Aspects and Impacts

What has been the impact of sustainability initiatives at Keele.

The Keele SU Ethical and Environmental Committee and Sustainability Working Group undertake to maintain and carry forward a working policy that constantly updates and expands the environmental good practice. The E & E Committee have shown their commitment by putting into practice procedures detailed in the Environmental Policy motion updated at the February 2008 UGM.

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Activities within the Students’ Union

When holding events within the Union, more electronic promotion of events should be considered, the recycled paper should be used for leaflets, together with a message to recycle leaflet after use and preferably to only use black and white printing. Delivery of meetings/events, project information, rather than give out hand-outs, email resources electronically to avoid unnecessary printing. When catering for any event source local produce wherever possible and use food which has a minimal amount of processing involved, thus minimising energy consumption. Always source fair trade food and beverages wherever possible.

Chemical consumption

HACCP policy and COSHH guidelines are adhered to by KeeleSU and wherever possible the use of chemicals is avoided.

Depletion of Ozone Layer

Non-ozone pollutant refrigerant is used in all bottle fridges and catering fridges and freezers R134A and R404A gases are used. KeeleSU Environmental policy prohibits the use of bleach.

Energy consumption

To conserve energy - lighting and electrical equipment responsibility plans and closedown procedure plan for a Union shutdown are in operation and all staff are inducted into the procedures. Stickers and posters are located around the Union to remind its occupants on the need to conserve energy. Timer switches wherever they can be installed are used on all appliances throughout the Union. Lobbying of the University to help with funding in changing all Keele SU stage halogen lighting to LED lighting to both save energy and help lower the temperature within the Keele SU Ballroom is ongoing. Occupancy sensor lighting is installed where possible whenever refurbishment of areas takes place. Low energy lighting is stipulated in all refits.

Fuel consumption

Where possible products are purchased from vetted suppliers dictated through the National Trade Directory, purchasing consortium NUSSL. Products that cannot be purchased this way are sourced wherever possible by local suppliers.

Hazardous waste generation

The duty of care waste handling and transfers are followed and obtained with all KeeleSU hazardous waste. Up-to-date and applicable environmental legislation is kept in the University’s Estates Department environmental laws and the special waste regulations are carefully monitored.

Human resources

The waste management and recycling procedure are included in the Staff Handbook. All staff are inducted on these procedures and also have a duty to follow the electrical equipment and lighting responsibility plan which proves a valuable tool for day to day work procedures. Staff are encouraged to report maintenance work that is needed and KeeleSU employs its own maintenance person. Well documented logbooks are kept so that all maintenance work is recorded. Keele SU management has made provisions for staff cycling to work. Bike stands are provided, together with showers and locker facilities. Staff who cycle to meetings, etc. (business travel) can claim 20p per mile expenses. Access to the University’s Occupational Health Manager regarding healthy eating, stopping smoking, management of stress, etc can be found in the KeeleSU Staff Health & Safety Handbook. Well-being and exercise programmes promoted by the University and championed by Keele SU. The invaluable being work was done by the KeeleSU’s Student Volunteering Services overseen by a member of staff which encompasses community and overseas volunteering projects with staff and students from the University. Senior management ‘s interest and taking a leading role in trying to find an alternate source of energy, rather than air conditioning to cool the KeeleSU Ballroom resulted in another member of staff putting forward an idea to use LED stage lighting to help combat heat.

Land Usage

The thermal envelope of the KeeleSU building desperately needed to be improved and any refurbishment or extension of its building throughout the coming years must result in a comfortable ambient temperature being achieved with minimal environmental and monetary running costs. The inclusion of substantial additional insulation included during the process of the re-roofing of the main roof of the Students’ Union has resulted in ensuring that the building is warmer in winter and cooling in summer. The modification of the roof falls to bring all rainwater to the rear of the building is being undertaken which will allow at a future time the possibility for surface rainwater to be captured and recycled. All roof lights and roof-level windows are being replaced with insulated polycarbonate units and aluminium double glazed frames with electrically operated ventilation. The replacement of the roof light above the Ballroom dome with new aluminium lantern type lights incorporating provision for future extract fans/ventilation and the installation of a remotely operated light exclusion blind has enabled the use of natural daylight to be utilized when needed and also the provision of roof edge protection has enabled the safe access use of the roof at all times. The refurbishment of six dilapidated garages into workable storage and workshop space at a relatively small cost, rather than the knocking down and re-building has proved a valuable asset. The creation of outside space from a litter is strewn scrubland into a seated area with honeysuckle and indigenous hedgerow and areas with plants and grasses chosen to encourage insects and wildlife which is managed by the KeeleSU and the KeeleSU Volunteering team has been hugely successful. A full arboreal survey was undertaken before work on the outside space began, ensuring that trees of importance were not removed or disturbed during refurbishment work. Bat and bird boxes within this area were installed in November 2009. Summer bedding planting 2010 and 2011 in the Outback garden area, using highly scented plants took place and proved a monumental success in encouraging bees into the garden space. A bird feeding station has been installed in the Outback area in 2011. Spring bulb planting and the inclusion of 150 cowslip plants in the Outback and the surrounding area have taken place in October 2012. Joe Turner, Keele SU President 2012/13 has been a major player in the promotion of this venture.

Noise pollution

Signage on all exits of KeeleSU about noise and its effect on the well-being and health of both human and surrounding wildlife habitats are in place. Insulation, where possible of walls within the KeeleSU Ballroom venue was undertaken to help keep noise levels down. A lobbied area has been created from the KeeleSU Ballroom area leading into the Outback has been completed. This has helped to baffle escaping external entertainment noise. The University proposed gift of additional land which can be incorporated into to the Students’ Union highly successfully Outback area will be planted with a selection of trees to be chosen by the University Estates Department and KeeleSU. This again will help to baffle evening noise pollution to surrounding areas, help increase biodiversity and it is anticipated it will also become a desirable and tranquil daytime area.

Production of C02 from electrical appliances and fire extinguishers

New electrical equipment purchased by both KeeleSU and for and behalf of KeeleSU by the University is energy efficient. Any in areas where the general public could have access are properly secured circumventing misuse.

Sourcing of products

Purchasing of goods to ensure that the calculation of whole life cycle costings, energy-efficient and ethically managed is done through the Premises Department and the Finance & General Purposes Committee. The University’s Disability Advisor and the University Estates and Buildings Department are consulted so that the legislative laws and practices are followed. Most products are purchased through the purchasing consortium of NUSSL. Office furniture is only bought from new if it carries the Forestry Stewardship Council symbol.

Waste Generation

Little of the waste generated by Keele SU is sent to landfill. Paper, cardboard, aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles are collected two or three times per week and sent for recycling. Keele SU endeavours to minimise waste and modern technology is helping, eg emails instead of paper memos, etc. However, innovative schemes and practices if feasible will continue to be taken on board to ensure that best practice is followed in the handling and disposal of generated Keele SU waste. Keele SU consistently evaluates the life cycle of products and amends relevant waste generation documents, as and when required. KeeleSU is receptive to new ideas from individuals and outside groups including Deep Green Thinking a University-led training scheme and the Keele University Recycling Committee. KeeleSU is mindful of the expense to consumers of the wasteful plastic bottled drinking water that is sold throughout campus and a drinking water fountain has been installed on the ground floor of the Students’ Union for general consumer use. KeeleSU Catering plant-based compostable coffee and teacups and compostable take- out food trays. Customers using in –house facilities are always given the option of ceramic cups and plates for all food and drink served.

Water consumption

Water-saving devices and percussion taps are fitted in all toilets within KeeleSU that have seen refurbishment work within the last 15 years. Toilets on the ground floor which have been refurbished in 2012 have been fitted with water-saving devices and touchless sensor taps. KeeleSU fully makes use of its recently updated website to inform the wider community, staff and students of environmental improvements and issues to gauge further opinions and to help procure innovative solutions. KeeleSU works closely with the University’s Environmental Manager, Huw Evans who attends the KeeleSU's Welcome Fair and is responsible for the monthly Deep Green newsletter.