Institute of Archaeology


Green Archaeology

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

Clourful banner with green/blue background, a picture of a bunny and text in black and white

The Big Easter Switch Off 

The Institute of Archaeology 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.  Time to switch off while we recharge over Easter.


A close up of a Christmas tree decorated with different coloured light bulbs. Text 'Christmas Switch Off' superimposed in front of the tree

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 Christmas Switch Off at UCL each year.

Last Christmas, we saved an incredible 107 tonnes of carbon over the closure – that’s equivalent to planting 1,783 trees!* This saved UCL an amazing £140,023 over the festive period.

[**On average, one tree can consume approximately 60kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.]


LEAF Gold Award logo (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework)

The UCL Institute of Archaeology Laboratories were awarded a Gold award from LEAF - the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework - for 2019-20 as part of UCL’s sustainability behaviour change programme.

The Archaeology LEAF team, led by Sandra Bond, Lead Departmental Green Champion and Facilities Manager, used the framework as inspiration to change laboratory protocols, thus reducing the impact of lab activities.

Sandra was also nominated for a Staff Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability, to mark her wide-reaching and tireless commitment within the Institute of Archaeology and beyond.

The Institute received an Excellence Award at the UCL Sustainability Awards 2018 for making our labs more sustainable. We had previously received an award for Excellent Labs in 2017.  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. 

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 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.

'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

'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

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.

  • Staff Green Champions Sandra Bond and Charlotte Frearson
  • Institute Green Team Members: Lisa Daniel, Louisa Goldsmith, Fiona McLean, Andrew Reynolds, Kelly Trifilo

Further information