Buckinghamshire New University

Buckinghamshire New University is committed to helping the environment and across all its facilities it has reduced its carbon footprint by 43 per cent since 2005. It aims to save 50 per cent by 2020 and transformative initiatives have included introducing electric vehicles, better building insulation and boiler and lighting upgrades.

Energy and Carbon Management

The University’s carbon reduction journey started when it published its first Carbon Reduction Implementation Plan back in 2010. This plan set the ambitious target to reduce the University’s carbon footprint (from gas and electricity) by 50% by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. So far the reduction programme has been very successful, with a carbon reduction of 43% by the 2013/14 academic year. The final points are being put on the next Carbon Reduction Implementation Plan to ensure that the final 7% of carbon is removed and the 50% reduction target is met.

Some of the projects that have been undertaken at the University include:
• Use of thermal wheels to capture heat from buildings that would otherwise been lost to atmosphere.
• Upgrades to the heating system including the creation of a centralised boiler house at the High Wycombe campus allowing for high efficiency boilers to be installed.
• Installation of an award winning Advanced Building Management System allowing for control and monitoring of space heating and cooling across academic buildings and halls of residences, along with sub metering of utilities.
• Energy efficient lighting, with the use of T5 fluorescent tubes and more lately LED lighting.
• Intelligent lighting controls with presence detection and daylight diming.
• The new Gateway building was designed with a large thermal mass allowing the building to absorb daytime heat gains.
• Refurbishment of older buildings with improved roof insulation and double glazing.
• Consolidation of estate to reduce the overall space of the University.
• Installation of three 50 kWp solar arrays at the High Wycombe campus.

The University has held the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon reduction since 2011, having been accredited three times, and is one of only nine universities or colleges to hold the accreditation. The Standard required the University to demonstrate year-on-year reductions in its absolute carbon footprint along with demonstration of good carbon management.  

Transport

In 2012 the University purchased its first set of electric vans. Two diesel vehicles were replaced with two fully electric vehicles for the use of both the Estates Department and as a post van. Following the success of these first electric vans (travelling over 45,000 miles) they were replaced in 2015 with a new fleet of electric vans.

There were some initial concerns over the range limitations of electric vans, but they have been used daily to travel between our High Wycombe and Uxbridge campuses (30 mile round trip) along with our halls of residence.  

Staff and students are encouraged to use alternative transport methods to commute onto campus as opposed to single car journeys. Some of the travel initiatives undertaken include:

• Car parking is run on a chargeable permit system with no member of staff who lives within 2 miles of their place of work able to apply for a permit (unless accessible access is required). No member of staff is provided with a dedicated parking bay.
• No parking facilities provided at halls of residence for student use.
• Discounted bus fares for staff.
• Free bus into High Wycombe for staff who park their car at our Hughenden Student Village or for students who live in the halls.
• Staff cycle to work scheme and rail season ticket loans.
• Priority parking bays at the Uxbridge campus for car sharers.
• Free shuttle bus to take staff and students between the High Wycombe and Uxbridge campuses.

Biodiversity

Bucks New University continues to support biodiversity projects such as the landscaping of meadow grass on our High Wycombe Campus. The University has four ‘green’ roofs planted with sedum, located at Hughenden Student Village which provide important microclimates for insects and birds. They also provide a sustainable drainage system and have a positive impact on heat emissions. Our biodiversity key actions include.

• Identifying reduced intervention and wildflower areas.
• Investigating opportunities to integrate biodiversity into future developments.
• Maintaining several bird boxes on campus.
• Developing local community links, such as our work with Wycombe Environment Centre.

Waste and Recycling

Reductions in waste sent to landfill have been achieved through improved recycling segregation and a move to send none recyclables to generate energy from waste. Some of the projects undertaken with waste include:

• Individual desk bins removed and centralised recycling bins installed.
• High Wycombe campus waste compound has been fenced off, allowing for better segregation of waste and restricted access.
• A closed loop paper recycling scheme allows for waste paper the University produces to be recycled back into reams of paper that can be uses in printers.

Next steps

The University is committed to improving its sustainability. Along with the potential for further engineering solutions to reduce its carbon emissions, a raft of behaviour change projects are planned to engage with staff and students. In addition, education for sustainable development is now being embedded into the curriculum. The aim is to give our students an understanding of sustainability issues which will then be relevant to them as they embark on their career path.

Main Contact Name: Alastair Jack, Sustainability and Energy Manager
Main Contact Email: alastair.jack@bucks.ac.uk
Further information/website: www.bucks.ac.uk/about_us/green_bucks
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Buckinghamshire New University
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The Gateway Building
The Gateway Building

Wildflower garden
Wildflower garden

Solar panels
Solar panels