An awards event has been held to celebrate the commitment of University of Chester employees to sustainability in the workplace and mark the start of a new era in renewable energy.
Sixteen teams of employees received awards at the university sustainability unit’s fourth annual Green Tie Awards ceremony, which recognises staff committed to making an impact through the actions they complete in their departments, to make them more environmentally sustainable places to work.
This year five teams achieved the gold award, four silver and seven bronze awards were presented to teams from across the university.
The awards were presented before the official switch on of the solar panels on both Churchill House and Bridge House.
Student volunteer eco-auditors also received certificates for their trained role in auditing the teams and four teams and two individuals also received special awards for their efforts in engagement and leadership.
The winners of the special category prizes were:
Best Newcomer award went to Learning Information Systems (LIS) Queen’s Park Library; Innovation for Engagement award went to Bridge House, Queen’s Park; Environmental Improvement was awarded to Warrington Frogs (the Warrington Broomhead Library team); Community Engagement was awarded to Hospitality and Residential Services – Catering; Environmental Hero was given to Galina Nasteva, a programme administrator, Centre for Work Related Studies, Professional Development for leading behaviour change across the Faculty of Business and Management; and the Student Leadership prize went to Karen Elliott, a final year geography student, for her commitment to environmental and sustainability initiatives across the university and the wider community.
The prizes were sponsored by Chester- based renewable energy engineering specialist Genfit, which won the tenders to install solar panels on 10 buildings across the university.
Genfit installed solar PV panels on premises at Parkgate Road Campus, Kingsway Campus and Queen’s Park Campus on a variety of roof types.
Managing director of Genfit Dave Houston said: “The module-level monitoring for reduced operation and maintenance costs was really important for the sustainability team, in order to pin point alerts for cost effective maintenance - if a panel fails we know exactly where it is, avoiding costly access and engineers’ time on site.”
Most importantly, the remote monitoring and kiosk displays work well for the team, because they can track and share information to raise awareness of energy use in buildings as part of the demand reduction strategy and work.
The data has already put to good use within the sustainable futures module as part of a student evaluation of the joint benefits of PV and LED projects to four buildings on the Parkgate Road Campus.
Head of sustainability Alice Elliott said: “It’s great to show staff, who are making such a big impact in their departments, that the university is also making great changes throughout the campuses.
“Installing the solar panels on these buildings was a huge achievement in such a short time frame, and it was thanks to Genfit’s professional approach and consistent communication that the Estates and Facilities Department were able to collaborate to achieve these carbon, energy and cost savings and to secure the feed in tariffs for the electricity generated.”