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Durham University


Staff Environment Champions

The Environment Champion (EC) network began in 2008, at the request of the Vice-Chancellor. It was recognised that the behavioural actions of our staff can and do have a massive impact on the amount of carbon we waste, especially with reference to energy use (gas and electricity).

Staff representative(s) from every department and college within the University makes up the EC network. This person acts as an environmental advocate and champion's best practice for their department or college. The ECs also act as a vital two way communication between the Greenspace Sustainability Team and their respective department or college. Each of the sixteen colleges has an Environment Team, of which the EC is a member.

All ECs can request stickers for their buildings from Greenspace. We have stickers for lights, taps, doors and windows ('Switch it off' for lights, 'Turn it off' for taps and 'Close it' for doors and windows). We also have Beat the Baseload stickers for equipment and smaller switch it off stickers for monitors.

We also strongly recommend that all staff and students complete the Environmental Sustainability Online Training module which can be accessed from the duo homepage. It includes video clips from staff and students talking about work undertaken, schemes in place across the University and information on how people can help. The training will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Who is your Environment Champion?

A full list of Environment Champions can be found here.

Environment Champions' Handbook

This handbook has been designed to provide ECs with the information they need to effectively carry out their role. The handbook explains about Greenspace, why the University wants and has to reduce its carbon footprint, what this means and how we can do it together. It also clears shows the accountability and responsibility structure for carbon management in the University.

ECs can use the handbook as a reference guide to inform staff in their department / college of the reasons the University needs to reduce carbon emissions as well as using it as a tool to check which policies and procedures the University has to help staff work in a sustainable way.

You don't have to be an EC to read the handbook. Any member of staff can read this book and learn more about the University's carbon footproint and how we can reduce this.

Sharing Best Practice in Departments and Colleges

There is a vast amount of excellent environmental work going on around the University and we want to start sharing this best practice between Departments and Colleges. We have created a template which should be used to record your project/initiative – we will then turn this into a best practice case study. The best practice can relate to any aspect of environmental management. Please return your completed form to with the title ‘Sharing best practice’. Please attach any relevant photographs to the email.

Environmental Initiatives Planning and Impact Form

We have created a new form to assist with planning and evaluating environmental initiatives.There is one form for Colleges and another for Departments.

The form is to be completed and returned for each environmental initiative undertaken (this applies to behavioural as well as non-behavioural projects). This aim of this new form is to enable Colleges and Departments and Greenspace to:

  • Share best practice
  • Identify the impact that environmental initiatives can have
  • Understand each departments utilities usage

College Environment Champions should return the completed forms to and Department Environment Champions to


Posters for use by Environment Champions

If the poster you need is not on here please contact us and we can create one for you.

Energy walk-through

We are no longer promoting staff Environment Champions (in conjunction with other staff who have knowledge of the buildings) undertaking an Energy walk-through in their department - instead we are asking staff to look at the 50 environmental tips for staff which cover more areas of environmental sustainability including waste and travel.


Training and awareness

All Environment Champions were requested to attend a one hour training session during October. The session covered the context of carbon management in the University, the new accountability and responsibility structure relating to environmental sustainability, the role of the Environment Champion and a tutorial on the new energy management system - SystemsLink.

The presentation can be viewed here.

The SystemsLink user guide can be viewed here.

Environment Champions and members of the Environmental Sustainability Strategic Planning Group we invited to a talk from our guest speaker, Dr Brenda Boardman. Dr Boardman is an Emeritus Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. The talk was entitled ‘Do buildings or people use energy?'. It examined some of the issues involved in using energy for heating, lighting and computers and the policies, measures and practices that might affect this. The talk will included inter alia, the Green Deal, European product policy, private landlords and what we waste.

The presentation can be viewed here.

A training, awareness and networking session was held for the Environment Champions on the 18th September, 2012. During this session the 'Beat the Baseload' additional monitoring initiative was explained. We then had an open feedback session where the Environment Champions offered feedback on the Environment Champion Initiative and asked questions relating to any aspect of environmental management as well as completing the annual questionnaire. We then had a training session on the new furniture and equipment reuse portal 'WARPit'.

The presentation can be viewed here.

A training, awareness and networking session was held for the Environment Champions on the 29th February, 2012. During this session the 'Beat the Baseload' campaign was launched and examples of good work were discussed in order to promote the sharing of best practice. The Environment Champions were then involved in a round table discussion.

The presentation can be viewed here.

Another training session was delivered to the Environment Champions on 25th May, 2011. The presentations are available to view by any member of the University. Also included is a list of ideas on reducing our carbon footprint provided by the Environment Champions.

1. Presentation by Professor Tim Burt, Yvonne Flynn and Claire Tindale

2. Presentation by Dave McCaffery

3. Ideas for reducing our carbon footprint

A training and awareness session was delivered to the Environment Champions on the 14th October, 2010. This purpose of this session was to provide the Champions with the information they need to help them carry out their roles.

There were several presentations relating to key areas of our environmental sustianability policy. All presentations have been saved into one file which can be viewed by any member of the University.