EcoCampus is an Environmental Management System (EMS) and award scheme that has been designed specifically for universities in the UK. It aims to aid institutions in moving towards environmental sustainability through good operational and management practices.
Newman has been awarded with the Gold stage of EcoCampus for the second time after a re-audit in October 2017. Newman has now began working towards the Platinum award. EcoCampus allows universities to identify, evaluate, manage and improve their environmental performance and practices across the campus.
CAFOD Livesimply Award
In May 2017 Newman University was the first university to be awarded with the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) Livesimply award, this was delivered by the Chaplaincy Department and the award recognises our commitment and actions to live simply, to live sustainable with creation and to live in solidarity with the poor.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
Newman secured a £150,000 grant from the Revolving Green Fund and has used this to fund intelligent lighting and upgrading the boilers. Our intention is to use the savings from the Revolving Green Fund (estimated to be £35,000 per year) on more sustainable projects. We approved a Carbon Management Plan in March 2011, and we committed to reduce our carbon footprint by 30% by 2015 and by 43% by 2020. We reached our target for 2015 and will continue being energy efficient to reach our 2020 target. To reduce consumption further, we plan to use spaces more efficiently, particularly at evenings and weekends.
Elements that are included in the calculation of Newman’s carbon footprint include:
We now have solar panels installed on two of the buildings at Newman – McAuley building and St Chad building and we now produce 10% of our own electricity on campus by using Solar PV. Our new accommodation block has a small microchip (combining heat and power) which produces a further 7kw from supplying hot water and heating to the building.
Environmentally Friendly Publications
Our prospectus is produced using paper which contains post-consumer waste, pre-consumer waste and product from well-managed forests.
Newman has introduced 18 reserved staff car parking spaces for car sharers and 18 parking spaces on the student car park for car sharers. If anyone wishes to join a car sharing group, please visit www.liftshare.com for more information. We encourage all staff and students to use alternative modes of transport (through the Travelwise scheme) and will continue to work with Birmingham City Council to achieve this through the development of our Travel Plan.
The University promotes sustainable travel wherever possible. We have secure places for people to lock up their bicycles and we have regular events where we promote cycling to Newman, walking, car sharing and public transport.
During the year we host at least one “cycle to work” day/week. This is usually held as part of the national Cycle to Work Week and there are usually incentives to encourage staff and students to take part. We are currently in the process of adding cycle routes and times onto our website for those wishing to cycle to Newman from different areas.
There is the option for staff to purchase a bicycle as part of a Cycle to Work scheme.
We have undertaken intensive landscaping improvements across the campus. These improvements will continue as part of the new buildings and refurbishments. This work will ensure that we are giving our students the best experience possible during their studies whilst making sure we are keeping up to date with best practice with regard to landscaping.
In between buildings there are a variety of open spaces and courtyards which provide a pleasant setting for staff and students to spend time, including more peaceful areas, such as around the pond in front of Edgbaston Halls of Residence. The landscaping includes many mature trees and year round planting gives a colourful backdrop to the buildings.
Newman University’s landscaping includes various species of trees placed around our campus. Should it be necessary to remove a tree, as specified within Newman University’s environmental policy, it is replaced with an additional 3 trees.
We have a variety of fruit trees at our campus, these include apple, pear and plum. Fruit grown on campus is used within our Catering department.
Tree Planting Events
During our 2017 “Green Week” we gave out or planted on site 250 Norwegian Spruce trees. These were taken away by staff or students to be planted in their own homes or gardens with any that were left being planted around the Newman campus. This was the first time an event like this was held on campus and was received very well and gathered positive feedback.
We have 7 composting areas on site and these are primarily maintained by on-site contractors. These are all located in relevant areas of the campus. This enables all of the grounds waste from the flowerbeds, cuttings from trees and shrubs to be composted. The resulting compost then gets recycled and returned out into our grounds and flowerbeds.
Recycling Our Waste
Since 2011 we have continued to recycle. In 2011 Newman had 2 skips being emptied on a daily basis by Birmingham City Council. Since then, as a result of recycling paper, cardboard, plastics and bottles Newman now only has one skip which is emptied once a week. This is a reduction of 90% which is an incredible result. Savings and revenues made from selling recyclable materials on the open market are re-invested into other green projects approved by the Environmental Committee.
A Giving Campus
Unwanted goods such as clothing, kitchenware and bric-a-brac from our Halls of Residence are donated to a local charity for homeless people or the PDSA. Used blankets are donated to Birmingham Dogs Home.
Newman is committed to promoting the broader understanding and awareness of Fairtrade, poverty and the developing world. Newman has been awarded Fairtrade status since 2007 and this reflects Newman’s mission which is based on respect for others, social justice and equity. Both Newman’s Sanctuary Café and Atrium Café sell a range of Fairtrade coffee, tea and chocolate and it is standard procedure for Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar to be served in meetings across campus. Each year, with the help of the Students’ Union, we take part in Fairtrade Fortnight and try and encourage as many staff and students to get involved.
Around campus we have several different places where we are growing our own produce and this is mirrored through some of our current contractors on site also creating small vegetable plots.
We have some areas at the moment growing berries and apples which are used in our on-site Sanctuary Café and we also plan to grow potatoes and install bee hives in the very near future. Bees would bring a great benefit to our campus, which extends past just being able to make our own honey. It would bring an increased impact on pollination across our grounds which will benefit any garden areas that we do have and positively affects the production of vegetables and fruit around campus.
In our new halls of residence we have incorporated Bat boxes and also Swift holes. These are built into the actual halls of residence walls so you cannot physically see them from the outside, unless you know what you are looking for (see opposite).
Bats play an important part in our environment as they will only eat insects! So they will not bite humans but they do clear the air of mosquitos and other similar insects, meaning they keep the bugs away from our ponds, our plants and ourselves. They can also help with pollination and seed dispersal. They are an endangered species and are protected all across the UK. Bats are a vital part of our native wildlife, accounting for almost a third of all mammal species in the UK and occupy a wide range of habitats, such as wetlands, woodlands, farmland, as well as urban areas. They can tell us a lot about the state of the environment, as they are top predators of common nocturnal insects and are sensitive to changes in land use practices. The pressures they face – such as landscape change, agricultural intensification, development, and habitat fragmentation are also relevant to many other wildlife species, making them excellent indicators for the wider health of the UK’s wildlife.