Blackout 2017

On Friday 10th March staff and students gathered together to take part in the National Union of Students’ Blackout campaign. After a brief training session and donning their Blackout t-shirts, the volunteers split into teams and went to audit non-essential lights and equipment in their allocated areas. The teams noted down the total number of each type of equipment and the number left on unnecessarily, whilst also switching off certain items such as lights and computer monitors.

Over the evening the volunteers audited Maxwell, Gilbert Rooms, Peel, Newton, Allerton, Crescent House and The Old Fire Station. If you work in one of these buildings you may have found a note on your desk or under your door thanking you for switching off or reminding you to power down at the end of the day. After the audits the teams returned to Atmosphere café where they were rewarded for their efforts with pizzas and drinks.

Analysis of the data collected shows that 35% of computers, 30% of monitors, 15% of projectors and 37% of manual lights were left on unnecessarily in the areas audited. Assuming that this is the case across the whole University, there are opportunities to save £72,869.60 and 393,931 kilograms of CO2 a year if these computers and monitors were switched off over weekends. That’s the equivalent of emissions from 83 passenger cars driven for one year! Savings would be even greater if lights and other equipment were also taken into account and if items were switched off on weekday evenings too.

Thanks to all the staff and students that took part in the Blackout event and to everyone that regularly switches off non-essential items.



The Green Machine steps up to Green Impact challenge

Guest post from Lauren Broderick (Sports Centre receptionist)

“Here at the sports centre we have been working towards the silver award in the first year of taking part in the Green Impact project.

The whole team have got behind the Green Impact work and we have worked hard to make our centre greener- always thinking about the polar bears!

Many of our team members put forward ideas on how we could make the centre ‘greener’ from turning off the vending machines over night to more obscure ideas such as static energy from the tread mils being conserved and being used elsewhere.!

We implemented a lot of our teams ideas, we made sure venders were turned off, turning off electrical equipment and lights overnight and turning off the spa blowers overnight- all of which had been over looked before we began our Green Impact mission.

Following the work book criteria we have made other significant changes in the centre.

It has been an interesting learning curve being part of the Green Impact, learning that small changes can make a big difference. Before taking part in the green impact I wasn’t really concerned about the environment but it has really opened my eyes to the bigger picture. A lot of the ideas I have implemented into my home life such as making sure everything is switched off when its not needed and the love food hate waste campaign.

Although it’s been hard work I have really enjoyed being part of the green impact project.

We are looking forward to taking part next year and going for gold!!”

Team Green Crescent: what Green Impact means to me

Green Crescent are ready to hit ‘submit’ on their Green Impact Bronze workbook. Progress dragged at first, but with the movement of the Governance Service Unit team into Estates H/Q came a new flush of enthusiasm and a well-stocked team. With regular meetings and the help of our trusty Green Impact noticeboard, we’ve finally got our twenty criteria completed. Pesterings, complaints of wonky Switch-Off stickers, cycling/recycling, composted (Fairtrade) banana skins and a personal heater amnesty later, and we’re ready to be audited.

It’s all about inclusion (and not taking up too much time!), so at our last Green Impact meeting it was decided to ask everyone for their thoughts….

1) What does Green Impact mean to you?

Karen Kelly: I am  “making a difference”

Martin Toner: There’s an old Scottish saying: “many a mickle maks a muckle”.  This translates as “a lot of little things can make one big thing”, and for me Green Impact is about making a lot of small differences in the hope that in the end they add up to a big difference.  The more people who get involved the bigger impact we can make.

Stephen Talboys: Green Impact is for me the embodiment of the often used “Think globally act locally” or in our case think corporately but act locally. I am pleased that we have shown that we can take lots of small, local, important green steps within people’s areas of direct control and influence and that these really do add up to begin to change attitudes and culture…

Tony Blendall: Saving money; saving jobs; serving students 

Annette Cooke: Having recently moved to a new office, one unanticipated benefit is that I have met more colleagues in the new office  through green impact discussions.

Graeme Holland: Just basic common sense: you would not leave things running for no reason at home so why would you do it here? Please switch off when not in use or leaving.

Matteo Littera: Other people taking an interest in what I do!

Matt Stephenson: Green impact is all to do with those little things which collectively make a difference.  Since I signed up I’ve found myself sorting rubbish, reusing paper, switching off lights and even buying fairtrade bananas.  We all notice that each other is doing their bit, be it marking the locations of the lights on the switches or turning off lights in unused meeting rooms: each action making a difference … it may be a small difference but a difference nevertheless and when multiplied across the 20,000 members of the University community it all adds up to a big change.

2) Have you noticed any positive (or negative) changes around the office?

Karen Kelly: How much food we used to throw away!

Martin Toner: I think most if not all staff have embraced the ideas behind Green Impact and hopefully we will soon see the results in terms of reduced energy and resource usage.  The chocolate fairy was also very welcome!

Tony Blendall: Yes ! !  Energy awareness      

Annette Cooke: I have noticed that many of my colleagues are very enthusiastic about their green impact. My suggestion to start composting our food waste in the kitchen has also been put into practice!

Matteo Littera: The nicest thing I noticed is how many people actually care about the subject who are generally “lone-warriors” – it promoted a lot of talk on various subjects and I also believe it helped quicken the integration of GSU

3) Has Green Impact changed your behaviour at work/home and if so, how?

Karen Kelly: I already did a lot at home but I am much more focused when out and about now

Martin Toner: Yes I am much more conscious of how much paper, electricity, water etc I use and I try to minimise use as much as possible.

Tony Blendall: No ! !   I already operated to the highest standards  –  my money or University money

Annette Cooke: I now turn lights off in rooms when not in use and turn off the office printer at the end of the day.

Matteo Littera: Not really, I like to believe I was pretty hot on these things before!


Thank you everyone!

Advancing towards a greener way of working

Guest post by Paul Butlin (Advancement Green Impact team, Faraday House)

Over the past four months the Advancement team have been working towards Green Impact bronze award. We have found that making lots of small changes has really helped us to change our office into a greener and more sustainable environment.

I asked the team what they have learned from the scheme. One team member said “To be more aware of what I am throwing away and using – recycle!.” Another said “I have learned to ensure that all the computers are turned off in the office of a night and I ensure all the lights go off when I am the last one to leave the office.” Friend of the University and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohammed Yunus once said “Start small. Changes always start with small steps.” We have definitely found this to be true for us. If we all make the effort to think more green then collectively we can really make a positive change to our environment.

Before we started the scheme we were not regularly using recycle bins, some colleagues had portable heaters and we weren’t as conscious of our printing, paper usage and switching off our equipment. Due to the Green Impact scheme it is safe to say we have a much better understanding and awareness and can begin to change our behaviour. It has been difficult to engage everyone within the team and there are definitely some colleagues who are more on board than bothers – however it is important for everyone to realise that can make a difference and they only need to make small adjustments. Our director Colin McCallum said “We are reminded that we can all make a difference, no matter how small. The cumulative impact of lots of small changes – even just shutting down computers, switching off lights as you leave the room. It all adds up.”

We are due to move offices very soon and will definitely be taking what we learned to our new space. Here’s to a greener future!

Success and tea for GreenCSE!

Out with the old…
…in with the new: mains-fed water cooler (and one of the team’s chirpy Switch-Off poster creations!)

The Green CSE team, who share an office in Newton Building, won our recent Go for Gold Week prize of a tea party, despite some stiff competition from other teams (congratulations in particular to The Green Machine in the Sports Centre, to the SURF and SURGE teams and to everyone who completed actions during the week. I took the opportunity when delivering their cake and tea to take some photos of their office, which includes a Green Impact noticeboard displaying the team’s contributions.This includes a list of Green New Years’ Resolutions (turning old newspapers into paper logs, taking used yogurt pots into local schools for remodelling, turning off the heater an hour earlier than usual and wearing jumpers, turning the thermostat down by one degree, ensuring a planned takeover of Stretford Town Hall is as green as possible, and my personal favourite:”Cut down on unnecessary purchases of shoes” (hopefully our clothes swap on 5th March will be up your street!).

The team has switched to using 100% recycled, chlorine-free paper and display their Lighting and Equipment Management Plan on their noticeboard. Team members told me how much they’d enjoyed taking part, despite initial misgivings. Lynsey Grace said “it was surprisingly easy to complete a lot of the tasks and I was pleased to make a positive contribution to the environment”. Susan Press expressed how her green impact has spread beyond the office: “it made me think about how I could be more environmentally friendly at home and I have involved my children in this”. Agreeing with her, Barbara Kelly reports that “Green Impact has made me think about issues that I haven’t before and we have all had fun doing it”. Team lead Daniel Wadsworth spoke of how his team have supported their progress, discovering hidden talents and having fun along the way: “Looking down the list for the bronze award it was clear that we already did a lot of the requirements without even realising it.  This just goes to prove just how easy it is to become that little bit more green, and each little step taken helps this University save money and in turns helps save the planet.Having now completed the bronze award, the silver award and a lot of the extra challenges, we have made a lot of progress within CSE to ensure we are a greener department. Emails have been sent out to all academics, technical staff and across the University, with responses quickly received including the possibility of a space for growing fruit and vegetables.”

Well done everyone! GreenCSE are showing that Green Impact can be fun, can foster better team coordination and can help staff develop knowledge and skills both in and out of work. Looking forward to seeing how other teams fare- and remember to send us your success stories- we want to share them!

The happy team: Eamon Valentine, Susan Press, Barbara Kelly, Daniel Wadsworth, Lynsey Grace, Yang Huang, Debbie Leigh. Congratulations!

Energy House Team makes start on Green Impact

Guest post by Richard Fitton, Applied Buildings and Energy Research Group

With the new year coming the team have made it their new year’s resolution to start trying to ascend the Green Impact league.  As a unit that prides itself on cutting edge energy research, we feel that it is a natural step for us to make progress towards a more sustainable campus.

With the eager assistance of our Student Advisor Moshe Kinn, we have already implemented a wide range of the criteria from the Green Impact scheme.  It was very positive to see that some of these only took a formalisation of what practices were already in existence, such as light switching procedures, and the management of areas of IT equipment.

One of the first steps that we took was arranging recycling bins for the facility which allow us to recycle waste paper, cans and bottles etc.  These are already filling up nicely with waste that would have been otherwise sent landfill.

The next major step that we have taken is to ensure that the facilities AC systems are running to a program that is consistent with our occupancy; this has helped us find one system that was apparently overrunning and wasting energy.

Going forward, the bronze and silver category headings have been sub divided and allocated to each team member.  We aim to meet once every two weeks for updates and dissemination of work.

We also aim to publicise through the green impact network some of our ground breaking research.  Here is a piece of research ha we have recently carried out as a taster:

New research carried out for the BEAMA controls group, TACMA, shows that the installation of effective temperature controls on home heating systems has a far more significant effect on minimising energy use than previously predicted.

Tests in a typical UK house, built within an environmental chamber, show that energy consumption by the heating systems can be reduced by up to 40% through the installation of a room thermostat and TRVs, with installation costs recovered in around a year.

Greening SURF

Guest post by Dr Vicky Simpson, SURF

The Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures (SURF) has always regarded sustainability as a key focus of its work. The SURF Centre is committed to reducing its environmental impact and helping to make the planet more sustainable and responsible.

In November SURF signed up to participate in the University supported Green Impact Scheme. Green Impact is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students that gets staff and students working together to bring about positive change in their workplaces.

The SURF Centre has assessed its working practices and has introduced a number of new initiatives to improve and enhance SURF‘s influence on the environment in addition to those already in place. New practices include the use of Fairtrade refreshment products at events and electronic pack information sent out to participants prior to attending the event with the aim of reducing the need to print thus reducing waste and saving ink and paper.

For more info about SURF, see

Meet the S.U.R.G.E team!

Guest article by M. Spahiev (Green Impact Project Assistant for S.U.R.G.E)

Green Impact is a scheme which encourage staff and students to reduce their environmental impact. Although the program is in its fifth year nationwide, this is the first year it will run at The University of Salford.

My first day as a Green Impact project assistant was more than surprising. I was allocated to the S.U.R.G.E team (Salford University Response to Green Environment) which consists of the campus security and the receptions staff. Our first meeting was at the security main room from where the whole university is monitored.


Picture: Part of the S.U.R.G.E. team on our first meeting

If I need to describe the S.U.R.G.E. team with one word – they are just great. Exclusively enthusiastic and energetic they have completed most of the Bronze tasks in just a week and few of the Silver ones are already on their way. In addition, the team is developing some innovative approaches to spread the Green Impact spirit among other staff members and external visitors. For example, the receptionists are using their daily interactions to promote more environmental friendly types of transport and other green initiatives to visitors.

Some interesting activities are also going on at the Security main room. Still a prototype – the team is testing a new infrared camera which can monitor spaces without the need of any light which have the potential to reduce the overall electricity consumption.

Generally speaking S.U.R.G.E. stepped into the Green Impact project without any previous experience and maybe that is the reason why they introduced a completely new approach how to instil the green idea in their daily responsibilities. Furthermore, the team had some good environmental-friendly practices in place before the start of the project which shows their proactive attitude towards green initiatives.

The ‘Go for Gold week’ provided a great opportunity to meet other teams and share experience gained since the recent start of the program. Moreover, it was useful to exchange ideas with other team members.

During my MSc studies I heard a comment connected with current business situation that you must go out of the recession in a completely new shape in order to survive. Metaphorically speaking, if we assume that the environment nowadays is in recession, maybe Green Impact is the first step towards our rescue.

And just a friendly reminder – switch off the lights before you leave, S.U.R.G.E. team is watching you.

Achieving Bronze: Green Impact workshop tips for those who missed out!

We’re almost at the end of Go for Gold Week, and today’s workshop ‘How to Achieve Green Impact Bronze’ by Sophia Perkins of the NUS deal with a number of Green Impact’s aims: bringing people together, discussing challenges and finding solutions. For those unable to attend, here’s a summary of the contents:

  1. Working the workbook: bronze criteria are the foundation blocks of greening your team, and should be easily achievable…but there’s nothing to stop you heading on to silver/bonus!
  • Scoring is cumulative: to gain silver you must also have completed all bronze. All bonus criteria thereafter are totted up and the three top-scoring teams win gold.
  • Remember to upload evidence to demonstrate your action to auditors: this could mean photos, email memos, wall posters, minutes of meetings…
  • Don’t forget the Special awards for actions that go beyond workbook criteria (some team members gave hints of their special project). Don’t forget to nominate your GIPA!
  • Terminology clear-up: ‘Either/or’ criteria (e.g.B006) refer to situations where you can still score even if the problem tackled by the action does not refer to you. N/A is reserved only for extreme situations where, for example, a policy or listed building prevents you from making an alteration.
  1. Tackling criteria: how would you approach B002 (“Set up a ‘Switch Off’ Campaign…”)? Different peoples’ skills and interest influence their responses e.g.
  • Our energy manager suggested a technical fix to avoid human error: using PIR sensors for example.
  • In the absence of smart systems, get people smarter: the SURGE team display reminders to staff on their new Green Impact noticeboard and sends out reminder emails
  • Another team member reported how they’ve incentivised Green Impact participation by including engagement with green issues on staff Personal Development Records
  1. Top tips:
  • Use the resources out there: Green Impact resource banks and case studies , Sophia Perkins, NUS Sustainability Projects officer (s.perkins[at] and Salford’s Green Impact project officer Charlie Spring (, this blog!
  • Make meetings concise and fun: action to mitigate climate change might not hook people onto your team, but a slice of cake may well do!
  • Ways to overcome time constraints include using your GIPA, sharing out criteria to complete and ensuring people see the rewards to come (especially your beautiful recycled slate trophy and awards ceremony)

Challenges and questions were answered, such as using recycled/FSC-certified paper when suppliers are institution-wide: Sophia replied that only if enough people make the case to use more sustainable paper sources might procurement teams decide to switch: make the case!

We left feeling encouraged: SURGE told us that “if it wasn’t for Green Impact, we wouldn’t be doing this”. In their absence, a GreenCSE team member had sent us a message to read out, reporting that “My team were not really interested in green issues but this scheme has made them more aware and I think has led them to question more about how they behave in work and at home. So I think this shows that Green Impact is doing what it set out to, to improve the University and to make people think about their environment…”. So, despite the challenges, we encourage you to keep going for gold!