Green Gown Awards: Keele clinches top sustainability prize

The university was described as a ‘optimum example’ of institutional sustainability by the judges

Keele University has received the highest accolade at the Green Gown Awards this year – the prize for sustainability institution of the year.

The judges described Keele as an “optimum example” because of its “long-term commitment” to embedding an “ethos [that] permeates all aspects of the university”.

A staff member at Keele – Dr Katherine Haxton – also clinched the prize for staff sustainability champion at the awards final this year. Dr Haxton’s work to decolonise STEM subjects and develop sustainability-led modules that tackle environmental and societal inequalities – like race, gender and poverty – in chemistry were highlighted in the judges’ decision.

In a statement, Keele said it was one of the first UK universities to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and highlighted its success in reducing carbon emissions by 39% in 2019, with overall emissions down 34% since 1990.

UCL won the 2030 Climate Action prize for its work to develop data dashboards to drive its net-zero ambitions. The university has also launched carbon awareness programmes for staff, which draw on behavioural science research pioneered at the university.

The Green Gown winners:

Sustainability Institution: Keele University
2030 Climate Action: UCL
Campus of the Future: University of Edinburgh
Research with Impact: University of Sheffield
Research with Impact (Student): Nalinee Netithammakorn, De Montfort University, sustainability in textile production
Reporting with Influence: University of the West of England, University of Worcester
Student Engagement: Queen’s University Belfast
Benefitting society: University of Nottingham
Campus Health, Food and Drink: University of St Andrews
Enterprise: Manchester Metropolitan University
Next Generation Learning and Skills: Gloucestershire University

In July 2018, Keele launched its £22m Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) programme. The SEND programme encompasses more than 40 separate projects, which include developing: better batteries for the car and home; long-life hydrogen fuel cells; energy-usage forecasts with the help of machine learning; smart sensors; ‘emotive’ smart meters that detect behaviour change; and AI systems which can better distribute energy.

Read more: Sustainability at Keele University

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