UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Triple sustainability success for UCL CEGE’s Environmental Engineering section

30 July 2019

UCL CEGE’s Environmental Engineering laboratory has received the 2019 UCL Sustainability Gold Award, with the laboratory offices receiving the Bronze Award. CEGE’s Dr Adler has also received the 2019 UCL Sustainability Research Award for his contributions to the field.

Dr Utku Solpuker, CEGE's environmental laboratory technician, with two plants awarded at the UCL Sustainability Research Awards ceremony 2019

Given to laboratories and offices that accomplish certain sustainability criteria, receiving both the Gold and Bronze Awards is a significant achievement for UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE)’s environmental engineering team. 

The awards were presented during a ceremony at UCL on 18 July 2019, and in a nice touch, all winners received a plant. Dr Utku Solpuker, a laboratory technician, UCL ‘Green Champion’ and CEGE Environmental Officer, highlights the importance of small-scale efforts, such as putting up reminder signs to switch off lights, in making a difference when it comes to sustainability. He commented that CEGE’s environmental engineering team “try to bring more awareness to issues related to sustainability. Our little efforts may not seem much individually, but when we assess the overall effect of our combined efforts, then it is clear that we make a difference. I'd encourage all laboratories and offices to adopt similar practices - they really do help.”

Dr Judith Zhou, CEGE’s Environmental Laboratories Manager and Departmental Chemical Protection Officer, explains that the environmental team "have been actively participating in UCL sustainability initiatives since 2013. Each year, we have won the top prize for the laboratory category, first of all led by myself, then by our colleague Catherine Unsworth, and now by Utku. Thanks must go to CEGE's Technical Resources Manager, Ian Seaton, for his full support. We are all very proud of this latest achievement, and congratulate Utku, the winner for the past two years!"      

Further CEGE success at the Sustainability Awards came the way of Dr Ilan Adler, Principle Teaching Fellow in CEGE, and new Engineering for International Development MSc programme director. Dr Adler received his award for his wealth of sustainability work, which prior to his time at UCL included setting up an NGO - the International Renewable Resources Institute (IRRI-Mexico) - and co-founding social enterprise Sistema Biobolsa. 

Dr Adler said he was “honoured to be nominated for, and to receive, a UCL Sustainability Research Award. Since joining UCL, I have founded EcoNomad Solutions thanks to a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship; established the Eco-Hub in UCL's PAMELA lab (including our own real-time weather station); set up the Surrey Docks Farm Biogas Project; and, with the help of a European Regional Development Fund award and UCL Innovation and Enterprise grant, am in the process of setting up a similar experimental project with Rothamsted Research which, in collaboration with a number of UK enterprises and universities, will form the basis for a new research hub in sustainable agriculture technologies.”

Visited by over 20,000 people a year, the Surrey Docks Farm Biogas Project was initially installed with the help of Dr Adler’s students from CEGE’s environmental engineering modules, and has been running since 2014. It received a UCL Provost’s Public Engagement Award in 2017, and a UCL Grand Challenges for Sustainable Cities grant.


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  • Credit: UCL Sustainability Awards 2019 

  • Caption: Dr Utku Solpuker, CEGE’s Environmental Engineering laboratory technician, with the Environmental Engineering team’s botanical prizes.