Keeping people safe, keeping learning going
Journey to decarbonisation | Simon Chiffi, Director of Estates and Facilities
We’ve been working hard to improve our environmental and sustainability commitment at USW over the last year and we have made good progress. We are now working towards reducing all of our carbon emissions, and are looking more widely at our impact on local communities and the environment.
To help us on our way to achieving net zero for carbon, we have introduced electric vehicle charging stations at Cardiff, Treforest and the Sport Park. We have also added more green spaces into Treforest where some of our buildings have been removed. Grass areas, plants, cherry laurel and field maples have improved the biodiversity on this campus and we are looking at what we can do on our other campuses as well.
We have also been working to reduce what we send to landfill. We’ve done this by changing the bins on our campuses so that we can separate out recycling and waste. Food waste recycling will also be introduced into our halls of residence shortly.
In some of our buildings, we have changed the lights to LEDs, which has helped to reduce our carbon emissions and are more efficient. We have also added more solar panels to our buildings in Treforest, helping to create green electricity. They are now on our Sports Centre, Students’ Union, Sports Park and one of our halls of residence.
There have also been changes in our catering facilities, where we have switched to using wooden cutlery, rather than plastic, and biodegradable boxes. Starbucks introduced paper straws and glasses were introduced at water stations. We also moved to a local sandwich supplier, saving 47,000 road miles a year.
Not all of our changes have been so visible. We have also altered how the University’s money is invested. We have transferred a portion of the University’s funds into an environmentally aware investment product and plan to transfer the remaining funds when they mature. This means that the money can’t be invested in any products that derive some of their income from the supply of things like fossil fuels.
These are good first steps, but we’ve still got much to do over the coming years to achieve decarbonisation. A staff and student Environmental Champions Group has been established to help share and develop ideas to improve and promote sustainability. This is a new and exciting area of work where each of us will be able to individually make a difference to the impact we have while at the University and the wider impact we cause on the planet.
For more information, please visit our sustainability pages where you can learn about all of the initiatives we have put in place, find the latest sustainability updates and volunteer as a Sustainability Champion.
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