Keele Concentrates Sustainability Efforts with new Hub


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Posted on 18 October 2011
"It is important that all members of society have access to information that can help them to adopt more sustainable behaviours that will not only benefit them, but the wider community."

The Keele University Sustainability Hub (KUSH) opened its doors this week and will provide a focus for the academic institution’s widespread activities around the sustainability agenda. Providing information and a full programme of projects for the community and students alike, the Sustainability Hub will be both a focus and catalyst for environmentally responsible behaviours.

 The £4-million refurbishment of Home Farm began in 2009 and the new Sustainability Hub now houses meeting facilities, a lecture theatre, exhibition space, study areas and a fair trade coffee lounge where members of the public can drop in to find out more information. The new hub is a living example of sustainability in action, with solar PV, solar thermal, ground source heat pumps, biomass heating and rainwater recycling, all contributing to make the building as green as possible.

The project aims to be an inspiring place for people of all ages to learn, with resources and outreach activities to help children, homeowners and businesses. It is already involved in four key projects at the university, including a group of Keele students who are working towards making their student accommodation sustainable, an outreach initiative called ‘Grey Matters’ which engages the older community in a series of lectures and interactive workshops on sustainable living and the development of a ‘green’ children’s centre in the Congo.

Dr Sharon George, Sustainability Hub Manager and Lecturer, said: “We welcome members of the community, local business and students of all ages to come and visit us at the Sustainability Hub. It’s a resource for everyone to spark ideas about how to be more sustainable and encourage learning in this area at every level from primary school right through to our PhD students.

“With such a vast array of research projects and activities going on at Keele, we wanted to bring it all together in one place to ensure that it benefits not only our students, but anyone who visits the Hub. Ultimately, we want to inspire people to think about their behaviours and make the necessary changes.”

The opening of the new facility coincides with a key milestone in one of the university’s flagship research projects – Energy in Communities, which is one of seven projects across the UK that has been funded by ESRC/EPSRC. Academics from Keele’s natural sciences and social sciences departments have joined together on this cross-curricular two-year research exercise to examine the impact of social demographics on the level of community engagement in ‘green’ behaviours, such as recycling or using low energy light bulbs. After detailed scoping, the project is now moving into the active phase where monitoring will begin among the groups involved. 

Commenting on the project, Professor Mark Ormerod from Keele University said: “This project is about looking at the best models for sharing information on sustainable behaviours – the findings of which will form a central role in shaping future policy in this area. It’s important that all members of society have access to information that can help them to adopt more sustainable behaviours that will not only benefit them, but the wider community. We are working with groups from very different demographic backgrounds to assess the effectiveness of different types of communication channels and will start to report our findings next year.”


Ends

Keele has been at the forefront in developing a student centred educational environment and is rated in the top 10 in England in both the recent National Student Survey (NSS) and in the Employment statistics.

For media information please contact Joanna Barnsley on 0121 713 3527 or Kate Dawson on 0121 7133878 or email joanna.barnsley@mccann.com or kate.dawson@mccann.com

 


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