Jesus and Downing named ‘greenest’ Cambridge colleges

Holly Murray - News Reporter 30 April 2012

An annual assessment of college environmental performance has named Jesus (pictured above) and Downing as Cambridge University’s most eco-friendly colleges.

The Green League Table (GLT), produced by the Cambridge University Environmental Consulting Society (CUECS), ranks colleges according to the measures they take to reduce water and energy use as well as their management and recycling practices.

The assessment is part of CUECS’s mission to “help organisations and individuals around Cambridge to alter their practices in cost-effective, efficient and most importantly, environmentally sound ways”.

The society stressed the present importance of their ranking in the light of new taxes on emissions being imposed by the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

Carole Birtwhistle, CRC co-ordinator for Cambridge, said that the taxes, being collected for the first time in July, will amount to around £750,000, proving a substantial financial incentive for colleges to become more environmentally sound.

Topping the table together are Jesus and Downing Colleges, both having advanced a considerable number of positions since last year.

Alexandra Zeist, co-leader of the GLT project, claimed the colleges’ success in the energy category were a result of their having “undertaken infrastructural initiatives to reduce their energy consumption”, such as attic insulation and draft-proofing.

Colleges ranked at the lower end of the league table lost points mainly due to a lack of data entered into the survey.

Zeist also emphasised that completing the survey takes a lot of time for the colleges, but that CUECS is working hard to make it easier for all colleges to participate in the survey.

Each college has received a report from the GLT group, which includes individual feedback regarding how they can improve their environmental performance. CUECS is also encouraging colleges to participate in a forum in which they can help each other improve their efficiency.  This year also saw the launch of a student survey allowing students to have their say about the environmental measures taken by their colleges.

Holly Murray – News Reporter