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NCEO’s environmental Green Group launched

A new environmental group for NCEO has been developed to improve NCEO’s sustainability across the centre and to further NCEO’s environmental goals.

What is the NCEO Green Group?

Research at the NCEO covers a wide range of subjects, from forest mapping to methane leaks, and while the research may cover different topics, they all have the same central theme; to observe the health of our planet. Whilst so much of NCEO’s research focuses on advancing our current knowledge of the Earth, we also need to be looking at the impact NCEO has on the planet as well.

To change this, NCEO has formed its own Green Group made up of NCEO members from different universities and chaired by the NCEO’s Environment and Sustainability Coordinator. The aims of the group are to make NCEO more sustainable as a centre and to promote sustainable choices throughout the centre.

NCEO hybrid van

NCEO hybrid van at an electric charging point at Space Park Leicester.

NCEO Sustainability Policy

The formation of the group comes after the NCEO published its first sustainability policy, which outlines what the centre will look like in 2025 and beyond. It also highlighted emission reduction targets that closely follow those outlined by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Green Group will support the Environment and Sustainability Coordinator in achieving the aims set out in the policy whilst also highlighting other areas for improvement across the centre.

Although the environmental work will ultimately follow the overarching aims of the policy, meetings within the group are entirely self-led. Members bring along topics they are passionate about to discuss within the group and actions are set to ensure the first steps are taken to achieve specific goals.

Solar panels Space Park Leicester

NCEO-funded solar panels on the roof of Space Park Leicester.

NCEO Green Initiatives

Before the formation of the Green Group, NCEO had made strides to improve their environmental impact by investing in a number of green initiatives. Central to this was the funding of a variety of different projects within NCEO’s new headquarters at Space Park Leicester (SPL). Thanks to funding from UKRI and NERC, NCEO were able to provide SPL with rooftop solar panels and air-source heat pumps throughout the building to improve its environmental impact. This was coupled with funding for trees, bulbs, wildflowers and planters, which will help to improve the biodiversity of the area surrounding SPL.

Alongside funding for SPL, NCEO also received funding from NERC and UKRI to install solar panels at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), one of NCEO’s research partners. The installation was alongside other green initiatives ongoing at PML to improve its outdoor spaces.

Another green initiative undertaken by NCEO was the addition of two hybrid vans to its University of Leicester and Kings College London bases. Although not fully electrified, the addition of these vans will encourage the use of electric vehicle charging and greatly reduce NCEO’s fuel usage and emissions.

Planters SPL

Entrance to Space Park Leicester with planters funded by NCEO grants to improve biodiversity in the area.

Green Group Projects

To achieve the goals set out by the sustainability policy the Green Group are planning to carry out a number of sustainability projects to improve NCEO’s environmental impact. The Green Group, with the aim of encouraging more people within the centre to become aware of their environmental impact, will showcase these projects at NCEO’s conference in September. The projects will vary between quick wins across institutions, to larger projects with larger impacts.

One of the initial projects set up by the group is to trial the communications app and website Slack. The trial aims to highlight the benefits of the app within NCEO as it allows easy communication with colleagues across institutions, which was previously carried out over email. One of the advantages of Slack is its environmental benefits for NCEO. Currently, the NCEO Slack workspace produces 0.86g of CO2 every time someone visits the website. This is over four and a half times less than the CO2 produced when sending a single email. By the end of the trial, the group will present the benefits of Slack for both the environmental significance and the user capabilities.

Biodiversity planting at Space Park Leicester.

Biodiversity planting at Space Park Leicester.

How to join the Green Group

The Green Group are always looking for new members who are passionate about the environment. If you are interested in joining the Green Group, please contact Eleanor Morton to get involved. Meetings occur once a month at times agreed by the group.

About the author

Contact Eleanor Morton, Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, for further information