of our waste was recycled in January-July 2022
less plastic bottles are being used than in previous years
As Pembroke nears its 400th Anniversary in 2024, the College has never been more focussed on its commitment to sustainability.
This commitment is reflected most notably in the decision by the College’s Governing Body to commission a Space & Sustainability Masterplan in 2021 and establish a Sustainability Committee comprised of College Fellows, staff and student representatives. Following a review of the entire College estate, the Masterplan will set out the roadmap to achieving net zero/zero carbon and significantly increasing biodiversity across the College sites. As a first step Pembroke has recently been awarded £70,000 Government funding from the Low Carbon Skills Fund to develop a heat decarbonisation plan and the College is preparing an application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for capital funding towards the implementation of the decarbonisation plan. As resources allow, and as part of longer-term planned refurbishments, we seek to reach our zero-carbon target by significantly reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions through the installation of more efficient heating systems, such as air source heat pumps (ASHP), and make improvements to building fabrics to reduce heat loss. More information will be announced here as plans progress, so watch this space…!
Meanwhile, we have been busy at an operational level in the following areas:
- In collaboration with the City Council, the College has sought to increase the amount of waste it sends for recycling; recycling bins are provided in all student rooms and at designated points around the College site. In the period January-July 2022 we recycled 90% of our waste.
- We have reduced our consumption of single use plastics, already using 1000 less plastic bottles than previous years due to plumbed-in water coolers around College and the removal of plastic water bottles from point of sale outlets.
- We have recently purchased a juice machine – in the month of July alone (our peak time for external conferences), we reduced waste by 700 juice cartons.
- Farthings café uses plastic free tea bags, paper straws, compostable cups/lids and wooden tea spoons.
- The Hall uses compostable takeaway tins and lids that can be recycled.
- A student-led Pembroke team achieved a Green Impact Silver Award in 2022.
- Our catering team work tirelessly to reduce our food waste from the Hall and any waste produced is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant near Cassington, Oxfordshire, where it is used to generate electricity (to power over 4,000 homes) and fertiliser (used on local farmland to grow crops).
- Food waste bins are provided in student accommodation and staff kitchen spaces.
- Used coffee grounds from Farthings Café are used by our gardener.
- We are part of the Collegiate food purchasing consortium (FoodBuy) which helps us reduce the number of suppliers we use by consolidating the number of supplier deliveries to three times per week. This has reduced our carbon footprint in this activity by at least 40%.
- The team enjoy sourcing local suppliers for our food and drink; the water for our water coolers comes from Blenheim (12 miles away) and our strawberries from a farm in Bicester. The bar, stocks Pembroke Ale and beers from Chadlington Brewery 22 miles away, who use Oxfordshire spring water to produce the ale!
- Our menus have been redesigned to contain seasonal items (for example only using asparagus in April & May, not using berries around Christmas and only using seasonal or farmed fish from accredited sources).
- The College community is encouraged to minimise energy usage for example by turning off unneeded lights and not leaving computers running unnecessarily.
- The College’s central heating system – usually on from October until April/May (weather dependent) – is not left on 24 hours/day but is normally timed to be on for the necessary periods. We have also invested in the most energy efficient gas boilers available at this time with plans for replacement (to sources such as ASHPs) being worked up in the Space and Sustainability Study.
- Rokos Quad has solar and ground source energy sources built in to the design.
- The new GAB development uses high levels of insulation and passive ventilation to reduce heating requirements and we are introducing a waste water heat recovery system which will reduce energy used to heat water by c40%; the building is designed to accept the next generation of ASHPs as they become available.
In order to better understand, and subsequently improve, Pembroke’s onsite biodiversity impacts, the following works have been undertaken:
- An estate-wide biodiversity survey was conducted in June 2022 to determine the College’s ecological baseline and will produce a constraints and opportunities report.
- With the help of our JCR Environmental Rep and a small team of students, Pembroke participated in the Conference of Colleges biodiversity audit during Summer 2022
- In 2022, the JCR initiated the ‘Pembroke Biodiversity Project’ which has set up biodiversity monitoring on the College’s Main Site and at the Pembroke Sports Ground and focuses on maintaining/enhancing biodiversity and providing a research site for student projects.