of which centre around sustainability.
Each challenge is sponsored by a Resilience Partner, and include local authorities, public agencies, business improvement districts and charities, who will work with the innovator to test and implement their technologies and ideas.

The Solution

Reducing the number of miles driven and corresponding air pollutants while maintaining economic resilience are the challenge’s key objectives, so in the shorter term, the impact may include ‘re-moding’ (transition to cleaner modes of transport), re-timing of deliveries (reducing journeys made when most people are occupying the public realm) or reducing the number of polluting delivery vehicles (consolidating deliveries).

Longer-term impacts might include, investment into cleaner fleets and/or reduction in fleet size, the movement of goods made more resilient and reliable as data expands. The solution would provide King’s College London and other fleet using organisations with better information on how to make their fleet operations more efficient, thereby helping to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.

 

 

King’s Energy: The Ethics of Carbon Offsetting – An Interview with Dr Joachim Aufderheide

This guest blog comes from Rebecca Lindsay, BA Philosophy and Spanish student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Carbon offsetting is the source of much debate in the energy world, being that it’s extremely difficult to ensure you’re offsetting correctly. This week we’ve teamed up with Dr Joachim Aufderheide from the Philosophy department to discuss all things ethics-related when it comes to offsetting our carbon emissions!

First, some background – what is carbon offsetting?

Joachim Aufderheide (JA): Through our carbon emissions, we contribute to global warming, which in turn causes much harm, especially in developing countries. It is morally wrong to harm others and/or destroy their resources. We cannot, however, simply stop emitting greenhouse gases (to which CO2 counts). So, in order to cancel out the harm we do, we can offset our emissions. I cause a certain amount of CO2 to be emitted during a certain period of time. This CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for a very long time. Now, if I cause the same amount of CO2 to be reduced in that timeframe, I have offset my CO2, and thereby have mitigated the harm I do.

How do we do ‘offsetting’ in a meaningful way, with the most impact, while not undermining the emphasis on carbon reduction?

JA: First off, we need to be clear about what ‘reducing’ means. By, for example, planting trees, we create carbon sinks that bind the CO2 we emit. However, this is not a good strategy because when the trees die, the carbon will re-enter the atmosphere. It takes millions of years to move carbon from the atmosphere back into the so-called passive carbon pool, below ground as oil. So, when we offset, we need to support measures to prevent carbon from being taken from the passive carbon pool and transferred into the active one, i.e., the atmosphere. In plain language, we need to support reducing emissions on the one hand and improving renewable energy on the other.

Second, it must be clear that offsetting is a temporary measure: even if we offset our CO2 emissions, emitting at the same rates is not sustainable. The carbon market will become more and more saturated: the easy and cost-effective projects to reduce carbon emissions will have been completed at some point. Then the spotlight shines back on us who have not changed our emissions but chose instead to pay other people to reduce their emissions. So, to avoid the worst harm that we cause through global warming, we should not only offset our emissions but also reduce our emissions.

Third, I think that many of us are committed to reducing our carbon footprint. But many of us don’t know what our footprint is, and what we should do. I wonder whether making the carbon cost clear, for example, by labelling our purchases, would be helpful.

How can we most powerfully make the case for offsetting when it will involve increased spend at a financially difficult time?

JA: It might help to put things into perspective. Compared to previous generations, we are not in financial difficulties. We have become more and more wealthy so that many are sufficiently wealthy now to make ends meet and live reasonably well. While economic development is important, we must not forget the goal: to enable people to live and to live well. If we exploit our planet too much, these goals will become increasingly more difficult to attain.

What kind of monitoring is (or should be) in place to ensure that there are actual carbon reductions in the offsets that we may purchase, and are some areas of offsetting ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for this?

JA: Offsetting presents some problems. First, it is unclear whether we buy genuine offsets. For instance, if a project is funded through offset funds, it would genuinely offset emissions only if it would not have happened otherwise. But this is not always clear. If a country is sufficiently interested in, let’s say, a wind farm to have it built as an offsetting project, then it seems likely that there would have been other ways to realise this project.

Second, and relatedly, some projects are double-counted, both as offsetting emissions and as part of a country’s effort to reduce emissions.

Third, it is not always easy to measure the impact of the project. Buying cleaner and more efficient stoves for communities in the developing world only offset our emissions if they are actually used. But this is not always the case. So, it would be good if projects were not one-off and, at the very least, we should collect data to determine the efficiency of projects. This would allow us to get a more accurate account of how much different projects tend to offset.

Finally, projects that do not require people to change the way they cook or do other daily things might not only be more effective but also less ‘invasive’: if we don’t change our ways, why should they?

What are the risks for developing nations when agreeing to offset UK carbon emissions?

JA: Some offsetting projects mean well, but don’t do good. For instance (monoculture) tree plantations can have bad effects on wildlife, soil and water. Building a dam often comes with complex political questions about access to water further down the river and this can lead to conflicts. Another host of problems surrounds the rights of indigenous people who might live where the projects are to be located.

Where in the world are offsets most valuable and what kinds of activities are most effective?

JA: The utilitarian argument that we can do better for the world by focusing on developing countries is rather strong. It is expensive for us to cut down our carbon emissions. So, instead of that, we should use the money we save to fund projects in developing countries, thereby offsetting more CO2 than if we had merely focused on reducing our emissions. If indeed we invest the money so saved in addressing climate matters, we are not self-indulgent.

How truly ethical are the offsetting schemes with a UN Gold standard?

JA: I am no expert in this, but the Gold Standard takes many factors into consideration that were ignored in the past, and to some extent still are by other offsetting standards. For example, child labour, the indigenous peoples affected, labour rights, the impacts on water. It seeks to benefit the local population as well as cutting down on carbon emissions. However, like all the other standards, the Gold Standard allows the people running the projects to collect their own data. It would be an improvement if there would be independent monitoring.

What valuation should we be using when choosing between offsetting schemes?

JA: As far as I can see, most projects certified by the Gold Standard seem genuinely beneficial.

What pitfalls should we be looking for?

JA: Perhaps the biggest pitfall is complacency. Even if we’re offsetting our emissions, this does not mean we’re home and dry. We must be aware that it is a temporary measure that bridges the way towards a more environmentally conscious use of our resources. We must commit to reducing our carbon emissions, not only the emissions elsewhere in the world.

Should we (King’s) set up our own scheme?

JA: I’m not sure. I’d think we should offset and reduce our emissions. But we as an educational institution should seek to do more about the education that’s necessary to change the behaviour of emitters: individual people, groups, and organisations. It would be amazing if we could set up a scheme with schools on environmental education.

 

Thanks to Dr Aufderheide for answering our questions!

If you would like more information on how we use energy at King’s, or want to get involved, head over to the King’s Sustainability Instagram page or email the energy team at energy@kcl.ac.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

 

King’s Climate Action Network Exhibition

King’s Climate Action Network (King’s CAN) has been presenting some of their work over the past few weeks, through their exhibition and across King’s Sustainability social media. 

 

What is King’s CAN?  

King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum to support King’s commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2025. It brings together individuals with expertise in particular topics or simply a passion for sustainability from across the King’s community to create a zero-carbon strategy for the university.

Working across eleven key impact areas, from energy consumption to research and education, the seven sub-groups aim to propose solutions, create positive impact and engage the King’s community around climate action. The network is aiming to collate a net-zero carbon strategy by summer 2021 – in the meantime, here’s a little summary of what each sub-group has been working on:

Procurement and Waste 

Procurement and Waste cover everything from our food to IT and lab supplies.  In 2018/2019, emissions from procurement were over 85,000 tonnes of CO2 (compared to 30,552 tonnes from scope 1 and 2 emissions from fuels and electricity – read more about different emission categories here). Almost 90% of these emissions come from our supply chain, meaning that they are indirect emissions, which makes reducing them even more challenging! 

The procurement and waste sub-group have accepted this challenge and are working in collaboration with the Procurement team, King’s Food and other parts of King’s to better understand how we can reduce our emissions and waste.  

Responsible Investment 

King’s has fully divested from all fossil fuels 2 years ahead of schedule! The Responsible Investment sub-group is now working to take this further and use our influence to encourage staff pension funds to invest more responsibly. In addition, they have collaborated with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS)UK to review practice and policy across the sector and create a new version of the King’s Investment Policy. 

Zero Carbon Estate 

On a national level, the built environment contributes to approximately 40% of our total carbon footprint. Although our heritage and listed campus buildings present a particularly significant challenge, King’s is currently working on a Heat Decarbonisation Plan that will map the current energy usage of each estate and put forward ways to reduce or decarbonise buildings to help meet the challenge of net zero by 2025. 

Travel 

Focusing on two key aspects of travel, business travel and daily commuting, the Travel sub-group is working on identifying ways we can shift our travel patterns to reduce travel-related emissions.  

Air travel represents our second biggest scope 3 emissions, after procurement. King’s must encourage virtual meetings when possible and train-travel for close-by destinations, as well as communicate this information to staff and students, and provide guides on how to book the least impactful modes of travel for each required trip.  

Flight destinations in 2018-2019 – the bigger the bubble, the more flights we took there.

 

Research 

This sub-group seeks to highlight the fascinating research on climate and sustainability already taking place at King’s by collating projects into an online ‘Climate Action Hub.’ In addition to this, they want to encourage interdisciplinary research, to ensure students and staff are aware of the ways they can take action, as well as create opportunities for students to conduct their own research on sustainability. 

Students & Education: 

“Education is the core of what we do at King’s. […] We have the opportunity to reach everyone at King’s and give them tools to think about the challenges of climate change, how to tackle it and take it to a much wider audience when they leave King’s” (Oli, sub-group member, Senior Technical Officer and Founder of King’s Community Garden). 

The Students and Education sub-group is dedicated to the issue of climate education. They are taking an active role in guiding the university on the best ways to embed sustainability within the curriculum, across all faculties to educate the community as well as provide opportunities to develop practical skills for climate action. 

Community and Engagement:  

“Climate change policies should not perpetuate existing socio-economic inequalities. In order to prevent this from occurring, we cannot start with top-down government policy” (Abigail, sub-group member, BSc Global Health and Social Medicine student and Co-Founder of King’s 4 Change) 

Acting on the climate crisis requires coming together as a collective and creating space for conversations that include diverse ideas and experiences. The Community and Engagement sub-group is seeking to centre these ideas throughout all of King’s climate actionIndeed, as a higher education institution, King’s must provide a meeting place for communities, as well as listen to the needs and challenges of our local communities, share our findings, experience and expertise, and support community initiatives. 

 

King’s CAN is open to everyone from the King’s Community – students, staff and alumni. If you’d like to get involved in tackling these important issues, King’s CAN would love to hear from you! 

 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #4

This blog is the fourth in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.

SWEET & SUSTAINABLE: FAIRTRADE VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BAKING CLASS WITH KING’S FOOD 

Ending the month on a sweet and sustainable note, we learned how to make King’s Food’s delicious Fairtrade vegan and gluten-free brownies.  

This event, along with the Fairtrade Fortnight Launch event we hosted on 22 February,  marked the Fairtrade Fortnight festival which ran from 22 Feb to 7 March 

What is Fairtrade Fortnight? 

Fairtrade is about better prices and working conditions for producers, as well as improving local sustainability. By working with farmers, businesses and consumers, Fairtrade sets social, economic and environmental standards for food production. 

In addition to bringing awareness to the Fairtrade accreditation and its impact on producers, this year’s festival focused on ‘Climate, Fairtrade and You,’ delving into the complex links between farmers, global food productionwhat we put in our plates and the climate crisis. If you’d like to learn more about these issues, catch up on the wonderful events from this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.  

What is King’s doing to support Fairtrade?  

All teacoffee and chocolate at King’s and KCLSU is certified as Fairtrade. King’s Food has also worked to remove unsustainable brand such as Coca Colato more ethical and Fairtrade brands, such as Karma Cola. KCLSU even stocks some Fairtrade certified alcohol in the SU bars! King’s Sustainability Team, King’s Food and KCLSU run a quarterly Sustainable Food & Fairtrade Steering Group. This is open to any student or staff member at King’s to suggest sustainable ideas/projects and this is also where progress, such as King’s’ Fairtrade accreditation is reported on.  

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #3

This blog is the third in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021. 

 

LONDON STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE 

King’s had the wonderful opportunity to co-host this year’s London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) with City University. Over 30 students presented their sustainable research through presentations, posters and performances. 

The diverse range of presentations covered the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we left the conference feeling inspired by the many students choosing to engage with the complexity of sustainability through their studies.  

Here are some highlights:  

‘Dust Fertilization in Terrestrial Ecosystems: The Sahara to Amazon Basin’ 

Globally, wind-driven dust plays a major role in biogeochemical cycles. Robyn’s presentation discussed the crucial role of Saharan dust in the Amazon Rainforest – it acts as a fertilizer and provides important nutrients that contribute to the ecosystem’s overall productivity. But how will these processes be impacted by changing weather patterns and climate change? (Robyn Lees, BSc Geography).

How to Promote Sustainable and Healthy Food Consumption in University Students? 

Recognizing that our dietary choices sit at the nexus of human, planetary and economic health, this student-led vegetable bag scheme explored how we can promote sustainable and healthy food consumption in university students (Fetch Ur VegLiza Konash, BSc Nutrition and Mia Lewis, BA International Relations).

Climate and Cake: What can you do?  

Climate and Cake is an education program for sustainable living. Its goal is to create a space for and support open discussions on sustainability and offer realistic ways individuals notably, students can act on climate change (Ana Oancea, BA International Development).

If this is something you’d like to get involved in next year, keep an eye out for news on LSSC 2022!  

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #2

This blog is the second in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.

#TAKEACTION HACKATHON 

King’s Sustainability hosted our first-ever Sustainability Hackathon! 

Hackathons provide an opportunity for a group to work together to discuss and develop real solutions to a problem.  

We presented 4 sustainability challenges we want to tackle at King’s and attendees contributed thoughtful and insightful ways forward: 

  • How can we further support diversity within the field of sustainability (from the education of school pupils, college and university life and into careers)? 
    • Elevate and highlight sustainability role models from a diverse range of backgrounds. 
    • Recognize and discuss the interconnected roots of the climate crisis and racial and social oppression. 
    • Move beyond the over-individualistic approach to sustainability that is largely inaccessible for many, by meeting people where they are and widening the range of ways people can get involved. 
    • Seek to better understand and remove the barriers facing different people from getting involved in sustainability.  
  • What should an online open-access sustainability-focused Keats module at King’s look like? 
    • Make this module part of King’s Experience Awards or offer credit so that the module adds value to students’ educational experience. 
    • Create an interactive module with optional levels of engagement. 
    • Ensure the module includes relevant topics for students across faculties – why should students be interested? 
  • How can King’s Sustainability improve its communications to engage more students? 
    • Better communicate what King’s is already doing and achieving. 
    • Connect to students by relating sustainability to their area of study and creating easy-to-digest and engaging content. 
    • Invite students and staff to share their sustainability stories. 
    • Run campaigns, competitions and giveaways to incentivize more students to engage with sustainability. 
  • How can King’s encourage students to have more conversations about sustainability?
    • Create an environmental series of Campus Conversations, a podcast or a seminar series, open to all and covering a range of topics within sustainability. 
    • Host community get-togethers for discussion and debate around specific topics – “Sustainability Socials. 
    • Collaborate with societies and other parts of King’s to embed sustainability in campaigns and initiatives. 

Do you have any thoughts, ideas or solutions about how to tackle these challenges? Let us know! 

 

CLIMATE ACTION PANEL 

On the 26th of February, we hosted the King’s Climate Education Panel. Climate Education has been a popular topic at King’s for a while – the KCL Climate Action Society has been running an education campaign, the King’s 100 discussed it last year, and the Climate Action Network has dedicated the Students & Education sub-group to the issue.   

This panel was a chance to hear from the experts. Our panel was made up of Professor Adam Fagan, Professor of European Politics and Vice-Dean (Education) in SSPP, Dr Kate Greer, Research Associate in the School of Education, Communication and Society, Sigrið Leivsdottir, President of KCL Climate Action Society and Taimi Vilkko, Vice-President and Treasurer of the KCL Climate Action Society.   

We covered a range of interesting issues during the session: the need to go beyond teaching just knowledge about climate change and instead also teach how to take action and live with climate change, supporting staff if they are asked to embed climate into their programmes, and that we may not need everyone to be on board just yet as long as we have a group of dedicated leaders and followers. There were also a few ideas on actions King’s can take right now, such as reaffirming our commitments to climate change, and even influencing higher education policy on climate teaching as we move towards hosting COP26 in the UK later this year.   

The Students & Education group of the King’s Climate Action Network is excited to potentially take some of these suggestions forward and propose them for the King’s Climate Action Strategy.

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #1

This blog is the first in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021. 

This year, our annual Sustainability Week became Sustainability Month. This month presented an opportunity to come together as a community, to collaborate and to build a more progressive and positive future at King’s and beyond. 

Focusing on how to ‘#MakeADifference’ and ‘#TakeAction, a range of events were organised by the King’s Sustainability Team in collaboration with students, societies, charities and staff Sustainability Champions.  

Although the format of the events was a little different due to being hosted online, we had the pleasure of welcoming a total of 898 people – new and returning – to take part in the exciting range of eventsWe hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! 

Here’s a summary of some of the events we had throughout the month, along with ways you can #MakeADifference and #TakeAction 

 

SUSTAINABILITY AT KING’S 101 

How is King’s tackling climate change and embedding sustainability throughout its operations? 

King’s is working on a range of sustainability goals – from enhancing biodiversity and reducing our carbon footprint to supporting sustainable transport and embedding sustainability in teaching and research.  

Key achievements include:  

  • Reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 54% compared to our 2005/06 baseline, exceeding our previous target to reduce emissions by 43% by 2020.  
  • Improved waste recycling rates to 70%. 
  • 70 Sustainability Champions teams submitted work to make their department more sustainable (from Social Mobility Student Success, Cardiology Labs, Geography, Dickson Poon School of Law, to the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine). 
  • Established the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) – an open, interdisciplinary forum for students, staff and alumni with 7 sub-groups working towards a strategy to achieve our netzero carbon target by 2025.  
  • King’s was awarded 9th in the world for Social Impact in the THE Rankings.  
  • King’s has now fully divested from fossil fuels ahead of target (target was set at 2022). 
  • All electricity from King’s is renewable (from wind power).

Scope 1 and 2 Carbon Emissions at King’s

Take a look at the 2018-2019 Environmental Sustainability Report to find out more about our achievements and goals. 

There are lots of ways for you to get involved, from joining King’s CAN or your department’s Sustainability Champions team, to writing a piece for our blog or volunteering as a Sustainability Auditor (we’ll share more information about this opportunity in April).  

 

GIKI ZERO: CUT A TONNE IN ‘21 

Have you ever wondered what your impact on the earth is and how you can cut your carbon footprint? 

At this event, we had the pleasure of welcoming Jo Hand, creator of Giki Apps. Giki – which stands for “Get Informed, Know your Impact” – have developed two wonderful tools to help individuals, like you and me, to reduce their carbon footprint.  

Firstly, Giki Zero allows you to calculate your carbon footprint by measuring your everyday actions and consumption. You are then presented with accessible and doable action items – from talking about climate change with your friends and contacting your local MP to buying secondhand clothing and eating seasonal fruit and veggies – so you can cut a tonne in ’21! 

The second tool is an app, Giki, that allows consumers to assess the environmental impact of a product simply by scanning its barcode. Products are assessed against 13 indicators and awarded badges based on how well they perform, helping you to navigate the overwhelming and confusing world of sustainable consumption. 

We invite you to calculate your carbon footprint and commit to 2 or 3 actions over the next month! 

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month – February 2021

King’s Sustainability Month (February 2021)

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King’s Energy: What is energy?

This guest blog comes from Rebecca Lindsay, BA Philosophy and Spanish student and Sustainability Champion Assistants (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

The world of energy often feels like a world of jargon. Emissions, baselines, decarbonisation – what does it all actually mean?

In the most basic terms, energy is “the ability to do work.” So when we talk about energy, we’re talking about electricity, gas, diesel and other types of power. King’s energy is also responsible for managing King’s water usage.

When reducing your carbon emissions, it’s important to consider energy efficiency. Essentially, the more efficient an appliance is, the less energy it uses to do the same amount of work. Energy = Power x Time. Some quick GCSE physics revision for you there!

But higher energy usage doesn’t always mean less efficient. It’s also important to change where we get our energy from – to decarbonise. Decarbonisation, simply put, aims to reduce our economy’s reliance on carbon and fossil fuels. Solar, wind and hydropower are all examples of renewable alternatives.

There are lots of benefits to switching to renewable energy sources – not just for your bank account! Here are just a few:

  • It creates more jobs.
  • It diversifies energy sources, meaning less importing and a stronger economy.
  • It’s cheaper! Carbon is a finite resource and increasingly expensive, whereas renewable energy is more widely available.
  • Most importantly, it reduces our impact on the planet and helps slow global warming.

Long story short: save money, save the planet.

How to we use energy at King’s?

As a research-heavy university, we use a lot of energy. So it’s up to us to be responsible with where we get it from.

Our shift to renewables is well under way. Since October 2017, all electricity directly purchased by King’s has come from 100% UK wind energy.

Both Great Dover Street Apartments and Champion Hill, two of King’s residences, have solar panels. Not only saving money, but also reducing our impact on the planet.

In Autumn 2019, King’s was one of 20 universities to sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with onshore wind farms in Scotland and Wales, the first deal of its kind in the country!

Universities also make lots of investments, often in fossil fuels. King’s, however, has committed to divest from all fossil fuels by the end of 2022, and to invest 40% of its funds in investments with socially responsible benefits by 2025.

We’re also developing a Climate Action Strategy alongside the King’s Climate Action Network to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.

As you can see, there’s lots to be done. With target deadlines fast approaching, the emphasis on clean energy has never been greater. It’s a great time to get involved! For information on how to support us, email us over at energy@kcl.ac.uk.

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