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Sustainable steps forward

05 June 2009

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The ways in which staff and students can reduce their impact on the environment are being highlighted by the University as part of World Environment Day.

Established by the United Nations, World Environment Day - commemorated annually on 5 June - is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

Simple changes such as turning off lights, using mugs instead of disposable cups and walking between lecture theatres are detailed on the University’s sustainability webpages, along with a number of tips for reducing carbon emission in leisure and home time. These include composting waste, installing energy saving lightbulbs and watering your garden with a watering can instead of a hosepipe.

Cardiff’s principles of sustainable development will be taken a step further with the roll-out of the Environmental Management System on the Cathays campus. Already in place at the Heath Park Campus, the system is a formal approach to assessing and controlling the environmental impact of University activities.

A number of initiatives are also designed to help University staff pursue a sustainable lifestyle, including the lift share scheme, which has more than 250 staff members and celebrates its third anniversary on 9 June.

Cardiff seeks to bring about positive change through a world-leading programme of research, learning and teaching, which addresses a wide range of sustainability issues.

The University’s new high performance computer, provided by Advanced Research Computing @ Cardiff (ARCCA), is one of the most powerful at a British University and one of the greenest. The supercomputer and the datacentre were designed to be as green as possible at every stage, from the power supplies through to the processors and the cooling equipment. The datacentre is estimated to save up to £300,000 per year in energy costs - equating to 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide - compared to a conventional system.

The computer has been shortlisted in the ICT category in Green Gown Awards 2009 which recognise exceptional initiatives being taken by higher and further education institutions across the UK to become more sustainable.

Recently the Centre for Business Relationships Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) collaborated with the UK Environmental Law Association to develop a major new website, The Law and Your Environment. The site provides an unrivalled one-stop shop for anyone who needs a clear and simple guide to issues ranging from planning applications, and pollution incidents through to tackling climate change. It provides details of peoples' rights and responsibilities along with signposts to organisations to go to for further information and advice.

Full details about the University’s commitment to sustainability can be found at: and information on sustainability research at Cardiff can be found here.

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