Sustainable UCL


Green Week 2017

4 October 2017

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Join us for a week of festivities aimed to inspire and engage you in sustainable living!

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Green Week is a great opportunity for students and staff to celebrate and raise awareness of all the fantastic environmental initiatives taking place at UCL, and to inspire further action towards a more sustainable future.

A whole host of green-themed events and activities get organised by staff and students across the university – film screenings, bake sales, bike workshops, biodiversity walks, craft activities and much much more!

Events Programme

Monday 30th October

Green Impact intro workshop (staff only)

Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Location: IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 604

  • If you are planning on getting involved in Green Impact this year- whether you are new to the programme or have completed it previously, please come along to find out how it will be running this year.
  • John Draper will be speaking to inspire teams on how to increase engagement.
  • Free t-shirts for green champions and re-usable coffee cups will be provided.

Please email hannah.biggs@ucl.ac.uk if you would like to join.

Tuesday 31st October

UCL Sustainability Festival

TIME: 12:00 – 15:00

  • Come and meet charities and organisations at Student Union UCL's environmental volunteering fair. Organisations include: UCL Conservation Group, FareShare, Heath Hands, Thames21, The Conservation Volunteers, Roots & Shoots and more!
  • Explore social and ethical products, taste our future with insect tasting and learn how to save waste with our Kimchi-making workshop.

No booking required, simply rock up. For more information, please email hannah.biggs@ucl.ac.uk

Cycling lessons

TIME: 11:00 – 14:30

  • Project Active have joined up with the UCL Sustainability to bring you free urban cycle skills training to celebrate Green week 2017.
  • Improve your cycling skills and confidence in a free Camden Council Cycle group session for those who can already start, stop and balance on a bike. The team of qualified instructors will help you cycle more confidently and refresh your technique and practice the skills needed for cycling safely. 
  • We will meet int the main quad for some introductory skills before heading out onto the cycle lanes around UCL. 
  • Bikes and helmets provided.

3 time slots avaialable:

  • 11:00 – 12:00 Group 1
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Group 2
  • 13:30 – 14:30 Group 3

Book here

Repair cafe

TIME: 11:00 – 16:00

UCL Estates, Institute of Archaeology, Institute of Making, & The Goodlife Centre will be providing a repair cafe.

Come along to find out how investing in what we already own adds value, brings meaning, and creates joy.  By repairing we bring together what we need to remake our world. Through problem solving, innovation, and healing, we can experience the comfort of reclaiming what was lost in the damaged thing.

Repair is a significant component of alternative processes of organising new realms of socially and ecologically just cycles of production and consumption. UCL is committed to sustainable practice and promotes reuse, maintenance, mending, repair, conservation and recycling as part of the circular economy.

Join us to see how ‘Doing-it-Together’ (DIT) is more productive than merely ‘Doing-it-Yourself’(DIY).

  • Bike maintenance: Dr Bike (11:00 -16:00)

    These free MOTs are open to all cyclists, so feel free to drop by. The team will check and tune your bike, carry out minor repairs and diagnose more complex problems.

  • Re-chair Repair: The Theatre of Conservation (13:00-16:00)

    Forget those DIY bodged repairs, or hastily acquired craft skills, heritage conservators will show you the ‘proper’ way to look after your valuable possessions. We make heritage objects by mending broken things.

Sustainable Risotto Cooking Class

TIME: 15:00 – 17:00

Enjoy an afternoon discovering this staple of Italian cooking: Once you have learned to matke one good risotto, you can make any risotto, learn to cook this wonderful dish that can transform leftovers and seasonal vegetables into something really tasty and wholesome

Book here

Wednesday 1st November

Green Impact Project Assistant Training (for students)

TIME: 13:00 – 16:00

  • We're recruiting students to help our departments become more environmentally and socially sustainable. The opportunity allows students to develop skills in project management, communications and leadership. 
  • View the GIPA Role Description for further details.
  • Please email a completed GIPA Application Form to hannah.biggs@ucl.ac.uk by 18th October.
  • Successful applicants will be invited to training.
  • Free lunch provided

Green Impact meet and greet

TIME: 15:00 – 16:00

  • If you are planning on completing Green Impact this year with the help of a student Green Impact Project Assistant. Come along to this session and have your first meeting with your student to plan for the year ahead.
  • For more details on Green Impact see here.
  • Free tea and coffee provided
  • Please email Hannah Biggs beforehand to inform her that you would like help from a GIPA.
Thursday 2nd November

Bat talk

TIME: 17:00 – 18:00

  • Join the UCL Conservation Society for an evening bat talk to learn about these mysterious creatures of the night and how UCL research is helping to reveal aspects of their secretive lives.

Book here

Friday 3rd November

Urban Bird Walk

TIME: (8:30–9:30) and (12:30-13:30)

If you fancy some fresh air and want to learn about some of the wildlife that lives among us on the UCL campus, join the UCL Conservation Group for their infamous bird walk.

Meet your fellow UCL bird watchers outside the Print Room cafe at either 8.30am or 12.30pm before heading into Gordon Square and beyond for about an hour.

Book tickets (morning walk)

Book tickets (afternoon walk)

This event is part of #uclGreenWeek. See the full events programme here:https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/sustainable-news-publication/green-week

Trip to UCL's Recycling Centre

15:00 – 17:00


  • Did you know that none of UCL's waste goes to landfill? Join us on a trip to ByWaters recycling centre to see where your waste goes.
  • ByWaters is at Gateway Road, Leyton, London E10 5BY. We will be traveling by train.

Book here

Saturday 4th November

Get growing at Bentham's Farm

TIME: 11:00 – 16:00
LOCATION: MAX RAYNE/IFOR EVANS HALLS (at the back, next to the tennis courts)

  • Want to save money and learn how to grow your own food? Get your hands dirty with UCL's student-led allotment project.
  • No need to book just turn up!

More events coming soon! Keep up to date on social media with #uclGreenWeek

Green Week Pledges:

We know most of you care about the environment, our health, and our communities. We want to help bring people at UCL together in simple actions that will improve our impact on these things. Together, our simple actions can make a big difference.

We've signed up to Do Nation and are asking everyone to make a simple pledge. Whether you want to try cycling to UCL, start sharing things instead of consuming or ditch disposables - there's something for everyone.

Make a pledge!

Lets see how much change we can create together! 

What is UCL doing to respond to global sustainability challenges? 

Climate change is one of, if not the most significant challenges of modern society. It affects all aspects of our economy, society, and the environment. Our growing population will need to face up to challenges of energy, water and food insecurities.

UCL has 38,000 students and 11,000 staff from 150 different countries, spread over 230 buildings. We are effectively a small city, and like any city we have a big environmental footprint. Last year we spent £13 million on electricity and heating, which resulted in 68,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

As an institution we need to find ways to reduce our impact and rise to the challenge of climate change.  While we are working hard to make our campus more sustainable by investing in greener buildings, practices and products, we also see the opportunity UCL has through engagement with staff and students on sustainability-related issues. UCL students will become leaders all over the world, so we want to make them sustainably literate citizens, able to solve these global, pressing challenges. Below are just a handful of examples of green initiatives which we are implementing at UCL to respond to our sustainability challenges.  

Sustainable Initiatives at UCL

A sustainable campus

UCL’s campus is undergoing the largest transformation of its history, with £1.2 billion being spent on creating state-of-the-art buildings, designed to be good for the environment and student welfare. Our latest buildings, including the new Bartlett School headquarters, have won awards for their sustainable designs. All buildings have been built with and kitted-out in, environmentally conscious materials and products such as sustainable paints, timber from well managed forests and reusable furniture. 

Watch this video to see the plans for UCL’s new student centre and campus in Stratford

Innovative technology is further reducing our reliance on fossil-fuels, for example we are taking waste heat from our new data centre to provide heating for one of our buildings.


Here East solar

A number of our buildings are already generating their own renewable energy from solar panels, and we have an onsite power station which provides low carbon heat to 40 buildings on the Bloomsbury campus. But we want to go further than this and so are looking at options to source all our energy from renewables over the next few years.

Food and Drink

Calthorpe project

We are dedicated to developing a sustainable and healthy food culture at UCL. We're providing Fairtrade, local, seasonal and organic food where possible and student group ‘Sugar Snap’ have been working with UCL to develop a new range of healthy salad pots. UCLU have been working with the student vegetarian society to develop a new vegetarian/vegan range in their cafes.  To tackle waste, UCL is trialling a reusable lunch box scheme. There are also discounts on coffee and tea for students and staff who use a reusable cup. Additionally if you are interested in growing your own food, you can get involved in UCL’s allotment at Bentham Farm.


Waste disposal

coffee logs

At UCL zero waste is sent to landfill. On average 65% of UCL’s waste is recycled at a Materials Recovery Facility, with the rest being turned into energy. You can view how items are recycled at the facility in this video; thanks to a huge solar system on the roof the waste facility is carbon neutral. We have partnered with one of UCL’s alumni BioBean to turn UCL’s waste coffee into bio-fuels which is used in London’s buses and we are working with our waste collector to develop a new coffee-cup recycling facility. 

Sustainable transport


As part of our ongoing work to improve cycling facilities on campus, UCL actively campaigned for the retention of the Torrington Place and Tavistock Place cycle lanes last year. The lanes, which run past the Bloomsbury campus have made cycling safer and healthier for students and staff. The campaign achieved a successful outcome with Camden announcing plans to make the cycle lanes permanent. UCL also runs free bike maintenance sessions, the next one is on April 25th in the front main quad.

We’d be surprised if you hadn’t noticed all the construction work going on around campus. To reduce traffic congestion and air pollution during UCL’s ‘transformation’, we have set up a Logistics zone outside of London. This allows large Lorries to deliver their goods off campus. Smaller vans then take the goods to campus, once their load is full. This means less vans on campus and better air quality for everyone.


swift image

As we are based in the heart of London, we know how important it is to encourage wildlife at UCL. From green roofs, rewilding schemes and student-led projects to put swift boxes on our buildings, we are helping to enhance UCL’s biodiversity. UCL’s Conservation Society have monitored the wildlife around our Bloomsbury campus, and have recorded over 30 bird species- including peregrine falcons and a Kestrel. This is a remarkable feat given the urban nature of our site. Weekly bird walks are organised by the Conservation Society, you can join in by visiting their site here.


Research, Teaching & raising awareness



UCL has an amazing number of researchers working to solve environmental and climate change issues, and many were involved in the historic Paris Climate Change negotiations and agreement.  To engage our community about sustainability, UCL has hosted a variety of events, talks and lectures. Last year our annual Lancet Lecture was on climate change for a healthier world by Christiana Figueres, former UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary.

With our living lab projects, students and academics are encouraged to use the campus to solve sustainability challenges. Students from the BASC School are currently studying UCL’s toilets, to come up with solutions as to how to reduce water consumption from toilet flushing. UCL’s Grand Challenges and Global Citizenship programmes also enable students to learn and work to solving global issues.