Wednesday, 22 February 2012

We have moved!


The Green Greenwich Sustainability Blog has now moved to the University's blogging site.

You can now find us at: 

We look forward to seeing you on our new site!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Greenwich University Green Week is Just Around the Corner

Following the success of last year’s University of Greenwich Green Week, the event is back in February 2012 with lots of great green activities! At the Green Week Fayre stalls at the Avery Hill, Greenwich and Medway Campus, staff and students will be able to learn more about the different initiatives for sustainability at the University and hear from various local organisations, departments and charities. The focus will be on how we can reduce our carbon footprint, increase recycling, reduce waste and a whole lot more!

Here's a few photos from last year to get you excited:

Students testing the School of Engineering’s bicycles generating electricity to power household items

Tasty organic treats!

The Green Gnome was of course present. Can you spot him?
Inspired by People & Planet, who organise Green Week at various universities around the country, the Sustainability Team will be hosting this year’s event at Avery Hill, Medway and Greenwich. There will be stands and stalls from a variety of University departments, local organisations, University suppliers and local charities. One stall we are particularly looking forward to our very own SWAP STALL, where people can donate their unwanted pieces of clothing, books, accessories etc. for an item in exchange. We cannot wait to see what funky items people will bring and are sure that one gnome’s unloved jumper will be another gnome’s new favourite! (This is a great excuse to get rid of that unwanted Christmas present!)

Excited about the swap stall
Come along for fun and leave just a little bit wiser on what the University and you can do to 'go green!'

For full details see below:
Avery Hill Fayre – Mon 6th February – The Dome - 10am – 2pm

Greenwich Fayre – Tues 7th February – Queen Mary Undercroft – 10am – 2pm

Medway Fayre – Thursday 9th February – Pilkington Atrium – 10am – 2pm

Avery Hill – Monday 6th The Dome 10am - 2pm:

ABM Catering - Showcasing the sustainable foods on the University of Greenwich menuSchool of Engineering - Have a go on their latest bicycle powered contraption!

Greenwich Council - Promoting the greener travel alternatives in the borough.
Bicycle Powered smoothie maker - have a go at making your very own healthy drink while burning a few calories while blitzing the fruit! - Re-discover the glories of free water

Sustrans - Charity promoting the use of sustainable transport are here to promote the virtues of walking and cycling and hoping to persuade you to become an active travel campion.

Swap Shop - bring your unwanted Christmas presents and long neglected items of clothing and swap them for something else

Student Switch Off Olympics - Get involved in the first truly great sporting event of 2012 and save some energy while you're at it!

Bywaters - Ever wandered where all your recycling goes? Bywaters will have a range of items made from University of Greenwich waste.

Transport - want to save time, money and be more environmentally friendly? Of course! Come and find out about the cheaper and greener ways of getting to campus.

Community Garden & Allotment - Ever dreamed of living the 'Good Life' but not had the land to do it? Now you can grow your own at Avery Hill - come and sign up to get your hands dirty

Greenwich – Tuesday 7th Queen Mary Undercroft 10am - 2pm

ABM Catering - Showcasing the sustainable foods on the University of Greenwich menu.

School of Engineering - Have a go on their latest bicycle powered contraption!

Greenwich Council - Promoting the greener travel alternatives in the borough.
Dr. Bike - Courtesy of the Council you can come and have your bicycle fixed for FREE - Re-discover the glories of free water

Sustrans - Charity promoting the use of sustainable transport are here to promote the virtues of walking and cycling

Greenwich Bees - Camilla (our beekeper) will be taking a group of people to see the famous University of Greenwich bees at 1pm.

Greenwich Market - Greenwich market will be having a stall to show of the best of the traders green credentials.

Swap Shop - bring your unwanted Christmas presents and long neglected items of clothing and swap them for something else

Stockwell Street - Find out how the University is working towards making the new building as green as can be.

Medway – Thursday 9th Pilkington Atrium 10am - 2pm

ABM Catering - Showcasing the sustainable foods on the University of Greenwich menu

School of Engineering - Have a go on their latest bicycle powered contraption! - Re-discover the glories of free water

Sustrans - Charity promoting the use of sustainable transport are here to promote the virtues of walking and cycling

Swap Shop - bring your unwanted Christmas presents and long neglected items of clothing and swap them for something else

Transport - want to save time, money and be more environmentally friendly? Of course! Come and find out about the cheaper and greener ways of getting to campus.

University of Kent - Kent come along to show off all the things that they have been doing to reduce their environmental impact.
Canterbury Christ Church Universtiy - Canterbury are also coming along to show off all the things that they have been doing to reduce their environmental impact.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Sun is Shining on the University of Greenwich

With the weather being dark and windy these last few days you may have thought it an odd title for this week's blog but I must tell you about our brand new solar array!

Last month the University of Greenwich installed an array of photovoltaic solar panels that will be powering some of the student residencies at the Avery Hill Campus. The panels have been installed in time to benefit from the higher rate of the feed-in-tariff before the incentive was reduced in December. They now have been generating electricity for four weeks (at a time with the shortest amount of daytime) and have so far generated: 1,106 kWh this has given the University a combined total saved/earned of £485. On top of this the electricity generated is enough to power five student flats for a week in Aragon Court, (electricity, heating, hot water, the lot!) and all in the gloomiest weeks of the year.

Panels being hoisted onto the rooves at Avery Hill

The completed array on Aragon Court
The panels have a lifespan of around 25-30 years and will be generating electricity for free as long as there is daylight. In fewer than ten years the panels will have paid for themselves and then after this point they will be generating an electrifying profit!

In fact the return on investment for solar is so good that we have seen a few people putting up arrays on their private property. Jon Hudson of the Building Services Team has a small array of 6.5 kW on his house and when John Bailey went back to the west country for Christmas he noticed his mum had popped five panels up on the roof there - not quite the 190 odd we have up on Avery Hill but enough to turn the meter backwards when all the lights are off.

Kevin Behn from Human Resources, who is currently looking forward to starting work on his new allotment and getting on with some D.I.Y, has recently installed some solar panels on his house - and just in time to receive the maximum feed-in-tariff rate. Kevin has managed to get eight panels on his roof, an array that should produce around 1700 kWh per year, and is expecting to see the panels pay for themselves in eight to nine years, after that he still gets the feed-in-tariff for a further 16-17 years and any electricity generated then will be producing a profit. Kevin added a cautious 'wait and see' on his estimations but said that he 'is more than staisfied' with the panels so far. Like Kevin we'll be hoping for a sunny 2012 here in the Sustainability Office and hoping that everyone's solar panels perform as well as we're predicting!

For those who are interested in finding out more about solar power and generating electricity and energy from renewable sources, the School of Engineering has a solar array consisting of five varieties of panel at the Medway Campus. The School have been testing the panels to see which ones produce the best yields when harvesting the sun’s energy. You can see the panels when you wonder up to the Wolfson Centre and can find out which panels you should be choosing more by contacting Ian Cakebread at the School.

Solar Wall of different panels at Medway
Launching in the next academic year is a new course that covers solar power along with a whole host renewable and sustainable electrical energy generation with the BEng Hons: Sustainable Electrical Power Engineering. This course will give graduates the necessary skills and attributes to take key roles within industry as professional engineers and give them an advantage in the growing clean energy sector. If you would like to find out more head to:

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Students Working for Sustainability and Festive Cheer

This week the Sustainability Team has been finding a little bit of time in between eating mince pies and chocolates to consider the opportunities we have for students working in the Sustainability Office. We met Sarah Sheikh from the Business School, who has been encouraged by Mary McCartney (Business School Sustainability Champion), to find out what we have within the Sustainability Team for students to get involved in.

As usual the Sustainability Team is looking for students to become involved in all sorts of projects relating to a multitude of different subjects. The first position we are offering through the Business School is the position of Fairtrade Intern. With Fairtrade Fortnight coming up in February and March next year there is loads of Fairtrade fun to get involved with and great opportunity for a student to get experience in running events, project management, communications, administration, charity sector work and of course trying out all the latest Fairtrade products - whether it is chocolate, bananas or cotton buds! Sarah will be inviting Business School students to make an application to the role and if you are the lucky chosen student you will get a chance to really get involved and help influence the University's policies and delivery of Fairtrade events.

Naomi Debrah the 2010/11 Fairtrade Intern
The Sustainability Team will not be stopping there though! We have many more opportunities within the team for all sorts of different things, just last week Stuart Ashenden  in the School of Engineering recruited a student to start auditing the University's water usage, following on from previous projects completed by students on the University's energy use and travel. We currently have a couple of students working with Debbie Bartlett in the School of Science on the biodiversity projects going on across the campuses, you may remember Michael Fray providing us with some excellent bee photos while conducting a bee survey at Avery Hill: and recently Charmaine Wijemanna presented to the Biodiversity Steering Group on a pioneering new project developing the University's Campus Management Plan: At the School of Education the students training to be teachers are currently implementing sustainability projects in the schools where they are completeing their placement.
Isabelle Monk collecting for the end-of-term Re-use Project
The Sustainability Team is always keen to make the best use of the amazing resource we have within the student population and we have loads more opportunities whether it is with Fairtrade, biodiversity, waste, communications, event management, water, energy, video making....... anyway you get the picture! Thinking back over the last year the Sustainability Team has been greatly supported by student interns who have all now gone on to graduate and find employment, often with a bit of support from the Sustainability Team as well. Naomi Debrah was our most recent Fairtrade intern, a great personality during Green Week this year and instrumental in gaining the University Fairtrade status. Stefano Maggi has gone onto work for an Australian radio station after being the driving force behind the communications of Green Week, Catherine Brown and Keir Burrows have both found work after helping us with our environmental management system and Isabelle Monk who worked on the end-of-year Re-use scheme went on to get a job in the charity sector and now works at ATD Fourth World.

As well as asking for some new student interns this Christmas we have also noticed that Santa has been starting to consider his environmental impact and the carbon footprint of his work. Ethical Ocean have had a go at measuring Santa's carbon footprint for him:

And Santa also got Futerra to compile an end of year sustainability report for him. 
If you are considering how you can have a green Christmas you may want to check out how to 'upcycle' a Christmas tree: 
Whatever you are doing this Christmas the Sustainability Team wish you a very merry holiday season and a happy new year:

Friday, 9 December 2011

Launch of Team Greenhouse at the Mansion Site

On Wednesday afternoon the Avery Hill Mansion Site took a huge step towards a more sustainable future as the School of Education launched a new group to integrate sustainability into the School's practises. The group which has been launched by Mark Potter, the School's sustainability champion and Yana Tainsh, the Director of Resources, is named 'Team Greenhouse' and its inaugural meeting brought together 15 members of the School's staff.

Team Greenhouse listen with enthusiasm at the inaugral meeting

Chris Philpott the Dean of the School gave an opening address, proclaiming the School's ambitions to move forward on the subject of sustainability and to integrate it not just into the working practises of the school but into the teaching and research elements as well. Yana and Mark both explained how the group was going to work and invited the other members of staff to fully immerse themselves in the implementation of the Green Impact workbook. The School have set out to achieve the Bronze award of the Green Impact workbook but will be keeping an eye on the Silver tasks and starting a few of them as well. The Green Gnome is predicting that they will be getting themselves the Silver award as well this year!

The spirits were high amongst the group and there was a big sense of enthusiasm to get started with the tasks in the Green Impact workbook - so much so that the second meeting for Team Greenhouse is already lined up for next week! Here's a cheer for Team Greenhouse - Huzzah! - and we are looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas they come up with over the coming months.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Guest Blog: Recycling Helping Alleviate Student Hardship

Today, Vicky Noden, Alumni Officer for the University of Greenwich, sustainability champion and keen runner writes a guest blog entry about an initiative that not only helps students in hardship but has a brilliant sustainability twist as well!

Vicky Noden - Alumni Officer and Sustainability Champion
The School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) staff and students have been helping those in need of support at the university reducing waste! The CMS School Office has been recycling and fundraising by collecting donations in exchange for second-hand stationery items. All the funds raised have been donated to the Alumni Fund to help support Greenwich students in financial difficulty.

The CMS School Office had a surplus of used items such as folders and ring binders, which were in good condition, and felt that they should be reused rather than simply thrown away. Their students snapped up the items, in exchange for a small donation, thereby saving them money on new stationery.

The initiative has raised £52 to help alleviate student hardship. This money alone could be enough to help enable several Greenwich students to carry on studying. Some students need a small bursary of just £10-£30 to see them through an emergency and to prevent them from having to miss lessons, or even drop out altogether. Students who have benefited from the fund in the past include:
· A student who had their wallet stolen and had no money to get home
· Several students whose student bursaries/loans were not paid on time, leaving them unable to buy food
· A student who was the victim of online credit card fraud

We also have some very serious cases of students who have to flee their homes as a result of racial or domestic abuse. This fund also supports these individuals during desperate times and helps them to keep on studying.

A number of small contributions from students is helping to make a huge difference to the lives of others in our community. The CMS School Office has been specifically thanked for supporting the fund and it is wonderful that this also helps the university’s sustainability agenda. We are hoping this initiative may inspire other teams in the university to support others that are in need of help here at Greenwich.

Any other departments or offices in the university considering a similar fundraising initiative should contact Vicky in the Alumni and Development Office on 020 8331 7940 or e-mail

If you would like further information on what Vicky does for the Alumni Office, visit click on “Support Us” or contact the Alumni and Development Office directly.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

New Orchard at Avery Hill

Today staff, students, local residents, graduates, friends, family, children and a member of parliament came together to plant a community orchard at the University of Greenwich. At Avery Hill Campus a huge group of volunteers (and a couple of experts from the London orchard Project) took a break from their regular working day to get their hands dirty and plant one of 20 fruit trees in the new community orchard.

The orchard will be supplying staff, students and local residents with a tasty array of fruit (apples, pears, medlar, plums, cherries, damsons, mulberries) for coming decades! It has come as a result of a partnership between the University and the London Orchard Project, who are creating new community orchards in London’s unused spaces to promote community production and ownership of fruit. Plus of course helping us rediscover the pleasures of eating fruit grown close to home (or work). These community orchards are contributing towards the ‘greening’ of the urban environment and are creating new and enhanced habitats for wildlife – especially true at Avery Hill where the orchard will be surrounded by long grass and wildflowers which will be great for encouraging bees, insects and the predators of pests such as aphids and codling moths.
A dozen spades prepare for the digging

The orchard planting is part of a wider University push to improve and enhance the biodiversity on campus and promote local food. The majority of trees have been chosen to fruit during University term time and after three years some of the apple trees will be producing about 300 apples per crop. Students at Avery Hill will never need to buy an apple again!

Russell from the London Orchard Project teaching the volunteers how to plant a fruit tree

Claire Evenden, who came with her colleagues from the Student Records, planted an apple tree called a ‘Fiesta’, said she was looking forward to watching the tree grow from her window in the Bronte building.

Paulina Bush from the University of Greenwich nursery came along with a dozen children who planted two of the apple trees (Discovery and Pinova) with the spades they normally use for maintaining their forest garden. Paulina said that the children would be coming back to the orchard regularly to water the trees and of course help harvest the fruit as well!

The volunteers digging away and planting the trees
 The plan is not to stop at just an orchard either. Close to the orchard we have a space on the Southwood Site where work is about to commence on a community allotment and forest garden, with plans for a nut orchard (or is that a nuttery?), a vineyard and hops also being considered for future food growing projects. Of course if you would like to find out more about any of the food growing projects or indeed get involved with the allotment and forest garden please email us at:

Here is a complete list of the 20 fruit trees planted on campus today:
1. Egremont Russet. Late Victorian English variety, most important commercial Russet, a hardy variety with a nutty, sweet flavour ripe in late September. Originated in Sussex in the early 1800s.
2. Falstaff. Very good disease and frost resistance, crisp and juicy red desert apple, ripe late September
3. Tydeman's Late Orange. Variety raised in 1930s in Kent, rich aromatic flavour, firm and sweet, orange to red in colour, picking time mid October. A cross between a Laxton Superb and a Cox Orange Pippin, but a lot easier to grow than a Cox Orange Pippin. Picking time mid-October
4. Tentation. New variety, yellow to golden fruit, picking time late September and stores until March
5. Greensleaves. Green to yellow mid-season apple, tasting a bit like a Golden Delicious, picking time mid-September. We think this apple is essential due to the Henry VIII theme it shares with the campus buildings. Fruits mid-September.
6. Fiesta. Another Cox-like apple but hardier. Heavy cropping with brightly coloured, aromatic fruits, picking time early October.
7. Pinova. A hardy tree with Cox and Golden Delicious as parents. The fruit hangs late on the tree and stores well. Harvesting time late September.
8. Discovery. Bright red, crisp, juicy with a sharp fresh flavour. This is an early apple (early August) so will provide fruit for staff/ any students on campus over the summer.
9. Bramley's seedling. The classic British cooker, grown from seed in a garden in Nottingham, the original tree is 200 years old and still going strong. Creamy white flesh, full of flabour – though there are alternative cookers if you want something more unusual. Also makes lovely sharp juice.
10. Howgate Wonder. A cooker that can also be eaten/ juiced when fully ripe. Pale green with brown-red flush, fruits early October.
11. Doyenne du Comice. French pear grown from seed, first fruiting in 1849. Reached England in 1858 and soon became very popular for its delicious flavour and jucy texture. Picking mid-October.
12. Williams Bon Chretien. Pears known to the Romans, considered by the best pear in the 16th century. Raised by a schoolmaster in Aldermarston near Reading in 1770. Needs to be eaten off the tree in September as does not store.
13. Concorde. A reliable, heavy cropper with melting, juicy flesh. Picking time late October.
Plums and other stone fruit:
14. Marjorie’s Seedling. Excellent late plum (picking time late September). Oval-shaped purple fruit with yellow flesh.
15. Victoria. A classic plum, discovered in a garden in Sussex and named after Queen Victoria. Picking time is August so another fruit for staff and summer-students to enjoy.
16. Shropshire Damson. A hardy damson with some plum-like characteristics. Best used for cooking and has a rich flavour but can also be eaten from the tree if left to ripen. Picking time late August / early September.
17. Cherry Early Rivers. One of the earliest cherries, with very dark skin and flesh, and excellent flavour. Produces a heavy crop, ready for picking in mid-June.
18. Cherry Stella. Juicy dark-red cherries, ready for picking in late July. Fruiting time isn’t ideal for students but it does make a good pollinator for other cherries.
Other fruit:
19. Medlar. A beautiful, squat and spreading tree with attractive blossom. It is also interesting from heritage perspective, being popular in the middle ages and mentioned by Chaucer as being “ripe when rotten”. Picking time is November and the fruits should then be left to decay (blet) before turning soft and sweet.
20. Black Mulberry. A large stately tree that will grow to form gnarled branches and a distinctive form. The fruit is delicious and almost never commercially available. Said to have been introduced in the 16th Century in the mistaken belief that black mulberries harbour silk worms. (In fact silk worms live on white mulberry trees.)