Ulster University

Ulster University is embedding environmental sustainability into its operations and business activities. In 2015 University student and staff teams led by environmental champions were recognised by the National Union of Students and given Green Impact Awards for driving positive sustainability changes. In addition, Business in the Community’s ARENA Network awarded Ulster “gold” status in their 2014 Environmental Benchmarking Survey, the principle measure of environmental management in Northern Ireland.

These awards highlight Ulster’s strong commitment to delivering environmentally-sustainable business operations, at the heart of which are the staff and students who drive environmental management and performance.

Carbon Conscious – because we care

Ulster University’s sustainability engagement programme ‘Carbon Conscious – because we care’ utilises themed awareness campaigns to boost staff and student engagement with sustainability. Campaigns are aligned with calendar events e.g. waste month, green week, earth hour, sustainable travel month etc.

Carbon  Conscious – because we care… about energy

In 2014/15 the University cut its electricity usage/m2 by 1.9% maintaining a 5 year downward trajectory in electricity consumption which has been brought about by the rationalisation and modernisation of the Estate along with the introduction of energy efficient technologies and projects below:

Wind Turbine
An 800 kW wind turbine installed at Coleraine Campus in 2008 produces approximately 1.6 GWh of renewable electricity each year amounting to 23% of the electricity used on the campus.

Sustainably constructed and refurbished buildings
- Belfast Block BB (2015) – BREEAM Excellent building - natural ventilation, solar PV generation, excellent air-tightness and thermal envelope.
- Coleraine Teaching Block (2015) – BREEAM Excellent building - natural ventilation, solar water heating, excellent air-tightness and thermal envelope.
- Coleraine Arts Block (2015) – BREEAM Excellent building - natural ventilation, solar PV generation, excellent air-tightness and thermal envelope.
- Data Centre (2013) – State of the art high-integrity and high-efficiency data centre with 3 stage cooling solution utilising free and adiabatic cooling.
- Belfast Campus Warwick Building (2008) – an exemplar low carbon building - tri generation combined heat and power (CHP), natural cooling, solar shading and grey water recycling. 
- Magee Campus library – natural ventilation and bespoke solar shading system.
- The Jordanstown Campus’ High Performance Centre – borehole water, ground source heat pumps and efficient lighting controls.

Combined Heat and Power
Jordanstown and Belfast Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units provide annual carbon reductions of approximately 400 tonnes.

Fuel switching
Fuel switching from oil to natural gas across all four campuses has resulted in an annual carbon emissions reduction of over 3000 tonnes.

Carbon  Conscious – because we care… about waste

In 2013/14 the total waste generated across the Estate fell as did the total waste percentage being landfilled. Our current waste reduction projects include the following:

Print  Less
A Managed Print Service has been rolled out across the University providing staff with access to document scanning and efficient double-sided printing via multi-function device photocopiers. This has led to a significant reduction in the amount of waste generated and paper consumed.

Waste – Less
Warp-it equipment/furniture/resource reuse and management system is being implemented in 2015/16. The initiative will reduce expenditure on furniture, stationery and skips and reduce waste generation in line with our sustainability targets.

Carbon  Conscious – because we care… about travel

The University’s Carbon Management Plan sets a target of a 15% reduction in carbon emissions associated with business travel by car by July 2016, based on a 2009/10 emissions baseline. Business travel by car remains on target having decreased by approximately 19.4% since the 2009/10 baseline year. Going forward the University is focusing on reducing unnecessary business travel and encouraging staff and students to car share: 

Car – Less
To reduce unnecessary travel by car Ulster has invested in 20 centrally bookable Video conference rooms across the University and is currently installing Skype for Business (Lync) to provide video-conferencing facilities at the desktop.

Share – More
The University has its own dedicated car share scheme which is part of the UK wide Liftshare network. Our scheme brings together staff and students with similar commuting requirements, thereby reducing associated costs and environmental impact.

Next Steps

Ulster is proud of its green credentials and plans to seek formal Estates and Procurement certification to ISO 14001 to embed and further demonstrate the University’s ongoing commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its activities.

Main Contact Name: Marie-Louise Gaile, Sustainability Manager
Main Contact Email: ml.gaile@ulster.ac.uk
Further information/website: www.ulster.ac.uk/sustainability
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