Celebrating the greening of our colleges during Responsible Business Week

BITC Responsible Business Week 2016 banner image

It’s Responsible Business Week this week and we’re celebrating the myriad ways that further education colleges are going about the task of acting as responsible businesses.

A significant number of new state-of-the-art teaching and learning campuses have added to colleges’ estates over the last few years, whilst some existing campuses have had a facelift.  In taking to the task of building the future, colleges have sought to lead by example with responsible energy use, biodiversity enhancements, and learning opportunities for a greener future taking on key roles in shaping developments.

For example:

  • Cardiff and Vale College’s new city centre campus is sited close to public transport links, built to Excellent BREEAM standards with 40% on site generation of energy including the largest photovoltaic canopy in Wales, boasts a biodiversity-enhancing wildflower meadow and a ‘green corridor’.
  • Coleg Cambria’s efforts in surpassing all its sustainability targets have been recognised with the award of two prestigious prizes: the UK Public Service Sustainable Award for Education and the Carbon Trust Energy Management Standard accreditation – which means the college is the first education institution in the UK to reach both the Carbon Trust Waste and Energy Management standards.
  • NPTC Group of Colleges’ Llandarcy Academy of Sport has a new roof-mounted display of solar photovoltaic panels powering its dedicated sport and public services campus, including the many classrooms and IT suites, training and fitness areas, the sports hall and arena even the treadmills in the gym. A plan to extend the project to the other campuses is also in the pipeline with the Neath Campus hopefully being the next to take on solar energy.
  • Coleg Sir Gâr is also investing in solar photovoltaics electrical systems throughout the whole of its Llanelli Graig campus, with further developments in the pipeline for its Pibwrlwyd campus.
  • Grŵp Llandrillo Menai was presented with the ‘Contribution to Skills and Training’ award at the Wales Green Energy Awards 2015 for its work in the renewable energy economy and the Energy Island programme. It also boasts the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Centre for Wales (RESCW) and a Wind Turbine Training Centre at its Rhos-on-Sea campus, and the Meirionnydd Centre for Renewable Developments (CaMDA) at its Dolgellau campus.
  • Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone has become home to over 15,000 bees as part of the Pollinators for Life project.  In addition, the college scooped the title Most Sustainable Organisation in Education in the  Public Sector Sustainability Awards  last year, and at this year’s awards, it was also Highly Commended in the Best Waste/Recycling Project category.
  • Bridgend College won the inaugural Sustain Wales Award and was successful in its re-certification for the Corporate Health Standard at gold level last year, and is currently preparing for the Platinum Award. Further, the college has achieved the Gold level of the Welsh Green Travel Plan Awards and was the first in Wales to join the River of Flowers project for biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Since its build in 2013, The College Merthyr Tydfil has made a significant and distinctive contribution to the local community, initiating a broad range of partnerships to drive forward skills development and community regeneration and open up the college for community use.  A number of college facilities and rooms are now used on a daily and weekly basis for community groups and activities, including hair and beauty treatments, weekly sports training sessions, community group meetings, local MP surgeries, strength and conditioning gym sessions and much more. Shortlisted for a prestigious RICS Wales Community Benefit Award, we’ll find out whether it nets the prize on 19 May at the awards ceremony.

About Claire Roberts

Claire.roberts [a] colegaucymru.ac.uk
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