MANCHESTER Metropolitan University is celebrating after being named one of the UK’s greenest universities.
The University rose to 10th in the People & Planet Green League 2012 and has now risen markedly every year since 2007 when it was ranked 91st out of 145.
Vice-chancellor Professor John Brooks said: “It became clear to our team that investing early in becoming a sustainable university would yield much more in the future. We are extremely proud of the efforts of our staff and students which have propelled us to become one of the greenest universities.”
Since 2005, MMU has reduced its carbon footprint by 18.5%, and heavy investment in carbon reduction projects has helped the university to achieve huge financial savings.
Solar arrays and green roofs
Manchester Met was audited by People & Planet against 13 policy and performance criteria and scored maximum marks for environmental policy, environmental management, curriculum and staff and student engagement.
It also fared well for environmental auditing, carbon management, waste and recycling, water consumption and carbon reduction.
The proudest achievement of the year was the project ‘Shut that Sash and Save Cash’, an initiative to significantly reduce the £50,000 per year electricity bill for its John Dalton science campus by reconfiguring wasteful laboratory fume cupboards.
It has also invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in solar arrays and green roofs at its All Saints campus on Oxford Road. A further £110,000 is being invested in solar energy at the Crewe campus.
All university buildings are strictly monitored by an energy rating scheme, while the University’s new £75million Business School and Student Hub incorporates many new ‘green technologies including rainwater recycling, borehole cooling and heating.
An annual 'Zero Waste' project, involving over 4,000 students in MMU and private halls of residence recycles hundreds of tonnes of clothes, shoes, CDs, plastics, books and appliances.
The University also runs the most successful behaviour change campaign in UK higher education, with more than 1,300 staff signed up to reduce waste and energy use in their daily routines.
Louise Hazan, lead researcher for People & Planet, said: “Despite intense pressures on university budgets, this year's results show how universities are increasingly aware that going green both helps save money and enhances the quality of education they can offer their students.
Low carbon economy
"The likes of Manchester Met have set a new benchmark for sustainability, shifting away from 'business as usual' to help deliver a skilled low carbon economy for the future.”
An internal survey, earlier this year showed 94% of students ‘satisfied’ with MMU’s performance in creating an eco-friendly environment.
Tunde Adekoya, president of MMU Student’s Union, said: “It’s really positive that MMU has moved up into the top ten in the Green League this year. As a city Manchester is very sustainably-aware and progressive, and students here have high expectations that their university should share those values.”
The People & Planet Green League 2012ranks 145 UK universities – awarding them a First, 2:1, 2:2, Third, or Fail. This year 14 failed and a further 8 ‘did not sit the exam’, due to lack of data. 46 were ranked as First Class.