How Can I...?

Reduce my energy consumption and carbon impact

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Every little helps:

  1. Turn off your PC, both the computer and the monitor, when not in use
  2. Turn off other appliances when not in use, especially over holidays
  3. Do not overcool or overheat buildings and rooms – especially if there are manual controls
  4. Open windows on warmer days and put clothes on before turning on heating
  5. Do not overfill the kettle and boil water with the pan’s lid on
  6. Choose sustainable travel options

For more ideas, see the Energy Toolkit.

Student Switch Off was launched for the first time in 2013 at the University of Oxford and had some of the best engagement results from any of the participating universities, the scheme will continue in 2014.

Green Impact is a departmental award scheme which includes lots of ideas and suggestions for staff to make energy savings in their working environment.

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Contribute to biodiversity

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Check out the Biodiversity Toolkit, to find out ways that you can get involved in Biodiversity initiatives across the University. 

  • Look out for and support surveys, workshops and talks
  • Look on the events pages for relevant workshops and events
  • Support local Oxfordshire food and growing projects like OxGrow,  OxCo-op and Cultivate
  • Green Impact is a departmental award scheme which includes a number of criteria relating to biodiversity
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Purchase sustainably

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If you are thinking about purchasing a new product for yourself or your department:

  • Consider whether an item is really required, could you reuse or mend?
  • Apply and encourage others to apply the sustainable procurement strategy, consider the life cycle of the product
  • At meetings use tap water and consider the sustainability of the food purchased
  • Join and support Green Impact which has a section about procurements and encourages departments to consider fair trade and recycled choices among others

For more information regarding purchasing within the University please visit the purchasing website.

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Travel sustainably

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There is a great deal that can be changed at an individual level. It’s crucial that we, as staff and students, use transport in a conscious way, especially considering the benefits it can bring, both financially and to the environment. As well as choosing better transport methods we can look to reduce the need for travel for example by making use of video conferencing facilities.

Some important steps you can personally take to reduce the University’s carbon footprint from transport usage include:

  • Inform visitors and guests about alternatives to driving or make use of video conferencing and other facilities
  • If you drive, share your car. You can also take steps to drive efficiently, for instance avoid heavy breaking to reduce fuel consumption
  • Green Impact is a departmental award scheme with lots of travel ideas for you to help yourself and colleagues green their transport options. For example the Language Centre created a display from an old bike to communicate cycling information, they then fixed the bike and it is now available as a departmental pool bike

See how easy it is to switch!

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Reduce waste

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  • Familiarise yourself with the University’s Waste Recycling Guide
  • Follow the waste hierarchy: the most favourable options are prevention, reduction and reuse, the least favourable is landfill. The higher up the waste hierarchy the better. Here are some questions to consider: Do you really need to create the waste in the first place, for example, if you are buying something new do you really need it?
    • Reduce: Do you need the quantity identified or can you buy materials with recyclable content? Can you use materials more efficiently for example if you print, print double sided
    • Reuse: Can it be repaired or upgraded or can someone else use it?
    • Recycle: If you cannot prevent, reduce or reuse the waste segregate the waste to facilitate its recovery
  • If it cannot be recycled, waste can be incinerate and energy recovered from it. The least favourable option is disposal to landfill.
  • Green Impact is a departmental award scheme run for staff and supported by students. It has a number of ways for you and your department to reduce waste, use materials wisely and reduce costs.

 If you would like to order stickers for your external bins please contact Select Environment Ltd on oxford@selectenviro.co.uk. For other enquires contact wastemanagement@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Hazardous Waste 

For information regarding the disposal of hazardous waste please contact the Safety Office.

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Reduce water consumption

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Every little helps:

  1. Report dripping taps
  2. Report any leaks or suspected leaks
  3. Don't use distilled or de-ionised water when it is not required as it is energy intensive to produce
  4. Dont wash utensils, cups or vegetables under running taps.Low cost water saving devices are available to cut water consumption in wash rooms

Make use of water efficient equipment:

  • Battery operated automatic urinal flush controls cost about £200 and the payback is about 9 months
  • Devices to reduce the flush volume from WC cisterns are available in the form of dams (payback 8 months) or water displacement devices ('Hippos' or 'Hogs' free from Thames Water 0845 9200 800
  • Push taps with a timed on period to regulate flow. (payback 1 year)
  • In-line restrictors to reduce the maximum water flow, suitable for taps and process cooling systems. (payback 8 months)

Green Impact - is a departmental award scheme which assists the local implementation of positive environmental and social changes. For further information on saving water at home please visit the Thames Water website.

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