Swansea University goes green as it reaches the final of the 2016 Green Gown Awards

Swansea University has shown that it has sustainability at the top of its agenda with three of its “green” initiatives selected for the final of the Green Gown Awards 2016.

Swansea University was one of  over 60 education institutions from across the UK with motivational and inspiring sustainability projects announced by The Environmental Association for Universities & Colleges (EAUC) as finalists of the Green Gown Awards 2016 - all vying for the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the tertiary education sector.

The University was shortlisted in the Student Engagement, Facilities and Services and Built Environment categories.

Green Gown AwardsThe project selected in the Student Engagement category is the comprehensive student Sustainability and Wellbeing engagement programme – Swell. Through SWell our students have signed up and become part of our community for sustainable change and made a multitude of contributions. Through SWell these student partners have helped the University improve its performance in areas such as waste and recycling, energy efficiency, sustainable and active commuting and personal wellbeing.

With a brand new campus 6 miles away our Facilities and Services project, The Incredible Journey, has encouraged students and staff to leave their cars at home and gets them travelling actively and sustainably. Forward planning, considered infrastructure, building strong partnerships and strong communications have resulted in positive behaviour change and recognised travel best practice. An increase in active travel, increased public transport use and encouraging staff travel between campuses via public transport are just a few of the outcomes from introducing new travel plans.

In the Built Environment category our Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) building, based on the new Bay Campus, has been selected for the Green Gown Final because it has won the accolade of being named the First BREAM Outstanding Building in Wales. The £12.6m outstanding research facility is the centrepiece of Swansea University’s research into renewable and alternative energy production and will provide a focus in this innovative and important field. High environmental performance is fundamental to the design; its orientation, layout and natural ventilation help to achieve passive low energy. In addition it incorporates a micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit as well as solar PV, rainwater harvesting and full LED lighting.  

Dr Heidi Smith, Head of Sustainability and Staff Wellbeing at Swansea University was delighted with the news that the University has been selected for the final she said: “Competition has been fierce for the 2016 awards and I am delighted that our University has been selected as finalists in three categories for the first time. These important awards recognise the hard work being implemented by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sector to achieve high levels of sustainability.

“The opposition is strong but we will endeavour to showcase to the judges the important role that sustainability plays in the way that our dual campuses provide an environment of exploration and discovery, offering the right balance of excellent teaching and research to its students in enviable parkland and beach front settings.”