Environmental timeline

In addition to the main projects listed below, the College takes every opportunity during refurbishment work and routine maintenance to reduce its environmental impact. This includes items such as energy efficient light bulbs and boiler upgrades. This timeline will be updated as further projects emerge.

October 2014

Green Week 2014

A student-run programme of activities and projects taking place in November 2014 aimed at making people who live and work in College think about how they can contribute to a more sustainable future.

Visit the Green Week page to view the programme of events.

November 2012

Green Day 2012 – A day for behavioural change in the College

Green Day 2012 – 14th November. A focal day for energy saving in the College.

Green Day is about raising awareness in the difference behavioural change can make on the environment. With particular focus on reducing gas and electricity consumption, Green Day is about rethinking the ways in which we use energy. Behavioural change is widely recognised as the single most significant way to reduce energy consumption, far exceeding the benefits of most technological initiatives. Green Day also aims to raise awareness in the carbon dioxide emissions associated with meat production in comparison to vegetarian food, with information provided in the Buttery on Green Day.

The results of Green Day 2012 are in…

  • We saved 6% on gas consumption and 4% on electricity consumption.
  • This saved £77 in one day – that’s over £28,000 annually if achieved consistently throughout the year!
  • This one day prevented 600 Kg of Carbon Dioxide being released unnecessarily from energy production - equivalent in volume to 2.5 double decker buses!

September 2012

New recycling facility on the Buttery Dining Room (BDR) patio
recycling station

As part of the College’s continued effort to increase recycling rates, St Johns opened a new recycling facility on the BDR patio for use by all College members and guests. This recycling area has receptacles for paper, card, tin, and plastic.

August 2012

Water retention technology (TerraCottem) introduced into soil as part of lawn relaying

September 2012 was time for the College to relay the lawns in Second Court, as part of routine and necessary maintenance work. This provided an opportunity to introduce a water retention technology called TerraCottem. This is estimated to increase water retention by 50% and therefore reduce water consumption, alongside other benefits to the soil and turf such as stronger root development, increased microbiological activity, and higher resistance to disease and draught stress. Incidentally, TerraCottem is present in most premiership football stadiums.

July 2012

Installation of loft insulation in all available roof space in First, Second and Third Courts

In August 2012 the College upgraded its loft insulation in the First, Second and Third Court roof space. These buildings should now require less heat input to keep these buildings at a comfortable ambient temperature, and therefore less gas is used by the boilers that supply hot water to radiators. An estimate of the gas savings is not possible at this time, with the current metering infrastructure, but an update will be given on this site in due course.

March 2012

First Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) report submitted to the Government

The first annual CRC report was submitted to the Government for chargeable carbon emissions. The College incurred a cost of approximately £46,000 from its annual emissions. CRC funds are used for long-term environmental projects by the Government.

September 2011

Solar Thermal installed on the Cripps refurbishment (G & H staircases)

As part of the Cripps G&H staircase refurbishment, the College took an opportunity to install solar thermal for hot water generation. The savings for this installation were not vast because Listed Building Regulations prevented the use of the optimum location, orientation and angle, however the College continued on an environmental basis. The College registered for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which pays out for renewable hot water generation, much like the Feed in Tariff (FiT) mentioned in the Maintenance PV system (below). The College is expecting to save approximately £1,000 per year from this installation. Actual savings will be displayed on this site in due course.

Photovoltaic (PV) installed on the Maintenance Department

Photovoltaics (PV), more commonly called solar panels, generate electricity from solar radiation. The College installed PV during the Maintenance Department refurbishment to generate an estimated 12,000 kWh of electricity per year and therefore avoid the purchase of approximately £1300 of energy. We also registered this PV array under the Government’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme, which essentially pays out for the generation of certain types of renewable electricity. Depending on sunlight hours, the College is expecting to receive around £5,822 each year from this Government scheme. Actual savings and FiT payments will be displayed on this site in due course. Unfortunately, since this installation, the Government have lowered the tariff for their FiT payments, which makes other PV installations less feasible. The College will however monitor this FiT scheme and install PV where reasonable.

August 2011

Installation of Voltage Stabilisation on the incoming electricity supplies to the Main College site

Voltage stabilisation is a technology that addresses the discrepancy between the actual electricity supply voltage and the optimum voltage that electrical equipment needs. It also deals with the fact that electricity is not ordinarily supplied in a steady level stream, as you might imagine; instead it is full of waves, surges, peaks and troughs, producing power quality problems. Voltage stabilisation drops the overall voltage entering the site and smooths the delivery. Ultimately this saves electricity. The College installed this on the two main electricity supplies to the College site with an estimated saving of 8% (£14,300 per year). The College will publish periodic actual savings on this site when these are confirmed.

March 2011

Registration for the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme

As part of the wider University, the College has been included in the Government scheme called the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. This is a mandatory scheme aimed at improving energy efficiency and associated carbon emissions in large public and private sector organisations, which account for around 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions. The scheme is intended to encourage organisations not already covered by the larger EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Within the CRC, St Johns is required to report to the Government on all carbon emissions from various sources, mainly gas and electricity, via the Office of Intercollegiate Services. The College is then charged for each tonne of emissions (currently £12/tonne) and placed in a reputational performance league table to encourage efficiency. The scheme was introduced in 2008, with registration in 2011 and the first report for emissions being submitted in April 2012.

November 2010

Green Day 2010 – A focal day for behavioural change in the College

On Thursday the 18th November 2010 St John’s College had Green Day 2010. The day was about rethinking the ways in which we use energy. The College managed to save an impressive 11% on gas and 5% on our electricity consumption. This saved almost one tonne of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) being released, which is enough to fill 230,372 two-litre bottles. This also saved £100 in just the one day. More information will follow shortly on Green Day 2012!

September 2010

Employment of the Energy Project Manager – the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)

St Johns employed an Energy Project Manager to guide the College through the new Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme (see April 2011 below) and also to develop the College’s energy reduction strategy through which many of the following initiatives have been formed (with more to follow).

March 2007

The College established an Environment Committee

As a natural progression of the earlier Environmental Working Group, the College established a  Committee in acknowledgment of the importance of environmental responsibility. The Environment Committee meets on a termly basis to discuss topical issues and on-going environment projects around the College. The committee comprises members of the JCR/SBR, interested Fellows and key members of staff. The committee is chaired by the President and reports to the College Council to ensure environmental projects get recognition and support at the highest level.

October 2006

The College established an Environmental Working Group to address environmental topics