The University of Edinburgh's Sustainability Awards have recognised the specialised nature of research facilities by offering a specific version of the awards tailored just for them.
Using the NUS Green Impact Labs assessment framework (which is also in use in many other UK universities) laboratories based at the University can gain recognition for their efforts in improving efficiency and sustainability in the work place.
Just like the office awards, labs can aim for several different levels of assessment:
There are nine broad themes of sustainability which teams must take action on to reduce energy, water and waste. Bronze teams must provide evidence that they meet 15 out of 16 criteria; Silver teams must show compliance with Bronze through spot-checks during the audit and in addition meet 23 out of 25 Silver criteria; and Gold teams must show compliance with Bronze and Silver and in addition meet 34 out of 37 Gold criteria. Teams can decide whether they want to participate as a single lab level, as a group of laboratories or even as a whole building.
Once participation in the Awards is agreed, the team's representative should meet with the SRS Projects Coordinator – Labs (Andrew Arnott) and decide what is possible for their particular facility. A baseline audit can be conducted if requested, which is a walk-around to understand the laboratory's particular successes and challenges. The baseline audit will provide staff with the opportunity to understand what will be required for the award level they are seeking and discuss any possible limitations. Every lab, building and group is different, so each assessment is tailored to their specific methods and environment.
Once the team has completed the baseline audit, they then complete the criteria for the award level they are seeking, and submit evidence onto the online platform. Evidence for the assessment may be uploaded online and returning groups may reuse evidence from the previous year if applicable. Final audits are conducted in November / December, and the audit team will consist of the SRS Projects Coordinator – Labs and staff from other participating groups in order to deliver a ‘peer auditing’ element.
Teams should volunteer one or two people to audit other participating labs, giving insights to good practice and different methodologies across campus.
If you have any questions about the awards, or if you'd like to sign up as a team, please get in touch with Andrew Arnott.
Andrew graduated from University of Aberdeen in 2006 and spent 18 months working in an environmental management role. Moving to Edinburgh at the end of 2007 he took up a role providing energy efficiency and renewable energy advice to businesses on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust. In 2010 he spent 9 months volunteering in Malawi, setting up environmental projects. Returning to the UK in 2011 he took a role in a consultancy firm providing energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource efficiency advice to public and private sector clients.