Green Archaeology

Green Impact Platinum award winner

The Institute of Archaeology takes green issues seriously and departmental green champions and the Archaeology Green Team work to encourage environmental sustainability within UCL.  

Institute wins UCL Green Impact Excellence Award (2015)

Sandra Bond was awarded a UCL Sustainability Achievement Award for 2015-16 for Building a Sustainable Campus. 

The Institute was awarded a UCL Green Impact Excellence Award for 2014-2015 for its project to improve environmental impact in the Scanning Electron Microscope Lab.
The Institute of Archaeology Green Team received a platinum green impact award for the department in 2013-14.

These awards follow on from silver (2012-13) and bronze green impact awards (2011-12) and also a gold award for the conservation and environmental labs, also  received in 2011-12 while Mark Roberts received the Ecologist Environmental Hero Award for 2012-13. Read more»

We encourage our staff and students to improve our sustainability eliminating waste by switching off equipment, lights and radiators when not in use, recycling, reusing furniture from the reuse network WARPit, purchasing energy efficient appliances and green stationary and reducing use of chemicals that have an impact on health.

We will continue working with the UCL Environmental Sustainability team to understand the scale of our impacts on the environment and help identify ways to address these impacts and embed sustainability into our activities.

The Big Christmas Switch Off

The Christmas Switch Off

Over the holidays, a large amount of lights, appliances and equipment are unnecessarily left on. All of this uses energy, costs money, and generates large amounts of carbon. We can all help to put a stop to this.  The Institute joins in the annual Christmas Switch Off!

'Greening' the Laboratories

  • We have lists of chemicals available for easier chemical sharing between our labs and bulk buy some items to reduce packaging and transport
  • We are testing some green solvents
  • We have swopped mercury thermometers for spirit ones
  • We use filtered water rather than distilled when possible
  • We have an inventory of freezer contents and share freezer use and defrost freezers regularly
  • We have disposed of some older fridges and when we purchase new fridges and freezers we select energy efficient A* rated ones
  • We use rechargeable batteries in the Photography Lab
  • We recycle batteries and a battery bin is now available at Reception
  • We have a new air handling system in the Conservation Labs

Fiona McLean receiving the Institute's Green Impact Award

'Greening' the office

  • Energy efficient lighting has been installed in teaching rooms
  • Solar filters have been applied on some south facing windows
  • Radiator thermostats tamper switches are set in communal areas
  • Second hand furniture is re-used where possible
  • Timers have been installed on display case lighting
  • Shutdown procedures for College closure periods are in place


  • We recycle more than 80% of our waste
  • We reuse boxes and packing material for storage and office moves
  • We operate a book sharing scheme and organise annual book sales, the proceeds of which go towards book conservation and other initiatives
  • We collect used pens for recycling
  • We collect used stamps for charity

 'Top tips'

Smart Driving

Advice on smart driving

Our top tips for smart driving; fuel efficient driving techniques cut fuel costs and reduce the wear and tear on your car

  • Switch it off – If it is safe to do so, turn off your engine when stationary for more than a minute or two. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they’re re-started without pressing the accelerator so you won’t waste lots of fuel turning the car back on.
  • Shift to a higher gear as soon as possible – Driving at lower engine speeds reduces fuel consumption. Change up a gear between 2000 and 2500 revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Drive smoothly – Anticipate the road as far ahead as possible to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Decelerate early when slowing down.
  • Slow down – Avoid excessive speeds when possible. Driving at 85mph uses approximately 25% more fuel than 70mph.
  • Close your windows if travelling at 60mph or more – The aerodynamic drag on your car of an open window at speeds of 60mph or more adds to your fuel usage. Keep your windows closed at high speeds.
  • Check tyre pressure frequently – at least once a month and before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres are not only dangerous and but also increase your fuel consumption. While checking tyre pressure, it is also advisable to check the depth of the tyre tread to ensure they are legally compliant.
  • Lighten your load – Carrying excess weight in a vehicle increases fuel consumption as your car has to work harder to accelerate. Remove heavy objects and clear your boot of unnecessary items so that you can travel as lightly as possible.
  • Air conditioning – use air conditioning sparingly as your engine has to work harder to power the air conditioning machinery. If driving at low speed, open the window instead.
  • Remove roof boxes and racks if not being used – Car designers strive to make their vehicles as aerodynamic as possible. Adding a roof box or rack spoils this by increasing drag on your car, making your engine work harder and increasing fuel usage, particularly at high speeds.
  • Don’t warm the engine – modern engines don’t need to be warmed up, so idling before you start a journey simply wastes precious fuel.

Fuel efficient driving advice and tips from the Energy Saving Trust»

We are trying to cut our travel footprint by using Videoconferencing, find out more about UCL facilities here»

Reduction of paper use

Advice on reduction of paper use
  • Publications should be laid out with the minimum necessary white space
  • Print on both sides of the paper, use line spacing of no more than 1.5, reduce margin size
  • Avoid using plastic binders/pockets, choose recycled card instead
  • Label your publications with relevant environmental information about how it was produced and use recycled paper when possible
  • If you print Powerpoint slides print double sided and select the ‘handouts’ function; it does not make a difference in slide size whether you print 6 or 9 to a page
  • If your printer does not allow double-sided printing, you can do it manually using Microsoft Word's printing features

    • select Print and look in the bottom left of the pop up screen and select the print box (under the print what box) and change from all pages in the range to odd pages
    • then flip the printed pages over and put them back in the printer, then go back to Print and print out the even pages.
Paper use

We have gone from 1.5 million sheets of paper in 2010 to 402,000 sheets of paper in 2011/12.  We aim to meet the UCL target of 5% reduction in paper use by more duplex printing and use of scrap paper printed on one side (GOOS).  We also aim to increase the reuse of jiffy bags and large envelopes. 

We aim to improve distribution of documents with dropbox, PDF sharing, electronic reading lists, departmental web site and moodle.  Use of more tablets in meetings may decrease demand for printed copies and it may be possible to project large documents or share copies rather than give every participant a copy.

IoA Green Facebook page

Follow the Institute's Green Initiatives on its dedicated Facebook page

Institute of Archaeology Green Team

Departmental Green Champions help to encourage environmental sustainability within UCL - please contact us with your Green Ideas!  Recent activities include a Green Impact Photography Competition. View the results here»

Institute Green Team Members: Lisa Daniel, Louisa Goldsmith, Elizabeth Graham, James Hales, Fiona McLean, Paul Montgomery, Andrew Reynolds, Kelly Trifilo.

The Big Easter Switch Off

The Institute also participates in the annual UCL Big Easter Switch Off initiative. It’s all about saving energy by switching off the things we’re not using.  One light left on over the holidays could create around 7kg of CO2 (that’s the weight of nearly 200 Creme Eggs). And that's not taking into account fridges, printers, chargers, heaters and all of that specialist equipment in labs too.  

Get ready

Lots of tips, checklists and resources are available to help you safely switch off!

Make the pledge

The department or division with the highest proportion of their staff pledging to be part of the Big Switch Off will be crowned the Big Switch Off champions (and win some great Fairtrade prizes).

Get everyone involved

The more people we get involved, the more energy we save.

Big Easter Switch Off

What's your green New Year's resolution?

Further information

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