Sustainability, and specifically our performance in Green Impact, is a key part of delivering the Sustainable Estate Key Performance Area in the UCL Library Services Strategy 2019-22.
The Library Services Sustainability Committee, which I chair as Director of Operations, co-ordinates Library Services’ Green Impact submission and other sustainability initiatives, including:
- Raising awareness of environmental issues in the workplace and to encourage and support staff in making their working practices more sustainable.
- Working within UCL’s developing strategy on sustainability.
- Monitoring implementation of the Library Services’ Environmental Statement.
- Ensuring the effective communication of environmentally friendly working practices via internal newsletters and webpages.
UCL Green Impact
Library Services takes part in the annual UCL Green Impact (an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students). 19 Library teams participated in the Green Impact scheme this year, and collected a record array of awards in the 2019 Green Impact Awards ceremony.
This is testament to the outstanding work of Green Champions and colleagues throughout the department who are taking the initiative to reduce waste and energy consumption and to promote a sustainable environment at work.
Six Bronze Awards
Central Library Services (departmental award); Main Library; Science Library; Queen Square Library; Student Centre; Eastman Dental Institute Library
Seven Silver Awards
Institute of Education Library; Royal Free Library; Senate House Library; Institute of Orthopaedics Library; Bartlett Library; Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library; Institute of Ophthalmology Library
Six Gold awards
Language and Speech Science Library; Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries; Cruciform Hub; School of Pharmacy Library; Institute of Archaeology Library; Wickford Stores
Previous Project Awards:
SSEES Library team focused on educating students and staff on the problems associated with plastic after discovering that a vast amount of plastic is washed up on Eastern European shores. The team have collected plastic, screened films and hosted workshops on the topic, and built a statue out of bottles in the library to raise awareness.
Royal Free Medical Library organised a variety of events from Meat Free Mondays to trips to ByWaters recycling centre.
School of Pharmacy Library created a medicinal garden. Plants from the garden will be used in the teaching at the School.
Other Sustainable Activities Across the Sites
LASS Library has hosted Fairtrade bake-off events, they also manage a flourishing collection of plants and even installed a bug hotel in their courtyard.
Queen Square Library has organised a series of walks as part of RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch.
Senate House Library co-ordinated recycled stamp collection boxes (for RNIB) across Library sites.
- The Liaison and Skills team has been sending withdrawn and unwanted books to a charity called Book Rescuers. In the last 4 years alone, we have sent over 900 boxes, a mixture of weeding and donations.
- Global Climate Strike: a group of Library staff showed their support for the global climate strike by joining colleagues and students in UCL Front Quad.
UCL Student Centre
UCL opened the Student Centre in February 2019, a state-of-the-art building managed by Library Services and providing 1,000 new learning spaces exclusively for UCL students. The Student Centre delivers on the commitment in UCL 2034 to invest in high-quality learning resources for students on campus and to provide high-quality student services that support health and wellbeing and enable students to focus on their studies.
Library Services contributed to the design and development of the project and worked with the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs), Estates and the Students’ Union to engage with students and ensure that the building provides an outstanding environment to learn and engage with the resources and support which are available at UCL. Students involved in the consultation emphasised the importance of sustainability, and the Student Centre has achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating which reflects exceptional environmental, social and economic sustainability performance.
Key services and facilities:
- Open 24/7, all year round
- 1,000 learning spaces for individual study and group working/ project working.
- Student Enquiry Centre on Level 1 offers advice to current students on student records enquiries, fees, funding and much more.
- The Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team is also based in this area.
- ISD Service Desk
- 300 All-in-one Desktop@UCL workstations
- 156 Laptop Loans
- Print@UCL devices on each floor for printing, scanning and copying.
- Quiet Contemplation Rooms and Ablution Facilities
- Card-controlled Lockers
Key sustainability features:
- ‘Passive first’ approach to design based on highly efficient building fabric which helps to regulate temperature and minimize energy use
- Projected 35% reduction in building carbon emissions compared to Building Regulations requirements
- Approximately 400m2 of photovoltaics (electric solar panels) on the roof provide clean, renewable energy
- A ground source heat pump system linked to deep boreholes provides ‘free’ summer cooling and also supports heating during the winter
- Windows automatically open to naturally ventilate the building in the spring and autumn
- Efficient sanitary fittings reduce water consumption by more than 50% compared to equivalent buildings
- Healthy and productive study spaces, optimising daylight, indoor air quality and providing a comfortable internal climate
- Highly durable materials will help to minimise resource use associated with maintenance and repairs
- Biodiversity enhancements include planting in the Japanese Garden and a green roof which will also have a positive influence on the microclimate
Further information can be found here.
About the Author
Ben Meunier is the Director of Operations at UCL Library Services.