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Sustainability initiatives look to boost performance

20 May 2010

Sustainability initiatives look to boost performance

The Welsh Assembly Government’s recent all-Wales Sustainability Week afforded the University an opportunity to mark its own achievements in becoming more sustainable.

The University has been forging ahead with a number of initiatives as part of its overall commitment to sustainable development. Developments span energy efficiencies, carbon reduction, sustainable travel and transport, and recycling operationally.

Many initiatives echoed suggestions made by staff and students during the University’s own Sustainability Week in November 2009.

Back in November, ideas were posted to the Sustainability Week website with common themes emerging in areas such as recycling, energy efficiency and sustainable transport, demonstrating those areas of high importance to staff and students. An idea put forward by Information Services’ Marvin Hanson and Dan Tyler to recycle all end of lifecycle PCs to support local communities was chosen by members of the University’s Sustainability Group as the idea of the week. The Group felt the initiative went beyond recycling traditional office waste, to one which delivered social benefits to local communities.

In fact, the University is already investigating the possibility of working with Apple Computers UK to introduce a free of charge initiative to take back and recycle IT equipment. Both Marvin and Dan have been invited to work with Information Services to investigate the initiative further. In addition, the University’s Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Unit is already well placed to support schools and divisions recycle IT equipment by putting them in touch with service providers. The service providers ensure that unwanted equipment is disposed of in line with regulations while also helping local community groups, charities and schools to access high quality IT equipment.

Ideas around lighting were also posted. The Estates Division has been working hard on the energy efficiency of the estate, looking at new ways to maximise the positive sustainability impact of the University's use of its energy for environmental control. Visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/estat/sustainability to find out more.

Information Services also place sustainability as a high priority. Among numerous initiatives introduced are the Cardiff University System for PC Power-saving (CUSPP) which automatically powers down software for most workstations that have logged out for more than 15 minutes; server virtualisation, introduction of flat screen monitors across the University; and uninterruptible power supplies. Information Services’ web pages holds more information and about these and other initiatives, as well as facts and figures about the energy savings gained through their work.

Recycling is well established at the University, with more than 40 per cent of all University waste now recycled. More can be done, and many of the staff and suggestions highlighted how much of a priority this is. The network of local Eco-Champions can advise on how to ensure recycling bins are situated in offices and rooms, as well as support staff and students in reducing unnecessary energy and water consumption, minimising waste production and ensuring efficient recycling of unwanted resources. Purchasing is able to advise on sourcing recycled paper; and advice on duplex printing is now available on the Information Services’ Sustainability pages.

The University has also recently launched the first phase of its Travel Plan, which will see an action plan developed over the next 12 months, to raise awareness of travel choice and impacts, encourage active travel and the use of public transport, and reduce single occupancy car trips. It will also include actions to promote the use of alternatives to air and car transport for business travel, alternative working methods such as videoconferencing instead of travel, and include a crucial review of the University’s vehicle fleet.

To ensure momentum continues to become more sustainable in our operations, planning is now underway for Sustainability Week 2010. If you would like to stage a sustainability-related event during the University’s Sustainability Week 2010, email publicity@cardiff.ac.uk

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