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On 20 June 2013, The Chancellor, Lord Sainsbury of Turville visited the Gurdon Institute to promote and celebrate the impact of sustainability throughout the Institute and to learn about the research undertaken. During his visit he heard about the Institute’s successes in the 2012-13 Green Impact award scheme and spoke to internal energy champions to commend them on their effort to lead the way in reducing the University’s huge energy bill.


The Gurdon Institute is one of five Energy and Carbon Reduction Project (ECRP) pilot departments. They rose to the challenge of reducing their energy and carbon use by holding a 3-day exhibition to promote energy awareness, and launched an inter-lab energy reduction competition. 90% (16 out of 18) of their laboratories managed to reduce their electrical consumption during the competition.

The Institute’s behaviour change campaign caused a 19% reduction of electrical consumption within the 'workzones' (ie. laboratories, support rooms and lighting). The team behind the success have been keen to share their successes and have received national recognition for their work.

The winning lab managed an impressive 52.8% reduction, winning a cash prize and setting the challenge for the other labs. This was simply achieved by cutting out waste, without compromising the science. A web-based energy dashboard was crucial to this behavioural change because it empowered users to manage their electrical usage efficiently.

Since becoming an ECRP pilot department, the Gurdon has enthusiastically embraced several energy-saving strategies.

The Green Apple and Green Impact awards help to sustain momentum. This will always be a challenge at the Gurdon due to the turnover of staff and implementation of new technologies. However, their behaviour change campaign has so far won the following national awards:

  • Green Apple Gold Award 2012
  • Green Impact National Gold Award for Best Energy Saving
  • S-Lab Highly Commended Award 2013

Through the 2012-13 University of Cambridge Green Impact awards, the Gurdon Institute achieved the following:

  • Gold Award 2013
  • Gold Labs Award 2013
  • Environmental Hero Award to Kathy Hilton

These have all helped to raise awareness and keep boosting enthusiasm, supporting the Institute team's mantra: "small savings will make a difference"!

For more information, contact Kathy Hilton (K.Hilton@gurdon.cam.ac.uk) at the Gurdon Institute.