New Year’s Resolution – Active Travel

Why not make Sustainable Travel one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

In autumn last year, Sarah Dennis, from the School of Earth and Environment, completed 1 year of run commuting to the University. This isn’t the usual run commute though because she brings her daughter along with her in the pram!

Her daughter, Bethany, attends the Bright Beginnings nursery located on campus, and when Sarah’s eldest child moved from the nursery to attend school, she took the opportunity to change her commute to become more sustainable.

Sarah was also looking to complete regular exercise but didn’t want it eating into her family life; therefore using her commute to exercise was the perfect solution. Sarah’s commute is 5km from Meanwood into the University campus and so far she has ran over 300km in 12 months from commuting!

Sarah explained how she was not an experienced runner beforehand “I’d ran the odd 10k but nothing serious. Running to work improved my overall fitness and led to me running a half marathon earlier this year, something I’d always wanted to do but couldn’t find time to train.” She also discussed the benefits around health and wellbeing “it’s been fantastic for my mental wellbeing, I can’t think about work when I’m running so it completely clears my head after a busy day at University”.

Like other people at the University Sarah was tired of sitting in congested traffic during her commute to campus and was concerned about the increasing air pollution around Leeds. One of the University’s Living Lab projects has been looking into the levels of air pollution on campus and in the city, ahead of the Clean Air Zone coming into force, for more information on this project click here.

Sarah’s advice for people thinking about commuting in this way “find a suitable route that is not too busy with pedestrians and make sure you have the right pram, with a locking front wheel, though you don’t have to spend loads of money on a running pram as I bought mine second hand for £20. A bike light or two have proved very useful as well”. It has been a huge learning experience for Sarah and something she has been able to share with her daughter “Bethany often shouts at passes by or tells me to run faster. I’ve also been able to teach her about nature and the changing seasons on the way as well seeing some incredible sunrises”.

Sarah takes advantage of the facilities on campus to promote active travel by using the showers provided in her department and leaving towels, spare clothes etc. on campus. Check out our interactive campus map to find were your nearest showers, secure storage sheds and maintenance facilities are located.

If you would like to speak to Sarah about her run commute and gain some advice on completing a similar journey, please get in touch via the Sustainability email address.

Don’t turn into a Grinch this holiday break: follow our simple steps to make the holiday break so much better.

1. Too many tins of soup left? – Donate!

Give it away instead of it wasting away

Clear out your fridge and donate any leftover food. Why not give it to housemates or friends that are staying in Leeds over the break? Or simply drop it off at the FD Building on campus and  any of the university residences’ reception (non- perishable foods only) where it will be given to help others this Christmas.

2. Room a mess? – Take your stuff home.

A quick way to declutter

If you have too many things lying around that you didn’t use or need this semester, take it home with you or donate it to a British Heart Foundation donation bank (on campus and in halls) to help you declutter. Remember you’ll be getting new things so make space for them!
Give yourself the perfect Christmas gift – a nice clean room!

4. Shut down what you don’t need and save money.

Switch it off!

No one wants to come home to crazy electricity bills after the break. Shut down what you don’t need but keep a few lights on for security purposes. Treat yourself to a light timer plug!  Not everyone has control of their heating, but keep it low if you can!

 

5. Take your valuables home/ keep them out of sight.

Keep it out of sight. You don’t know who is watching.

Keep your belongings safe. Take your valuables home and keep anything you’ve left behind out of sight!

6. Staying in Leeds? Join in the festivities.

Take a break from revision (or procrastination)

It’s freezing out there, but don’t stay cooped up inside all day. Take a break from your busy schedule of procrastination – I mean doing your assignments… Join in the festivities and check out the annual #UniLeedsChristmas events!

 

Are you staying in Leeds over the winter break? Christmas in Leeds is an annual programme for all students and…

Posted by University of Leeds on Monday, November 26, 2018

7. Most importantly have a great Christmas break and see you in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Roger Stevens Pond Development

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed changes to the Roger Stevens Pond. The development was part of a multidisciplinary, collaborative project supported by the University’s Living Lab. The University’s Sustainability Services Team worked with Estates Services, School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to transform the cooling pond into a promoter for biodiversity and scientific research. We are also installing water quality monitoring equipment at the pond at the Brownlee Centre to extend the scope and potential for the project. There is a hope that once the neutrality of the water is in balance we will introduce fish to the pond. Don’t worry about the ducks – they have flown south for the winter and we await their return to their new home!

This project came about due to the operational need to improve the pond, to reduce operational costs and to increase biodiversity value. There are further benefits to come from this development scheme; enhancing biodiversity and research opportunities. The pond will be monitored throughout the year by PhD student, Dan Warren, from the School of Biology. The sensors installed by Sustainability Services and the School of Geography will provide data for research across a number of Schools and Faculties. By working in collaboration with Estates and Sustainability, anybody can use the pond as a living lab for their research. This might be dissertations, assessed projects or even fieldwork modules.

The Leeds Living Lab is a programme coordinated by the Sustainability Services and drives the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. The Living Lab has already brought together over 140 operational and academic staff and students to identify and deliver sustainable solutions through research and innovation, using the University campus as a test bed. This allows us to create real world solutions on a campus or city-wide scale. In the last year interdisciplinary teams from across the University have developed nine collaborative projects and created ten individual student project and dissertation partnerships. We encourage staff and students to make the most of our campus and consider how their research or studies might benefit from using the campus as a test bed.

 

Living Lab Project Call: Single-use plastics at the University of Leeds

Following the University’s recent pledge to become single-use plastic free and the launch of the #2023PlasticFree campaign, Leeds Living Lab has funding available to support research and innovation projects that seek solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds (UoL) and Leeds University Union (LUU). Applications are open until Friday 1st February 2019.

UoL and LUU have together pledged to become single-use plastic free by 2023, with catering and office spaces achieving the target by 2020 and additional years to address more challenging areas such as laboratory equipment.

Collaboration and the use of the University as a test-bed are at the heart of the Leeds Living Lab and these funds will be used to provide match funding and seedcorn funding in support of projects which seek solutions to single-use plastics across the University through academic and non-academic partnerships.

Applications will be assessed by members of the Sustainability Steering Group based on the following criteria:

  1. Fit to the principles of the Leeds Living Lab
  2. Alignment with the University’s Sustainability Strategy
  3. Potential to support the University’s single-use plastic pledge
  4. Quality of potential outputs and impacts

We welcome applications led by University of Leeds academics, students (including UG, PG and PhD), research staff (including postdoctoral researchers), and professional and managerial staff across all Schools and Services of the University, and particularly those that develop new interdisciplinary collaborations. Students must have the permission of their supervisor to make the application.

Funding is split into the following two categories:

 

  1. Collaborative research project seedcorn or match funding

Funding is available for research and/or trials of innovative solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited to development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.

Funding requested must not exceed £2000 and cannot be used to pay overheads.

Please complete the application form at http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/ and return by email to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk before midnight on Friday 1st February 2019.

 

  1. Student curricular project grants (i.e. a dissertation or assessed project as part of an UG/PG module)

Funding is available to support student projects focused on solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited dissertations or assessed work on the development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.

Funding requested must not exceed £500 and students must ensure that they have the permission of their supervisor before applying.

Please complete the application form at http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/ and return by email to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk before midnight on Friday 1st February 2019.

All enquiries should be directed to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk

 

 

Sustainable Campus Map

Welcome to our brand-new Sustainability Campus Map! Here we have documented all the projects going on around campus. It also shows where the available amenities are on campus.

You can remove layers from the map by clicking the eye icons on the menu, this makes it easier to find something specific.

 

Launch of Leeds Climate Commission

Leeds Climate Commission is a city wide partnership with membership drawn from over 30 key public, private and third sector organisations. Led initially by the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council, its aim is to bring people and organisations together to shape Leeds’ transition to a low carbon, climate resilient city and to mirror the strategic priorities of the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC) at a city scale.

Chaired by Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, the launch event will open with a keynote speech from Lord Deben, Chair of the UKCCC. This will be followed by presentations on the Commission’s achievements to date, its plans for the coming year and how you and your organisation can get involved. We’ll wrap up with a Q and A session with our panel and end with a wine reception and exhibition.

This event is open to all and free to attend, however please register through the Eventbrite link here 

Sustainable Garden – Yorkshire in Bloom Preparation

Calling all Staff, Students and local people: The University has been entered for the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and we need your help to make the garden look its best.

You can come along for a short time or the whole session, no experience needed.  There’s always some produce to take home and lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn new skills, share ideas and get stuck in to growing tasty organic vegetables.  It’s a great way to chill out, do something new and meet new friends in a beautiful space.

All are welcome and refreshments are provided. We also provide tools, tea and snacks and there are toilets nearby.

If you aren’t sure where we are text/call 07706643035.

Easter Shutdown 2017

With Easter fast approaching we’ve come up with some suggestions on how you can support the University in reducing energy consumption whilst the University is closed.

Offices:

Where possible, turn off and unplug all IT and office equipment which can be shut down over Easter including computers, monitors, speakers and televisions, as well as chargers and sockets.  Please also ensure appliances are not left on standby.

Turn off and unplug all kitchen equipment including kettles, coffee machines, microwaves, toasters, electric water heaters & water coolers, dishwashers etc.

Heating and ventilation systems will be switched off or onto set-back for the Easter period, unless operational / research requirements require that systems remain on.

Don’t forget to check communal areas, shared offices and meeting rooms.

Top tip: If lighting is regularly left on in communal areas let us know by emailing sustainability@leeds.ac.uk. If it is suitable we may be able to add automatic sensors, therefore solving the problem.

Labs:

Where you are able to, please turn off shared and personal equipment, including ovens, gas chromatographs, hotplates, autoclaves, shakers and centrifuges.

Turn off fume cupboards where it is safe to do so. If you need to store volatile chemicals, try to consolidate them in a single cupboard and turn the rest off.  Keep sashes down as far as possible.

We understand that some equipment is required to maintain safety or is being used for research purposes and therefore needs to remain on.

Top tip: If you have inefficient equipment that can be replaced to deliver significant energy savings we may be able to help. Please contact sustainability@leeds.ac.uk with any suggestions.

Thank you for your support and have a great Easter holiday.

School of Healthcare Sustainability Survey

As part of the School of Healthcare’s Green Impact Silver Award, the team conducted a staff survey to help understand the attitudes and views on sustainability within the department. This would also provide a baseline of information with which to work with in future years. The questions focused around attitudes, barriers and recommendations and 43 responses were received (which was almost 20% of School staff). As the staff play an important role in meeting sustainability targets, it is beneficial to make sure that they are involved in the decision making process in an attempt to making any initiatives as successful as possible.

 

Overall, the survey was well received and provided a wide range of comments that will be useful for the department when deciding and implementing new sustainability initiatives. The results suggested that staff who answered this survey see sustainability as important and necessary; with most defining it as minimising use of resources, protecting the environment and thinking long term. When asked how they believed they contributed to sustainability at work, the two most common responses were associated with recycling and printing, indicating a focus could be put on other areas.

 

Staff felt the department could be doing more to be sustainable, and provided an interesting range of recommendations on how to do this, including light usage reminders, collecting food waste in kitchens, encouraging more remote working, better communications and changing some working practices and attitudes.

The recommendations on how the School could be more sustainable also seem to be linked to the barriers that are perceived – primarily, school processes, working practices and attitudes, time, lack of communication and issues with facilities.

The most cited barrier that stops staff from being sustainable was time, with many responses stating they are too busy to think about how they can improve their actions. The results showed that the best way to encourage the staff to be more sustainable is to demonstrate the positive impact they are having by taking these alternative actions. The survey also showed that 70% of the respondents were aware of the department’s Food Bank partnership, showing there is potential for improved communication as it is a scheme the department has really tried to push. Email was by far the most preferred method of notification about what the department is doing in relation to sustainability.

 

The information gained showed there was a definite interest in sustainability within the department, with people wanting to be able to do more. The results will influence our continuing work within the School and will also be a useful tool to compare year on year progress and receive continuous feedback.

Jack Clarke & Tim Knighton

How fair is Fairtrade? debate/speaker evening

An evening of informal interdisciplinary discussion about Fairtrade and its impact in the world. The fairness of Fairtrade will be examined from legal, economist and theological/philosophical perspectives, focusing on its impact in the Global South and the West. In light of International Women’s Day (8th of March), emphasis will be placed on Fairtrade’s impact on the lives of women.

This event is free and open to all. To register please follow the link HERE

We look forward to seeing you!