ECOBCoT: our campaign name for the many initiatives we have launched to help reduce waste,
promote environmental awareness and support sustainability.
As a College, BCoT is committed to looking after the environment. EcoBCoT is our campaign name for any ideas we have to help reduce waste, promote environmental issues or support sustainability across the College.
Some of our EcoBCoT initiatives include:
In 2013, we saw the largest solar installation in Basingstoke when over £160,000 worth of solar panels were installed on the roofs of our main south site building and STEM department. In six years, the panels will have paid for themselves.
BCoT is committed to sustainability and now prints all its marketing materials on paper from sustainable sources.
We have installed waterless urinals in some departments.
We have a comprehensive recycling scheme across the College, so that waste from both offices and student areas is dealt with appropriately.
Our April 2014 Student Conference took ‘sustainable living’ as it’s key theme and invited organisations in to ask students to consider not only the impact that they have on the world around them but ideas to help make that impact a more positive one.
We are proud to have won two awards that recognise the EcoBCoT initiative:
BCoT is a member of The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), a not-for-profit charity supporting sustainability within the UK tertiary education sector. The EAUC organise the Green Gown Awards to recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK, the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the tertiary education sector. In 2013, BCoT won the Green Gown Award for ‘Best new comer’.
In November 2013, the College also won the Sustainable Business category at the Inspire Awards, which celebrate the success of local businesses and organisations in North Hampshire.
*Cleaning your car and taking out any clutter will help reduce your fuel consumption by reducing unnecessary weight and drag. But, if you wash your car at home, use a bucket not a hosepipe (to save water) and think about where those soapy-chemicals will be draining away to.
*Did you know that domestic energy consumption for the UK has only increased slightly from 1970 to 2013, that industry energy consumption nearly halved but that transport consumption has almost
doubled? For some fascinating graphs (if you like that sort of thing!) visit https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-consumption-in-the-uk
*Well done, everyone, and thank you! In 2014, BCoT used over 10% less electricity than we did in 2013. We used 1,435,933 kilowatt hours of electricity last year, so it’s still a very big number, but the fact that we’ve made such a significant reduction shows that everyone doing a little bit can make a big difference overall.
*Following on from last weeks’ good news about our electricity consumption, there’s even bigger news about our gas usage. In 2013, we used just over 2.28 million kilowatt hours (kwh); in 2014, we used 1.67 million kwh – that is a reduction of more than 25%! The activity that uses the most gas is for heating and hot water in the College, as it probably is for most of us at home, so a combination of more efficient systems, better building insulation and turning the thermostat down a little will all have contributed to that.
*Every year, when the clocks ‘spring forward’, there’s the usual debate about adopting ‘double summer time’. Did you know that for seven years during and after World War II Britain set its clocks one hour ahead all year round (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer) to save fuel and increase morale. Reducing danger from air raids is, fortunately, less of a concern today but the energy reduction could save half a million tons of CO2 emissions every year (not to mention 80 road deaths) read more at lighter later.
*If you’re thinking about a spring clean, there are lots of natural solutions that are cheaper than shop-bought chemical cleaners as well as being healthier for you and the environment. If you fancy revisiting some more traditional cleaning solutions (in both senses!) follow this link: http://www.hintsandthings.co.uk/utilityroom/cheapcleantips.htm
*Did you know that some households use twice as much energy in winter as they do in summer?
Do you know what your energy usage is? Perhaps it’s time to plug in that smart meter – or, if your energy supplier hasn’t sent you a free one, prices start from around £12 for a basic model.
* Did you know houseplants in offices can help reduce stress and improve the air quality? (Not to mention making the place look nicer!). There are plants to suit almost any conditions – click here for some ideas http://tinyurl.com/m2rn2qg
* Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of our countryside. The RSPB’s annual Big Garden Bird Watch is an opportunity to help monitor this, 2015's Bird Watch took place 24-25 January but you can find out more at: www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/
* Don’t just recycle – reuse! Most of us are getting better at recycling our waste but have you thought about reusing things too? The following blog has some great ideas for reusing plastic milk bottles, just to get you thinking: http://thriftyjinxy.com/10-uses-for-plastic-milk-jugs-dont-just-recycle-reuse/
* Did you know that iPod and cell phone chargers draw electricity when plugged in, even if not in use?
* Have You Visited the Worldometer? Click the link for some fairly impressive numbers and scroll down for some really interesting energy usage statistics http://www.worldometers.info/
* Fancy a posh coffee from the Refectory or Café? Take your own mug along to save using a (non-recyclable) waxed paper cup.
* Switch off your computer, monitor and printer when you have finished work, don’t just log out. On average this will save £40 of electricity every year.
At BCoT we have two beehives, with bees who are busy producing combs and some honey too! Our catering students can use the honey in meals that they produce in our training Restaurant, or we can sell jars to members of staff. Several of our staff have done a beekeeping course to help look after them (Tim, Lauren and Vanessa are pictured in their beekeeping suits).
The bees had a tough winter (2015/16) and one colony didn't survive (we think it swarmed). The other is struggling through and we hope to insert a new queen to revive them. We also have our name down for a swarm to see if we can repopulate the other hive. We are learning - the hard way! - why bee populations all over the world are in decline!
To find out how the bees are doing, you can find us online at
Twitter - Follow: @ Bcotbuzz
Facebook – Like 'Buzz Bcot'
Thanks to the Basingstoke Beekeepers Association (especially Pete) and Vita Europe (especially Stephen) for their support on this project. Vita Europe are a locally based, bee health company who have been kind enough to donate anti-varroa treatments to us. If you'd like to read Stephen's 'bee-blog', click here.