Who’s the greenest of them all?
The University of Nottingham is the most environmentally friendly campus on the planet, according to a league table of sustainable universities. The University tops an international ranking that judges institutions according to their energy management programmes, sustainability-related teaching and research, waste and water management, percentage of green space on campus and the application of eco-sustainability policies and efforts.
The 'Greenmetric of World Universities 2011', produced by the University of Indonesia, features institutions from more than 40 countries. Nottingham"s aim is to become a sector-leading green university in all its activities, and the past year has seen staff and students working hard on a range of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.
These include the maintenance of its award-winning parkland campuses incorporating green gardening practices, the use of innovative architecture and sustainable design in building new facilities, reducing the environmental impact of its IT use and introducing sustainable procurement practices into contracts with a growing number of major suppliers.
Excellence in sustainability
The University launched an environmental strategy in 2010, managed by an Environmental Steering Group, which outlines its aims in achieving excellence in sustainability and has been underpinned by the introduction of a range of initiatives supporting its green agenda.
Professor Karen Cox, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Infrastructure, said: "Last year Nottingham was ranked no.2 in the Greenmetric league table, so it"s very pleasing that our continuing work has been recognised with a move up into the top position.
"Campus-wide efforts on sustainability have yielded our first-ever reduction in carbon emissions — a cut of over 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide on the previous year. Taken against a background of increasing student numbers, new infrastructure on campus and an extremely harsh winter, this is a considerable achievement. I"d like to offer my congratulations to all those staff and students who have worked hard to contribute to our success in this area."
With 330 acres of rolling parkland, beautiful period buildings and a large lake, University Park is considered to be one of the most attractive campuses in the country. In 2012, it was awarded a Green Flag Award for the tenth year running. Green Flag is a national award scheme which recognises and rewards the best public and community parks and green spaces in the country. In 2003, Nottingham was the first university to win a Green Flag for its parks and gardens – and it has been winning them ever since.
Across all its campuses, the University is currently investing £90m in new teaching and learning facilities, with new buildings opening in 2011 in maths, engineering, humanities, veterinary and biosciences, and a revamp of campus cafes and food facilities. New and refurbished building designs have to meet the highest environmental criteria, and a range of renewable energy systems have been deployed in existing and new buildings.
A sustainable transport strategy is in place, with new cycle infrastructure, car-parking charges, availability of inter-campus hopper buses and a cycle hire scheme for students.
The University has a strong research portfolio in environmental sustainability. The Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies at its Ningbo campus in China is not only a research centre, but also serves as a model building representing cutting-edge techniques for environmentally-responsible, sustainable construction. The Creative Energy Homes project, on the University Park campus in Nottingham UK, features six innovative eco-homes that serve as 'living laboratories" in which new techniques can be tested and demonstrated.
Creative Energy Homes is also a key project within the University"s new appeal, 'Impact: The Nottingham Campaign", which is delivering the University"s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. Nottingham research will deliver global solutions to the development of sustainable housing for the future.
The UI GreenMetric World University Ranking was launched by the University of Indonesia in 2010 as a way of providing an online survey highlighting the current activities and policies of universities around the globe in relation to sustainability and green campus issues. In 2011, the survey attracted submissions from more than 170 universities from 42 countries around the world. Ranked second and third are Northwestern University and the University of Connecticut, both in the USA.