Sustainable solutions

6th November 2019

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From recycling to energy conservation, Wadham is embracing a number of sustainability schemes across the College sites.

  • Traffic light showerheads, recycling bins and the Gatehouse food recycling scheme

Students now study in more sustainable environment in the Library, thanks to recent changes in lighting. 

With professional advice, Library lighting was upgraded to LEDs and the new fittings include smart automation to dim the lighting when areas are not occupied.  This project is anticipated to save around 117,600kg of CO2, as well as approximately £6,000 in energy savings every year.  The pay back for the project, estimated at around six years, makes this a worthwhile investment for the long term. 

A successful upgrade to LED lighting in Staircase 20, the final Bowra staircase to be converted, brings to completion a three-year upgrading programme in the Bowra staircases, now saving around 34,200kg of CO2 annually.

Conserving water and energy has been a priority during the refurbishment of Bowra staircases 20 and 22.  Installing low flush toilets, tap aerators - which use 1.5 litres of water per minute as opposed to 5 litres per minute - and LED showerheads which automatically change colour from green to orange to constant red to signal how long the shower has been running.  The showerhead is designed to indicate to the user that the optimal shower time, as recommended by health experts, is over.  The showerheads are user-friendly and powered kinetically so no batteries are needed. These heads also use 10 litres per minute rather than the normal 15 litres per minute of previous showerheads. 

Figures have shown significantly lower water consumption in the areas fitted with the traffic light showerheads compared to other areas. By fitting water meters to refurbished and un-refurbished staircases we have recorded definitive data that the refurbishment saves two thirds of water usage.

Recycling waste remains an important focus within College with more food waste and recycling bins around the site.  The main kitchen has been working with suppliers to minimise packaging and now all fruit and vegetables are delivered in reusable containers.  All uncooked fruit and vegetable waste from the main kitchen is composted on the College site and used on the College gardens.

Wadham is proud to continue its partnership with The Gatehouse to deliver our unused cooked food to homeless and poorly housed citizens in Oxford.  We are extremely grateful to students, during the academic terms, and staff, during the vacations, for their support in continuing this great initiative over the past four years.

When designing and refurbishing buildings Wadham is committed to taking advantage of modern energy-efficient technologies, including renewable sources. The new Dorothy Wadham Building is the first building within the College’s estate to use Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology.   CHP is an efficient method of generating heat and power from a single process and fuel source, meaning less wasted energy and lower carbon emissions than traditional power generation. Wadham is working closely with CHP specialists to monitor heat and power demands to ensure the system runs as efficiently as possible. 

The College’s Sustainability Working Group meets termly.  All members of the Wadham community are encouraged to get involved and let us know of your sustainability projects and ideas.  We’d be delighted to hear from you!

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