2011 Green Gown Awards - Categories


■ Carbon Reduction
■ Colleges & Smaller Institutions
■ Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
■ Courses
■ Green ICT
■ Promoting Positive Behaviour
■ Research and Development
■ Skills
■ Social Responsibility
■ Space Efficiency
■ Student Initiatives and Campaigns
■ Sustainable Construction and Refurbishment
■ Sustainable Procurement 

Carbon reduction
This category recognises initiatives which have achieved significant reductions in the carbon footprint of a university or college through the likes of:

• energy consumption and source
• waste reduction, recycling and responsible disposal
• sustainable travel planning and management

There is no presumption that institutions will have participated in the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Programme, or other such activities, although activities connected with this are certainly eligible. Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide considerable quantitative evidence on the nature of the improvements made and demonstrate a causal relationship between activities undertaken and improvements achieved. Applications must also demonstrate real improvement, rather than precursor activities such as foot-printing or setting of targets.

Colleges & Smaller Institutions
This category recognises the difficulties which FE and smaller HE institutions have, relative to larger universities, in taking action in many areas.

It encompasses any environment-related initiatives which contribute to sustainable development.

It is open to all colleges of further education and HE institutions affiliated with Guild HE. Note that other categories are also open to FE and HE colleges and may be a better choice for specific initiatives, such as a green building.

Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
This category recognises sustained and successful activities to improve the performance of further and higher education institutions, campuses, faculties and buildings over a number of years.

Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide considerable quantitative evidence on the nature of the improvements made and also demonstrate a causal relationship between activities undertaken and improvements achieved. Initiatives must have been running for at least five years.

This category recognises innovative actions with regard to sustainability in academic (e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate) and higher level vocational courses in FE and HE institutions.

Examples of possible application topics include: the development of new courses focused on some or all sustainable development issues; adaptation of existing courses; use of practical sustainability-related projects or other practical activities within courses; and work-based learning initiatives.

Green ICT
This category recognises the growing environmental importance of ICT within the sector and more generally.

It encompasses actions within universities and colleges to minimise energy consumption, carbon emissions, waste generation and other environmental impacts associated with ICT use. The development of hardware and/or software which creates environmental benefits is also included where universities and colleges have played a key role in its development.

Promoting Positive Behaviour
This category recognises innovative approaches to promoting changes in behaviour within an institution or through an institution’s activities, i.e. through community and/or industry/business interface.

It places particular emphasis on initiatives that promote positive behaviour change through staff engagement activities but cannot include activities developed and recognised through the NUS’ Green Impact initiative.

Research and Development
This category recognises a variety of research-based and knowledge-transfer activities within universities and colleges which have had tangible effects on practice with regard to sustainability. Possible activities include: research leading to better understanding and/or mitigation of environment impacts; research and development leading to the introduction of new products; and research and development with regard to social sustainability issues (e.g. community development; achieving social inclusion; and assisting very disadvantaged people).

Eligible entries can include both large-scale projects with major impacts as well as small-scale projects that provide tangible impacts in focused areas, or amongst specific target audiences. The judges will be looking for applications which can demonstrate a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the research and positive outcomes.

This category recognises achievement in the development of skills relevant to sustainability. To provide a clear differentiation, the main focus of this category is activities which are not central to the pursuit of academic qualifications (which should normally be entered into the Courses category). Examples include: apprenticeships; continuing professional development (CPD) activities; skill-focused courses leading to professional or vocational qualifications; and short courses for practitioners. However, applications can be made for activities connected with undergraduate or other academic courses if there is a practical focus on the development of specific skills which goes beyond the normal activities of the disciplinary curriculum, e.g. running community-based projects which give students considerable autonomy and develop their communication, management abilities etc.

Possible applicants for this category include: HE institutions; FE colleges; adult and community and work-based learning providers.

Social Responsibility
This category recognises initiatives by FE or HE institutions which create significant benefits for local communities, disadvantaged groups and/or society as a whole in either the UK or developing countries. As well as specific initiatives, this category includes institutions taking a leading and visionary role in multi-partner activities such as community development or urban regeneration. Although all applications will be considered on their merits, the judges will be looking for ‘social responsibility’ type initiatives which have an element of proactive community and social concern, rather than ‘business as usual’ activities which create immediate financial benefit for the institution such as putting on new courses for particular groups.

Note that activities which have a substantial student element should be submitted to the Student Initiatives and Campaigns category.

Student Initiatives and Campaigns
This category recognises initiatives which have been developed and/or substantially influenced by students. Examples include: awareness campaigns; procurement actions; volunteering activities organised by unions; societies and similar organisations within FE and HE institutions; the general sustainability activities of students’ unions; and specific initiatives or campaigns by national student bodies. Activities aimed at changing student awareness and behaviour by universities and colleges themselves are also eligible, provided that there is evidence of substantial student involvement.

Please ensure you strongly highlight sufficient evidence of student involvement or student-led activities as this will be scored more favourably by the judges.

Space Efficiency
This category recognises that more efficient use of space produces considerable environmental benefits (through reducing the overall demand for buildings) as well as economic ones. Examples of possible application topics are: overall estate rationalisation; more efficient use of space in specific buildings; and mechanisms resulting in increased space utilisation, e.g. flexible working where this clearly results in less overall space requirements.

Applications are only likely to be successful if they provide good evidence (at least some of which is quantitative) that the measures taken have created environmental benefit, and have not had adverse effects on staff, student work and study.

Sustainable Construction and Refurbishment
This category recognises new or refurbished buildings, campuses or student residences in further or higher education which have good energy and environmental performance. As such buildings sometimes fail to perform to their design specifications, quantitative evidence of actual performance in practice, and ideally of a post occupancy evaluation to identify problems and means of improving them, will be given special weight in judging.

Applications featuring refurbished buildings are especially welcomed, and the difficulties of achieving similar levels of performance to new build will be taken into account in the judging process. Please note that judges will look especially favourably at entries which go beyond regulations or planning conditions which would have to be met anyway.

Sustainable Procurement
This category recognises actions to take greater account of environmental and/or social responsibility issues within procurement of buildings, goods and services. It encompasses actions taken by departmental, school and other devolved purchasers, as well as central procurement functions, such as: procurement techniques and processes (e.g. rigorous use of whole life costing, development and use of screening mechanisms) as well as actual purchasing decisions; and imaginative attempts to fund higher initial costs for a stream of lifetime benefits (e.g. through internal budgets to provide top up funding for energy efficiency).

Robust evidence should be presented that the actions have ‘made a difference’ in a way which would have been unlikely within pre-existing procurement procedures. This means that applications which are largely based on the achievement of lower initial purchase costs as well as sustainability benefits will have difficulty in achieving recognition, as ‘normal’ procurement would usually identify this anyway.


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