The Environment Team is a small 4 person team working towards making the University more sustainable in all its activities and operations. The team is based in the Estate Department located next to the Sailing Club building on East Sands. We enjoy a great view of the beach from the main office window, making work on those rare sunny days that much harder!
What do we do?
The team collaborates on a diverse range of projects and initiatives. Barbara Aitken, our Environment Officer, focuses on promoting effective recycling systems, encouraging sustainable transport, and promoting conservation of local biodiversity. In contrast, our Energy Officer, David Stutchfield, manages all aspects relating to energy consumption within buildings as well as calculating our carbon emissions in order to find innovative ways to reduce energy consumption and the University’s carbon footprint. Meanwhile, as Sustainability Officer, I am responsible for promoting awareness and engagement on sustainability issues with students and staff members. The team is overseen by our Environment and Energy Manager, Dr Roddy Yarr, who among other things plays a lead role in delivering the University’s large-sale renewable energy projects.
We’re currently recruiting for the next Sustainability Officer to start in July 2014. We’re looking for a motivated recent graduate with a background in sustainability or environmental studies. To learn more about the position visit the University’s vacancies page, select ‘internal candidate’ and login using your University email & password to view the job description and application form. (I’m happy to answer any questions about the post directly; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Project to Keep an Eye On
We often hear from students and staff that we don’t talk loud enough about what we get up to. With so many projects happening all the time, it’s easy to forget to explain them to those not involved. So! With this in mind, here is a short description of one of our largest ongoing project, the Guardbridge Energy Centre, which you are bound to hear more about in the near future.
Guardbridge Energy Centre is a large project which recently received £10m funding from the Scottish Government for developing a carbon-neutral biomass district heating network (whew that’s a mouthful!) located at the former Guardbridge paper mill site. The project is scheduled to be complete by 2016, when the Energy Centre will produce all the heating needed for the North Haugh campus by piping hot water generated in Guardbridge to St Andrews via an underground highly-insulated pipe. Read up on the story in the Press Office’s recent December article.
Much of the Environment Team’s work is behind closed doors, so to speak. For example, we are constantly refurbishing boilers to make them more efficient and reduce energy consumption! With this in mind here are a few things you might not have known the University is doing already:
The University recycles all its food waste from its catered halls and cafes. The Environment Team helped implement this recycling system in January 2014, which is explained in a recent blog article.
The Salix energy fund is the University’s revolving source of funding for making energy efficiency refurbishments and small scale renewable energy generation projects. For the past several years the University has used the fund for making over £2.5m worth of improvements to buildings and equipment, with all savings from efficiencies paid back into the fund to support future projects!
And finally to wrap up this post, most people we run into ask us for some top tips to help reduce energy, live more sustainably and generally have a smaller environmental footprint. Here are a few of my favourites:
Reducing Carbon – flights contribute to an incredible amount of most peoples’ carbon footprints. Cutting down on the number of flights you take can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. An easy way to find out? Try calculating your carbon footprint using the WWF’s easy footprint calculator that takes less than 5 minutes to answer!
Get involved – we need more and more of us talking about how to make our world more sustainable. We need new ideas and shared learning, and above all, inspiring and motivated individuals! So get out there and become involved in societies, groups, projects and more to keep the discussion going. It’s amazing what can happen when people get together to achieve shared goals! (Hint: Transition is a great place to look for projects and like-minded people making a difference in St Andrews)
To get in touch with the Environment Team: