Environmental Policy

Buckingham is committed to improving its carbon footprint wherever possible. Measures have been taken to assist this process but some of the most significant changes can be made by the contribution of staff and students in some of the simple suggestions recommended within the policy.

Energy

A representative from the Energy Consortium undertook a review of energy usage in October 2007 with further analysis of building performance in September 2008 by independent consultants.

The age, construction and usage of University buildings all contribute to the above average energy consumption experienced in the majority of our buildings. In an effort to improve the University’s carbon footprint and the efficiency of its buildings the following Energy Policy has been adopted.

  1. Occupancy Temperature
    • The occupancy temperature of the University will aim to be within 18oC – 20oC for all non-residential buildings.
    • In most University buildings temperature control in individual rooms is limited so people should be aware that there will be temperature variations between different rooms within the same building. The minimum temperature requirement by the Health and Safety at Work Act is 16oC.
    • In residential buildings the University will aim to maintain a temperature of 20oC.
    • All major buildings have outside thermostats to respond to outside conditions as well as internal temperature control.
  2. Heating Periods
    • The University will operate a summer turn-off between 1 May and 1 September, with an estimated saving of 30 tonnes of CO2 per annum (Carbon Trust 2007), unless there is a period of three consecutive days or more where the outside temperature remains below an agreed value.
    • Similarly day settings for University buildings will be set to between 08:30 and 22:00 in non-residential buildings and 07:30 and 00:00 in residential buildings during term time.
  3. Energy Controls
    • The University has installed a number of control mechanisms to improve the efficiency of energy management.
    • The Anthony de Rothschild Building, the Biomedical Unit, sections of the Chandos Road Building and the Radcliffe Centre heating systems are all controlled via a Building Management System (BMS). Through the monitoring of time and occupation the optimum temperature is maintained via this software.
    • Aquatrols are fitted to the majority of boilers throughout the University. These controls compensate for outside temperature variation by cutting back boiler action with increased outside temperature.
    • Buckingham was one of the first universities to have installed powerPerfector technology to its main electricity supplies. This technology optimises the operating level of the incoming electrical supply thereby improving the efficiency of downstream equipment and its electrical consumption by as much as 20%.
    • A small number of electric meters have been changed to Smart Meters thereby eliminating the inaccuracy and inconsistency of meter reading and estimated bills. This aids the efficiency of energy monitoring and will provide a basic feasibility for the possible inclusion of further meters in the future.
  4. Heating Devices
    • No electric heaters should be brought onto University premises unless issued by the Estates Department. Not only are these heaters very inefficient, they are also a potential Health & Safety risk, when not subject to a Portable Appliance Test (PAT), and could potentially overload electrical circuits.
  5. Air Cooling Devices
    • Regulations for new buildings will make the need for future air conditioning units a rare occurrence. In our older buildings the installation and maintenance of such devices will be restricted to the existing units.
    • The installation of new air conditioning units will only be approved in exceptional circumstances after considering lifetime budget costs. Portable fans are acceptable in very hot weather providing they have undergone the appropriate PAT test.
    • Although there is no legal maximum working temperature, the University still has a duty of care to its employees and will consider individual cases where a daytime temperature is in excess of an agreed value for three continuous days.
    • The University will continue to review the use of existing air conditioning units throughout the University, in line with proposed legislation for compulsory inspection.
  6. Lighting
    • Wherever possible low energy lamps have been utilised throughout the University and in some areas movement sensors control corridor areas.
    • The University took part in a trial for solar powered footpath lighting with the resulting product still in situ near the Tanlaw Mill Building.

Staff and student action:

All staff and students have a role to play in improving the University’s energy efficiency and can help by undertaking the following simple and often obvious actions.

In the winter:

  • Do not block or put things on radiators.
  • Try to arrange the room so that you can feel the effects of the radiator.
  • Try to utilise any radiant heat from winter sunshine.
  • Anticipate local variations in weather conditions.
  • Keep a spare item of clothing available for static work.
  • Make sure doors and windows are closed.
  • Try to move to warm up extremities.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Turn on computer only when required.

In the summer months:

  • Turn on computer only when required.
  • Reduce the heat gain effects of the sun through windows.
  • Create air circulation without compromising fire arrangements.

The University will endeavour to play its part by:

  • Improving the monitoring of energy use and building performance across the University.
  • Improving insulation where required.
  • Considering lighting controls in low use areas.
  • Considering boiler upgrades to more efficient models.
  • Attempting to raise the awareness of energy efficiency through its environmental policy.
  • Considering sustainable alternatives where practical.

Waste

All University waste is collected by University staff and transported to a central point for contract disposal. The University has installed containers throughout the University for the separation of waste, thereby enabling recycling to take place via single point collection for paper, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, drinks cans and plastic bottles.

In 2008 a 4-1 compactor was installed for general waste, which will result in the reduction of waste lorry collections by over 100 per year.

From a starting point of no recycling in 2007 over 9 tonnes of cardboard and wood and 80,000 litres of paper, plastic and cans were recycled in just over 3 months in 2008. This represents approximately 30% of the University waste being recycled, but only sets the benchmark for future improvement. With further publicity and the help of all staff and students it is hoped to improve this percentage in the future.

Electrical items, fridges and computers are all disposed of either under the WEEE directive or via dedicated recycling centres.

The University has a hazardous waste certificate for the disposal of fluorescent tubes.

Staff and student action:

  • Utilise the green recycling bins around the campus.
  • Ensure waste is separated and placed in the correct container.
  • Suggest positions for additional recycling collecting points.
  • Try to keep waste to a minimum i.e. reduced packaging, selective printing and using sustainable bags.

Water

The University uses nearly six million gallons of water per annum monitored by 33 water meters. Although water monitoring is only on a manual and rudimentary basis the process has been sufficient to locate two major water leaks thereby avoiding unnecessary waste from this process.

Wherever possible in student accommodation we are embarking upon a process to replace baths with more efficient showers.

In a number of WCs flush reducing mechanisms have been fitted to reduce the amount of water used per cycle.

Wherever possible, and certainly on replacement, hand basins are fitted with push action taps to prevent inadvertent water loss.

Staff and student action:

  • Do not leave taps running.
  • Report dripping taps as soon as possible.

Through the publication of this policy we hope that all staff and students will be able to help in some small but meaningful way to the University’s commitment to improving its impact on the environment.

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