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Environment and Energy


Find archived News items from the Environment and Energy Section below. Current news stories can be found on the news page. Please contact us with any queries.

Park & Ride introduces parking charge to help maintain site facilities

15 July 2014

A £1 car parking charge will be introduced from 22 July at each of the five Cambridge Park & Ride sites.

The charge was agreed as part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s budget setting: each year the authority has to find around £1 million to run the sites and facilities. The new arrangements also allow for better enforcement of disabled bays to stop people using them who do not have blue badges.

The £1 charge will allow motorists to park for between 1 and 18 hours. The first hour is free to allow people to drop off or pick up bus passengers, or make other collections. In comparison, parking in the city centre ranges from £2 for up to an hour, to over £25 for a working day.

There will be no barriers and parking tickets do not have to be displayed in the vehicle. Automatic number plate recognition on entrances and exits will check who has paid to park, making it easy and simple for customers. Daily tickets can be purchased from ticket machines outside the main buildings on the sites. Discounted ticket deals can be purchased online or using mobile phones.

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Jeremy Sanders awarded CBE

01 July 2014

We were delighted to hear that Jeremy Sanders, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, has been awarded with a CBE for services to Scientific Research.

Professor Sanders is responsible for environmental policy and strategy at Cambridge, as well as for the areas of human resources, relationships with the local community, and public engagement. A Fellow of Selwyn College, he was previously Head of the Department of Chemistry and Head of the School of Physical Sciences. He is Chair to the Environmental Strategy Committee, as well as Project Sponsor for the Energy and Carbon Reduction Project.

Professor Sanders' research into fundamental aspects of molecular behaviour has been recognised by the Royal Society, which elected him as a Fellow in 1995 and awarded him the Davy Medal in 2009.

On hearing the news he said: "As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, I am responsible for the University's 10,000 staff, for its Environment and Energy policy, for the North West Cambridge development and for the University's relationships with the local community and councils. It is a great privilege to serve the University and the Cambridge community in this role, and it is also a great privilege to have been able to pursue my own research career. It is a huge pleasure that my small contribution, most of which should be credited to my research group and administrative colleagues, has been recognised in this way."

Material from Department of Chemistry press release, 13 June 2014

Department news: ISO50001 success for Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

24 June 2014

Congratulations to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, who have retained their accreditation to the ISO50001 international standard. Their EnMS (Energy Management System) was assessed by external auditors, and received an exemplary review.

The Li Ka Shing Centre remains the only building in the sector, and one of only two organisations in Cambridgeshire to have achieved the standard for energy management. In fact, there are only 2,000 registered companies in the world, and 200 outside of the EU.

With four floors of laboratories, a plant room, an energy centre, and all of the significant energy-using equipment and facilities that these imply, this is a building with high energy demand. A BMS (building management system) optimisation programme is in place, and the Department has set a target to reduce energy use by 15% from a 2011 baseline by 2015. It is well on the way, having reduced its electricity usage by 11.2% and its gas by 5% between 2011 and the 2013 calendar year. As a result, they have also saved over £128,000 in operating costs to date.

Well done to Martin Frohock, Building Services & Facilities Manager, and his team, as well as to all building users who are working to embed good energy management principles in their research and activity.

Department news: Gurdon energy savings reach 1,000,000 kWh!

17 June 2014

For the past 2 years, the Gurdon Institute have been actively reducing their energy consumption through successful engagement campaigns as well as technical interventions.

They are proud to have reached the millionth kWh saved, thanks to their own enthusiasm and to investment from the University of Cambridge's Energy and Carbon Reduction Project (ECRP).

Under the University's Electricity Incentivisation Scheme, the Institute has accrued sufficient funds to refurbish their tea/seminar room. Kathy Hilton, Departmental Environment and Energy Coordinator, praised energy-saving actions undertaken by staff across the Institute. "As everyone contributed to the energy saving campaign, a revitalised tea room benefits us all. An upcoming tea party celebrates our energy saving achievement and marks the official opening of the revamped tea room!"

Find out more:

Image: The Institute used a 'pledge tree' to record staff promises of energy-saving actions that they would undertake

New HE guidance: Education for Sustainable Development

09 June 2014

New guidance has been released to assist staff in UK higher education institutions in incorporating education for sustainable development within the curricula. Produced by an expert group drawn from across the sector, it aims to support institutions in enabling students from any discipline to acquire knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to sustainable development.

The guidance offers an outcomes-based framework for use in curriculum design, and general guidance on approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. The guidance is intended to be relevant to educators in all disciplines wishing to embed or include learning about sustainable development within their curricula.

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New staff join the E&E team

03 June 2014

The Environment and Energy Section was pleased to welcome two new members of the team on Monday, 2nd June.

Rebekah Ward joins us as the new Energy Assistant, from her role as Energy Data and Information Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council. Her remit is to support a wide range of energy management activities and involves monitoring the University’s energy and water consumption and carbon emissions, as well as identifying areas of potential savings.

Richard Turner joins us as Interim Energy Manager. Paul Hasley, our Energy Manager, is leaving the University later this month. Richard will be covering the Energy Manager role while we recruit a replacement.

Nesting Great Tits: May 2014

23 May 2014

Cambridge University Botanic Garden is currently housing eight Great Tit chicks this Spring. Early in May this year a pair of Great Tits moved in and laid a clutch of eight eggs, in a webcam-fitted nest which was laid bare the previous year. All of the eight chicks have now hatched (although two later than the other six), setting off a feeding frenzy to fatten up before fledging. The Botanic Garden will be posting the latest clips from the webcam-fitted nest on their website below so you can follow their progress and will archive them all on YouTube.

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Students helping to green University

16 May 2014

Last week the Environment and Energy Section, in collaboration with the NUS, trained 40 Cambridge University students to conduct audits of the 40 departments and colleges taking part in Green Impact. Travelling all over the city, from departments embedded within Addenbrooke’s Hospital to Madingley Hall, the students inspected, verified and scrutinised the teams’ submissions finding them favourable. Now the teams sit and wait to see how their efforts to make their workplace greener will be awarded at the Green Impact award ceremony on 18 June.

Green Impact works on an annual cycle and teams will be able to sign up each year in Michaelmas Term.

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The James Dyson Foundation donates £8m to University of Cambridge to fuel invention powerhouse

07 May 2014

The James Dyson Foundation has donated £8m to create a technology hub at the heart of Cambridge, providing the University of Cambridge’s brightest engineers with some of the world’s most advanced engineering laboratories. The donation is the largest gift ever received to Cambridge’s engineering faculty, which has long been the most successful in Europe.

Due to open in 2015, the Dyson Engineering Design Centre will become the focal point in teaching Cambridge students about the design process, providing specialised printing machinery, scanners, lasers and routers. A separate new four storey building, the James Dyson Building for Engineering, will house postgraduates and support world leading research in areas including advanced materials, smart infrastructure, electric vehicles, and efficient internal combustion systems for cars.

Find out more:

Image: James Dyson with a student during a visit to the Department of Engineering

Grant to fund research into natural and sustainable building materials

29 April 2014

The University of Cambridge has received a £1.75 million Research Programme Grant from the Leverhulme Trust on the theme of Natural Material Innovation.

The funding of £1.75 million over the next five years will enable exploration and development of the potential for natural materials in the built environment.

Led by the Department of Architecture, the research will involve unique collaborations with the University’s Department of Biochemistry, Department of Plant Sciences, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) and Department of Chemistry.

Find out more:

Image information: New Studio, Department of Architecture. Credit: David Butler

CUEN Annual Conference: 'Gas - An (Un)Conventional Pathway towards Our Energy Future?'

Date: Monday, 9 June 2014

Location: Jesus College, University of Cambridge

Join the Cambridge University Energy Network, in collaboration with Energy @ Cambridge, for their annual conference. Twelve distinguished speakers from academia, industry and policy will discuss the potential of natural gas in our future energy system.

Find out more:

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  • 29 April 2014, 6pm - Evening seminar with Dr Chris Hope: 'Modelling the Risks of Climate Change' (Location: LT2 Judge Business School). Book your place at the seminar here (no charge).
  • 14 May 2014, 6pm - CUEN evening lecture with Emile de Jong, GM in LNG Expertise and Deployment at Shell (Location: Judge Business School). This will be followed by a networking session. No booking is required.

British Heart Foundation: new campaign

The University of Cambridge Colleges are once again running a campaign to collect unwanted items for donation to the British Heart Foundation. The 2013 campaign collected 2000 bags - nearly 16 tonnes of clothing, fabric, books and other items diverted from landfill and raising money for a fantastic charity.

Colleges currently taking part are: Clare (Colony Site and Memorial Court), Darwin, Jesus, Queen's, and Trinity. Ask for more details in your plodge, and keep an eye out for the big red collection bins.

Help spread the word by asking your head housekeeper to take part! It's a simple scheme to set up and run, and potentially saves the College money by not filling up the landfill bins. Colleges not already taking part can contact Julie Paffett, BHF Regional Stock Generator, on

We’re delighted that our partnership with the BHF has been so successful. It’s fantastic to see so many students join the fight against heart disease and donate their unwanted items rather than throwing them out. We hope to double the success of the 2013 campaign this year, helping BHF to raise even more vital funds to continue their lifesaving research.

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Annual Cambridge spring clean recycles 21.5 tonnes of e-waste

09 April 2014

Cambridge businesses, schools and residents and University departments and Colleges brought electronic waste by van, car, bicycle and on foot to the electronic recycling event held 6-7th March 2014. The final weight is a fantastic 21.5 tonnes of e-waste for recycling!

The two-day event, held on the Sidgwick Site, was part of a drive to encourage the wider local community to clear out their unwanted or broken electrical items and recycle them rather than throwing them in the bin.

Beating last year’s total tonnage is thanks to a brilliant response across the city, and the feedback that we received during the event highlighted the benefits felt by many residents and departments. We’d like to thank the Sidgwick Site Facilities team as well as ERP, NMR and everyone else involved in the successful running of the event. The University will continue to support Council and internal e-waste recycling programmes over the next year.

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Hutchison/MRC: shortlisted for the S-Lab Awards 2014!

31 March 2014

Congratulations to the team at the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre for their successful shortlisting for this year's S-Lab Awards. S-Lab (Safe, Successful and Sustainable Laboratories) aims to reduce the disconnect between aspirations to sustainable working practices and day-to-day laboratory life, and to stimulate the development of laboratories which have a smaller footprint and which inspire sustainability interest and action amongst users.

The Hutchison/MRC Research Centre undertook a multi-faceted approach involving building occupants and engineering expertise to reduce its environmental impact, enhance its energy saving culture and crucially reduce costs and wastage, to protect the 'science budget'.

Driven by corporate, social and financial needs, with support from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and University of Cambridge partners, the installation of an innovative demand ventilation control system has enabled these goals to be achieved. Improved environmental performance has resulted in highly significant saving of utilities costs with a project payback of <2 years.

Good luck to Brian Richardson, Research Centre Manager and Environment and Energy Coordinator, and his colleagues.

Find out more:

Call for evidence: policy review

We are now reviewing our Environmental Policy. This review is being led by a University-wide Review Committee, chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, and the outcome will be an environmental sustainability policy and strategy covering teaching, research and administrative functions of the University. In the consultation phase, the Committee is seeking perspectives of staff and students across the University on key objectives, targets and matters relating to implementation.

Contact us to have your say in the University's future environmental strategy!

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Raised Faculty Building to get new, eco water coolers

25th March 2014

Three bottled water coolers that currently cost over £1400 per year are due to be replaced with plumbed-in water coolers. By using a mains-fed, plumbed-in option, the departments will remove the carbon miles of transporting bottles as well as supporting a move away from plastic containers. There is a cost saving, with one supplier quoting nearly £1000 less on an annual basis including services, installation and other charges. The building users are also looking forward to not having to lift full bottles around!

Well done to the Sidgwick Site Facilities team and the RFB Environment and Energy Coordinators and departmental Administrators for this success.

Run an event in your College!

18th March 2014

The Environment and Energy Section was busy popping up in several Colleges last term, giving information about the various opportunities we have for students. There's been a lot of interest in the NETpositive Student tool, as well as in the various internships and project management opportunities that we have available for Cambridge students.

Find out more:

Department of Engineering: Energy Roof update

11th March 2014

The Energy Roof on the top of the Department of Engineering central site's Inglis Building produced 30MWh in its first six months since commissioning. While this may be a fraction of the Department's total energy consumption, it is an exciting indication for how the University estate can support renewable energy aspirations whilst simultaneously researching these technologies.

The Energy Roof is supporting student and academic research, including exploration of the potential use of direct DC from the panels. This includes the option for lighting circuits as developed by the University's Computer Laboratory. Further options for DC power usage will include for air handling unit plant, computer room cooling and charging circuits.

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Get your bike repaired while benefiting a local charity!

28th February 2014

The University Library's 'Green Futures Group' is pleased to announce that from Thursday 6 March there will be a weekly bike repair service each Thursday in the UL car park, from 10.30 to 3.30. Bikes can be repaired at competitive rates, while accessories can also be purchased, or donated and refurbished ones bought!

The service is run by OWL Bikes which is part of the Papworth Trust, a leading disability charity, and all profits will go direct to the charity.

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Join the debate - The IARU Sustainability Science Congress

Global Challenges: Achieving Sustainability

12th February 2014

Taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark from 22-24 October 2014, The IARU Sustainability Science Congress will focus on research related to global sustainability issues. This international and solutions-orientated Congress invites experts across disciplines to break down academic barriers and jumpstart a broader collaboration on sustainable solutions relevant for society. Also targeting businesses and policy makers, the Congress aims to provide a platform for science-policy interface relevant for global challenges.

The University of Cambridge is a member of IARU - the International Alliance of Research Universities - and regularly takes part in collaboration with research-intensive peer institutions as a result.

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New social media platform

January 2014

University of Cambridge staff and students can now keep up with the Environment and Energy Section on Facebook! We'll be sharing upcoming events and opportunities, and link to relevant information that you might find interesting.

Like us on Facebook to stay up to date

Cambridge passes audit to earn EMS Silver Award

13th December 2013

The University of Cambridge's environmental management system (EMS) passed its latest audit on 13th December, meaning that we now hold the EcoCampus Silver Award. EcoCampus is a staged process towards achieving ISO 14001, the international EMS standard. The scheme is helping Cambridge to systematically identify, evaluate, manage and improve our environmental performance and practices. We'll be working towards the Gold Award later in 2014!

New toner cartridge recycling point

3rd December 2013

Jamie Brittain, Sidgwick Facilities Site Supervisor, has driven forward a new collection point for used toner cartridges on the Sidgwick Site. Nearby departments are welcome to use the box for their toner recycling needs! Find it in the Sidgwick waste compound, behind the Buttery Cafe.

Read more about recycling and waste at Cambridge:

Green Impact launched for the Cambridge Colleges

20th November 2013

Green Impact, a national environmental accreditation scheme being run for the second year at the University of Cambridge, is now open to Colleges! The launch event saw University and College staff, students and Bursars getting excited about bringing the staged improvement challenge to the Cambridge Colleges. Working alongside existing schemes such as low-carbon catering schemes and the CUECS Green League Table, Green Impact is now able to help the collegiate University to improve its environmental sustainability.

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Living Laboratory Annual Report released

01 November 2013

The Living Lab had an exciting first year! Find out more in its annual report to its funding body, Santander. Read about the different projects completed during the programme's first year, and about how the Living Lab was created and how it has developed. Take a look at the kind of projects that the Living Lab helps to support and find out what the Living Lab will be planning for the 2013-14 academic year.

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Living Lab 2014 Seed Award launched!

7th November 2013

At the Environment and Energy Section we are always keen to hear your ideas and to support projects to make the University more sustainable - and now we have funding available for you to make your ideas a reality! The Living Lab Seed Award will provide seed funding for 3-4 environmental projects with a budget of up to £750 each. Projects can focus on one particular aspect of sustainability or cover multiple themes.

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NETpositive Student Tool 2013 launched

8th October 2013

Our NETpositive Student Tool is the Environment and Energy Section’s new tool for students. It allows students to enhance their employability and explore Cambridge by finding out how best they can align their skills and interests with what is going on. Create your Action Plan before 1st November and be in the running to win a £50 Amazon voucher! Two lucky students will win the top prize, with a further 5 receiving a Cambridge Green Challenge water bottle or bike seat cover. Get started today!

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Green Impact 2013-2014 launched

10th September 2013

Green Impact 2013-2014 has now been launched and departments are able to register a team online. Green Impact is the University’s environmental accreditation scheme which encourages staff and students to work together to reduce the environmental impact of their workplace. Cambridge student? Find out what development opportunities there are for you...

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Environment and Energy Coordinator Network welcome event

10th September 2013

The new network of Environment and Energy Coordinators gathered together in September for a welcome event held by the Environment and Energy Section. Staff volunteers from across the University met at the University Centre for an induction into environment and energy issues and how they can encourage colleagues to make small changes to everyday work practices which make a big difference across the University.

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