As a leading provider of education within the region, Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) has always supported the sustainability of the local community and economy by educating generations of local people to enable them to reach their full potential.
This year, BCoT has won two prestigious Green Awards. Firstly, the College was awarded the accolade of Best Newcomer in the prestigious Green Gown Awards in recognition of the exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by the College. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the tertiary education sector.
BCoT then went on to win the Sustainable Business category in the Inspire Awards, whichcelebrate the success of local businesses and educational institutions in North Hampshire. It was the submission of the EcoBCoT strategic initiative earlier this year that secured the College as a Finalist in the Awards. The project aims to establish BCoT as a leader in the practice, promotion and training of sustainability and to embed this into its curriculum.
BCoT recognises the need to embrace sustainability in everything it does. For this reason, the College has developed EcoBCoT, a sustainability strategic initiative to deliver a whole college commitment to sustainability as well as the active engagement of learners and staff. The project will make BCoT a leader in sustainability.
EcoBCoT is a strategic initiative that started in September 2012 and has made a huge impact in its first nine months. The initiative has won praise from Ofsted and received local and trade media coverage
EcoBCoT’s aims are three-fold: BCoT will be a leader in the practice, promotion and training of sustainability; BCoT will embed sustainability in its curriculum delivery; and BCoT will operate sustainably.
The vision for this project has been led by the Principal and it benefits from strong senior management support. The college’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its new strategic plan, a revised environments policy and its business planning objectives.
The College already had a good track record of implementing sustainable initiatives prior to the launch of EcoBCoT. Examples include Fairtrade accreditation, restricting car use oflearners, financially rewarding staff not using a car parking space, installing showers and cycle racks to make cycling to the College a feasible option, Salix fundedvoltage optimisation, conversion from oil to gas powered boilers, waterless urinals, a building management system, automatic shut-down of computers, all VDUs low energy, as well as growing our own vegetables and composting.
However, the College knew it could do more and it recognised that it had missed opportunities to raise the profile of sustainability issues. EcoBCoT builds on these past achievements, and through effective promotion it gives a branding and theme to new projects, it gets people involved in bringing forward their ideas and it raises the profile of sustainability both inside and outside of the College.
The College’s £160k investment in substantial solar photovoltaic installation (400 solar pv panels) on its campus for electricity generation provides the opportunity to do something really significant and game changing in our sector and our region. This is self-funded so BCoT is demonstrating sustainability improvements can be very cost-effective and profitable.
The college has also invested in improvement waste collection and recycling facilities including waster compactor and recycling centres and the services of carbon footprint.
This project is embedding sustainable thinking and practice, and encouraging and facilitating others in the College and wider community to bring forward ideas and supporting them in implementation.
What has EcoBCoT done so far?
• Student organised sustainability conference with Maria Miller MP, local secondary schools and community groups which explored a variety of sustainable issues including water cleanliness, recycling, global warming and organic food production
• Branding of campaign developed by a BCoT apprentice showing how we embed the campaign with our learners
• Recognition by Ofsted – “environmental activities such as EcoBCoT help learners to develop an understanding of sustainability and how they care for the environment”
• Exchange visits with the University of Winchester
• All waste bins replaced with recycling units – 4.32 tonnes of recycled waste in April 2013 equal to the whole recycled volume in the previous six months
• 15,800kwh of electricity generated in the first six weeks of solar pv installation (15% of total electricity consumed)
• Press coverage and heightened awareness of BCoT’s green credentials
• Sustainability champion group formed by volunteer staff with a passion for sustainability
• £1.5m project approved to reclad, insulate and replace poor quality windows
• Plastic lid recycling with cosmetics company Lush
• Curriculum activities engaged all full-time leaners in sustainability
• Staging of a ‘Sustainability’ week as part of learners’ review and development
• Curriculum projects e.g electric car provided to the automotive department
• 21,000 sheets of paper saved in the first six months of paperless Senior Management Team and Governor meetings
• The college’s annual carbon footprint at calculated at 1430 tCO2e
• Paper use health check conducted and action plan produced
• Carbon reduction programme produced and targets set
• Visits to waster contractor’s disposal and recycling facility
• Biodiversity measures such as clearing the brook and reintroducing native wild flowers
• Establishing bee hives and a beekeeping course
• Establishment of a learner sustainability society
• Paperless operation of learning support department
• Promote the benefits of solar pv to others and assisting them in their projects
• Survey of college lighting and replacement with low energy use systems
• Further solar panels will be installed after evaluation of the operation of the initial installation
• Review of the curriculum offer to ensure we are training the next generation of learners to work in the increasingly important ‘green’ sector.
• Introduction of new course offers in Environmental Engineering and Green Deal Assessment
With over 10,000 learners registered with the College each year BCoT can have a significant impact on sustainability throughout the region. The College is committed to ensuring that its learners understand the challenges we all face in achieving a sustainable future, as well as promoting this agenda in the wider community. The college’s vision is “to inspire every leaner to succeed and excel” will ensure that each year ex-BCoT learners joining the workforce in many different sectors will recognise the importance of sustainability in business and bring new and fresh ideas to those businesses.