It’s been 15 years since the first Green Gown Awards started, aiming to celebrate sustainability in the post-16 education sector and to inspire change. The awards are organised by EAUC, the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education, and focus on a variety of topics, which this year included ‘2030 Climate Action’, ‘Sustainability Institution of the year’ and ‘Campus of the future’, just to mention a few.
BREEAM has been involved in the awards for several years and this year BREEAM Principal Delivery Consultant Eleni Soulti joined the judging panel. The high quality of the entries was impressive, as well as the variety of areas they covered. Each participating project had its own challenges to overcome and an exciting sustainability story to tell.
The University of Worcester told the story of the refurbishment of a Grade II listed building into a learning facility and social spaces, and it was highly commended in the ‘Campus of the future’ category. Other than its environmental credentials, this project highlighted collaboration and the inclusion not only of staff and students, but also of the local community to develop their vision.
The University of West Scotland, which was the winner in the same category, uses rainwater harvesting to supply 89% of the water used on campus and is powered on 100% renewable energy. This project approached sustainability holistically, addressing health and wellbeing and transports, but also energy and water use.
BREEAM encompasses all of these areas and can enable the higher education sector to achieve its targets for sustainability in the built environment. Energy, water as well as health and wellbeing have always formed significant parts of projects’ certification. The latest BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 scheme facilitates the assessment of higher education projects even more, through recognising ecology enhancements across campuses and allowing more flexibility in the assessment of sustainable transport measures. This holistic approach and the engagement of stakeholders are key to the success of a project.
These projects demonstrated how sustainable results can be achieved through an integrated approach and early engagement of the building users. Congratulations to the winners and do continue to inspire us with your work!