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Auditel is delighted to be partnering with Loughborough College to help them execute their sustainability strategy to become Net Zero.

Dale Richardson, Director of Estates and Sustainability for Loughborough College comments. “Becoming carbon neutral, and eventually net zero has been a priority to us for a long time. In forming a major steering group at the College, we’re now in a position to act and start channelling all of our ideas into the right pathway. Now we have the group and a great new  partnership with Julie Adams from Auditel, I can now lead this project in the right direction so we can really support the DfE’s ambitious targets to get to net zero.

We are also one of the key colleges delivering green skills in the future. Obviously, if we’re delivering green skills to our students, we need to live it and embrace it in its entirety. So, we engaged with Auditel to understand what this could look like and make sure that people are aware of what the college is already doing and what we’re planning to do in the future for the environment, for our sustainability. When our students turn up, they need to know that they’re coming to an environmentally friendly college or a college that is constantly looking to improve its sustainability, and they can see that live on site.

“Loughborough College is one of the key colleges delivering green skills in the future. Obviously, if we’re delivering green skills to our students, we need to live it and we need to embrace that in its entirety.” – Dale Richardson, Director of Estates and Sustainability for Loughborough College

Our vision starts with a net zero building, which is the new Institute of Technology, and we will start work on soon. This will be a net zero, in-operation building. All of our subsequent buildings will have sustainable elements within them. Our T Level building just runs off electricity, there’s no natural gas burning there. Moving forward, we’ve got our Digital Skills Hub which has green roof elements, and again, will all be thermally dynamic. This will also just deliver from electricity and will regenerate electricity that we provide on-site. There will be a solar field installed at the back of the building and our car park will have solar covers put on to generate solar electricity. We’re also having a new sports facility built, which will also have its own solar PV panels and will be a hugely thermally efficient building, with an air source, heat pumps and zero gas going in.

It is important for our students to really live and breathe this vision. Over the next ten years, we have to be driving this forward because we want to be one of the leading, if not the lead college in the country on this. That’s our ambition and that’s where we’d like to be able to do it. Clearly, we’re in our infancy at the moment, but we have grand ideas, and we have the infrastructure and the team to be able to deliver that. In terms of power, we will still be pulling them from the grid, but we’ll be looking at who’s providing that electricity, who’s providing the power watt and how are they doing it themselves. We’ll actually be interrogating our supply chains to ensure that we know exactly how well we are achieving sustainability.

In ten years, again, our buildings will be upgraded, and they will be as environmentally friendly as possible. We are also looking to pedestrianise part of our campus so that we reduce the traffic influx. We’ll know our carbon footprint within the next year and then, we’ll be able to map that every which way moving forward, and we will reduce that each year going forward. We will then look to embed our supply chains and interrogate every single level of our supply chains, to ensure that, where we absolutely can, we will be using locally sourced contractors, supplier chains, to ensure that their footprint is being reduced and what’s coming onto our site is being reduced. So, we’re looking at the bigger picture as well for it all.

Within the next five years, we want sustainability being taught in every lesson. Teaching carbon literacy to all students within the next two to three years is essential to our vision. However, having it as a single, identified body doesn’t do anything. It’s my ideas and my thoughts. If we cascade that down and we go from the bottom up instead of the top down, we have to deliver because we’re teaching everybody on the site about carbon literacy, about what the sustainability footprint looks like.

If we then don’t do something at the top, we get challenged from the bottom. Being challenged from the top with targets is all well and good, but actually having the students challenge us means that we must deliver because we need to show that we’re actually doing what we’re saying we’re doing and fulfilling our promise to them. We need to steer from up here, but we need them to understand why we’re doing it and what the steer means. This means challenging behaviours and working towards a common goal, such as making sure everyone switches the lights off when the leave a room.  We hope to have all students being able to go, actually, I’ve finished my lesson, I’ll press that off now because that reduces the energy. That level of understanding from them has a huge knock-on effect on cost and energy usage across our site. This culture has to be embedded across our whole campus and embedded in the minds of everyone on it.”