Cambridge Regional College
Cambridge Regional College is leading the way in environmental sustainability, achieving a top environmental accreditation with a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by 40 per cent over the next five years.
This ambitious plan has helped Cambridge Regional College (CRC) become the first further education college in the country to be awarded ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Management System for all its operations.
By 2016, the College aims to have achieved its target through making its buildings more energy-efficient, reducing emissions from business travel and fleet vehicles, and encouraging staff and students to use greener methods of travel.
Over the next few months alone, the College will save 384 tonnes of carbon – 18 per cent of its target – by replacing all its lighting with LED lights. Installing timers on electronic equipment to reduce power usage and improving recycling to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill are among the other measures planned for a greener college.
All 740 staff have taken part in environmental training to highlight energy-saving and waste management as part of the ISO 14001 accreditation, and focused in-college campaigns are planned to engage fully with staff and students over the next few months.
The College, one of the largest providers of full-time further education for 16 to 19 year-olds in the eastern region, is an active member of Cambridge’s forward-thinking Travel Plan Plus, working in partnership with other major employers in the nearby Science Park and Business Park to promote more sustainable travel to the area.
Spearheading the campaign is the College’s new Environmental and Sustainability manager Sarah Bearpark, who is tackling the smaller issues as well as the bigger ones and working on college-wide campaigns to encourage buy-in from staff and students.
Sarah says there are many small things which together can have a big impact. “For instance, in our hair salons we are changing all our towels to microfibre towels - they are longer lasting, take up less room in the washing machine and are quicker to dry in the tumble dryer.”
Commitment to success
Boardroom responsibility for sustainability has been given to Vice Principal Chris Lang, Director of Finance and Resources, another example of the College’s commitment to its far-reaching carbon management plan.
Chris believes it is important to build sustainability into all aspects of college life.
“It is essential for all of us to reduce our carbon footprint and we aim to teach our students best practice in environmental matters, so that when they go into the workplace they will be very aware of saving energy and minimising waste,” he said.
“Reducing our carbon footprint by 40 per cent is an ambitious target, but we are determined to make a real difference. We are absolutely delighted to be the first Further Education college in England to receive the accreditation for our whole site and will be building on that success to achieve our target.”
SmartLife Training Centres
CRC, which has more than 4,000 full-time and 6,000 part-time students, is home to two unique training centres – the SmartLife construction centre, where students are taught modern methods of construction, and the new SmartLife Low Carbon Centre for teaching green building technologies.
The new centre is where students will learn the expertise needed for constructing low carbon homes and installing renewable energy systems. It will support businesses looking to adapt to the low carbon economy, with specialist classrooms for teaching the installation of photovoltaic, advanced gas and solar energy systems.
A joint project between CRC and Cambridgeshire County Council, it is part of the Hive Education and Enterprise Park, which will also be home to the Future Business Centre and SmartLife Homes.
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