Green Week @UoB – what did we do?

15 03 2012

Each year the University’s Sustainability in Action team organise Green Week. This year activities took place the week 5th-11th March. There were a lot of activities going on during the week and to participate in Aldrich Library hosted the Climate Connections Exhibition. In addition to this and along with St Peter’s House Library we also made some efforts to reduce energy consumption by offering some energy saving tips to our users:

  • Unplug your laptop once it is charged
  • If you can use the stairs then don’t use the lift

In addition to encouraging our users to take some energy saving action we turned on only two library catalogue PCs and the map PC per floor. We were hopeful that these small steps would make a difference to our energy consumption. Unfortunately we used more energy during Green Week than the week before! Imagine that!

I don’t know exactly why we used more energy even though we took steps to reduce our energy consumption, but if we look at the total number of people in the library over these two weeks we can see that the more people that we had in the more energy was consumed.  During the week before Green Week, 27th February to 4th March we had a total of  11824  people in the library over that week. During Green Week, 5th March to 11th March we had a total of 12467 people in the library. This could mean that more energy was consumed due to more PCs and/or laptops being used, more printing being done, increased use of vending machines, desk lights, and more transactions going through the Help Desk and Self Service machines.

We’re waiting to see how things went at St Peter’s House library and then we’ll start to come to some conclusions.

I think it’s important that we participate in this kind of University wide campaign to show that we are indeed central to the University as well that we’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint by 50% by 2015 as well as meet other sustainable development targets set out in the University’s  Sustainable Development Policy. This is another example of a collaborative project, working with colleagues in Information Services and in the Sustainable Development Unit team as well as the University’s Environmental Manager. Colleagues at St Peter’s House library shared posters they’d produced offering energy saving tips. Our Environmental Manager briefed us on using the web based programme we have to monitor our enery use and how we could use it to look at different date ranges etc. It was an interesting activity to be a part of and it may mean the resurgence of Aldrich Green Team! We’ll have a look at the report at our next planning meeting I  imagine and see where we can go from there. I wonder if it would make any difference to students if we told them how much energy we use week on week, how much it costs and what we can do to try and reduce our energy consumption, save some money and make a difference to our carbon footprint. We’ll see.

Information Services was involved in Green Week further with the grand opening of a new data centre! I went along and I know this makes me sound like a right geek, but it was pretty exciting. The result of years of work by my IT colleagues means that we’re now running a more efficient and environmentally friendly data centre. My colleague Katie Piatt got a picture of the ribbon cutting ceremony 🙂

So, there’s still a lot that can be done to make the University of Brighton a more environmentally friendly and sustainble university but we’re definitely making progress and I hope that the libraries can continue to contribute to this agenda.

If you want to know more about sustainble development at the University of Brighton please have a read about the work of the team at the Sustainable Development Coordination Unit.