News from the Environmental Office

The University's Environmental Office is based within Estate Management and its remit includes implementing the University's Environmental Policy and working to engage and support staff and students in managing the University’s environmental impacts.

The University's Environmental Strategy Committee oversees the development of the Environmental Policy and strategic progression of green issues across the University. This includes objectives relating to carbon emissions, waste, energy, water, travel, biodiversity and sustainable procurement. Student representatives on the ESC are your CUSU EA Co-chairs, Graduate Union Environmental Director and a representative of Energise Cambridge.

Managing environmental impacts and embedding sustainability principles will support the University of Cambridge's mission to contribute to both operational and academic excellence. There are several opportunities for students to be involved. Read on to find out more.


View down King's Parade from Estate Management (photo courtesy of Estate Management)

Living Laboratory for Sustainability – the 'Living Lab', providing student project management experience.

The Living Lab's goal is to improve the sustainability of the University by using the Estate to test and research real world environmental problems while improving the educational experience of students attending the University. The Living Lab seeks to involve students from diverse academic backgrounds to create dynamic solutions to the operational challenges of the University and looks to be a platform for academic staff to suggest and steer research on the University Estate.

The Living Lab will achieve its aims through developing projects that will connect students, academic staff and Estate Management staff. This collaboration will lead to innovative research and practical projects that will enhance the sustainability of the University.

Essentially, the Living Lab aims to be an umbrella for student research and projects on the University Estate that aim to benefit the University’s operational sustainability. Projects may include final year or MPhil projects or research for dissertations. Do you have any ideas for projects or research that we could support?

Interested? Email Claire on

Green Impact Scheme – staff and student engagement programme


Green Impact is a departmental environmental accreditation scheme that was developed nationally by the NUS. It is an exciting opportunity to celebrate and recognise environmental achievements whilst also supporting and encouraging University staff and students to further improve their environmental performance.

Supported by the Environmental Office, teams in departments progress through an online workbook towards recognised awards and targets. The scheme was launched to staff environmental champions on 12th November 2012 and workbooks will be submitted online in April 2013. There are two key opportunities for students to develop project management and demonstrable teamwork skills through this scheme:

Green Impact Project Assistant.These are students who are recruited to provide extra support and assistance in completing a team workbook. Students commit to volunteering for only 6 hours a month and are trained by the NUS to support their team efficiently.

Green Impact Auditor.These students are trained by the NUS and the Environmental Office to undertake audits of participating departments. Training will take place the morning of 8th May 2013, with audits carried out that afternoon.

Participating students will be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony on 13th June – why not kick off May Week celebrations early?

Departments are able to sign up online. Why not encourage your department to participate?

Interested? Email Leila on

Environmental Excellence - efforts receive external recognition


The Sainsbury Laboratory has been awarded the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture for 2012. Despite the high energy demands of laboratories this building achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. BREEAM is an environmental assessment rating for buildings and the University aims to achieve an Excellent rating on all new buildings. The Sainsbury Laboratory has 1,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels and extensive natural lighting. The building has also been designed to ensure flexibility in long-term use through adaptable space, enabling research spaces to change as required by scientists. Further information is available at


The University has recently been highly commended in the Green Gown Awards, which recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives in the higher and further education sectors. We picked up the award in the carbon reduction category for the Electricity Incentivisation Scheme. Find out more at

If you have any other comments, questions or suggestions about the management of environmental issues at the University please contact the Environmental Office on

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nb: all photos provided by the Environmental Office, unless stated otherwise.