Friday, 20 April 2012

Results of Cuts in Funding Survey

Last January a survey was circulated to almost a thousand members of staff at various UK Further and Higher education institutions (FHE’s). 113 FHE managers participated in the survey with 74 of those managers (65.5% of total participants) completing the survey.  Participants in the survey represented a variety of backgrounds and their responses spoke volumes about the effects cuts in funding have on sustainable projects at FHE institutions.
Below is a summary of those responses.
Job Titles
The majority of survey participants (36.7% or 33 managers) were Sustainable/Environmental Managers, with ICT and Energy managers coming second and third, accounting for 18.9% (17 managers) and 16.7% (15 managers) of the participants, respectively.  Procurement managers and Building and Estates managers also participated in the survey as did waste managers and those working in “other” departments. Unfortunately neither Carbon Managers nor Utilities Managers were independently represented although their roles may have been represented within one of the various job titles. 
Length of Time in Current Role
46 of the survey participants (51.1%) had at least 1-5 years experience in their roles with the remainder having at least 6 or more years’ experience, so responses can be considered particularly valuable.
Funding Cuts Since 2010
More importantly however, the survey confirmed the effects the 2010 cuts in funding had on the sector. Results of the survey indicated that 72 institutions (80.0% of survey participants) had their funding cut since 2010 with just 5 institutions (5.6% of survey participants) stating that their institution had not. The remaining 13 institutions (14.4% of survey participants) stated they were unsure whether their funding had been cut or not, indicating no impact on their job roles thus far.
Of the institutions that stated having their funding cut, almost 30% (29.2% or 21 institutions) stated they knew by how much, (with some giving the amounts in either pound value or percentage of total budget) with the remaining 70.8% (51 institutions) stating they did not. Reported cuts in funding varied in amounts from up to £4 million to as much as 100% of budget and included a reduction in staff numbers by 34 for one particular institution.
Even participants that replied “don’t know” to having their funding cut, 40%  (or 6 institutions) admitted that their roles have in fact been affected, albeit relatively minor. Those effects overlap with institutions whose funding was cut and include not being able to hire staff as needed and a limit put on pay increases. One participant that replied to receiving the same amount of funding as previous years also stated that there was now “considerable emphasis on innovation needed to achieve a move to low carbon, low emissions campus” indicating more pressure to reduce carbon footprint.
In order to determine the extent to which departments/teams were affected, participants were given a list of possible responses: Those responses are listed below;
             Number of staff reduced in department/ team (39 survey participants)
             Number of job related resources reduced (membership of support organisations, other     
               university resources etc. (13 survey participants)
             No funding to purchase sustainable equipment (11 survey participants) or participate in  
               sustainable projects (5 survey participants).
             Freeze/reduction in funding available to attend conferences, workshops, events etc.        
survey participants).
             Freeze/reduction in funding available to attend continuous professional  
               development (
CPD) course, evening classes etc. (12 survey participants)
             Unable to complete in full an already established sustainable project (7 survey
             Loss in financial savings made as cost saving exercises have been scrapped (4 survey
             More than half (31 survey participants) also stated that they had experienced an increase
               in workload coupled with more than a third (22 survey participants) experiencing an
               increase in overall work related stress.
             None of the survey participants reported a decrease in workload despite a total of 8
               survey participants reporting having to either take a pay cut, having their hours reduced
               or having their benefits cuts.
             Even 14 survey participants who answered “No/Don’t know to having their
               team/department being directly affected, admitted to still experiencing some effects.
However, the 2010 announcement of a £600 million cut in funding to Education & Research has been seen as an opportunity for some institutions to examine their sustainable performances and work on areas where there is scope for improvement. At least 71% of institutions have implemented some sort of sustainable initiative since the cuts were announced. Those initiatives included switching off equipment and lights when not in use, investing in energy saving equipment, engaging in behavioural change, appointment of a green champion/ to monitor and reduce energy usage and waste created, etc.
So while the overall impact of the 2010 cuts in funding may be negative some institutions regarded those measures of austerity as opportunities to demonstrate how wasteful their behaviour was and how best to improve such practices. For others, it has strengthened their push for the use of more sustainable equipment across campus. 
UK FHE institutions have also indicated a more conscientious and innovative approach to their environmental decision making since the cuts were announced.
Continuing in this field of research, a follow up survey is being planned which will examine more closely on a case by case basis the true impact cuts in funding have had on universities and colleges’ ability to perform more sustainably.
It is anticipated that this research will
             quantify actual savings made in those institutions,
             compare those savings (carbon and financial) with initial capital investment required and
             compare each dataset with extrapolated results had no initiatives been implemented.
If you’d like more information about this research or would like a closer look at the results of the survey, please contact Nicola Hogan at

Monday, 27 February 2012

Manage CO2

I participated in a webinar some time ago, but for various reasons have only now gotten round to blogging about it.

The webinar was an introduction to Manage CO2, a cleverly designed and easy to use energy monitoring and measuring system.

The ManageCO2 software is an internet based, web application, carbon management platform. Information can be input into the software in many ways, either manually using the easy to use software, through excel uploads, through connections to other systems, or by connecting with sensors that are placed at various locations across FHE campuses, SME’s (or indeed any kind of large or small organisation) and the relevant data is accessed over the Internet.

The ease of use of the accompanying software is unrivalled. ManageCO2 has taken all the complexity away from the end user by making decisions based on emissions factors and choosing methodologies for calculating the ecological footprint based on the configuration data. Questions posed to assist the user in the process of inputting preliminary data is written in a straight forward language. The software also contains a reporting suite and an Interactive executive dashboard so those in charge of energy can monitor any increases and decreases.

The software can be used internationally and will consistently, reliably and accurately collect the required data and report any organisation's accompanying carbon footprint.

The software ensures compliance with the ISO 14064, ISO 14001 standards and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. It also produces reports consistent with the UK’s Defra's Carbon Reduction Commitment, Climate Change Agreement and the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme.

In addition to all of this, the data collection process can be integrated with existing systems, such as T&E, ERP or BMS systems. Alternatively, by deploying the ManageCO2 wireless energy monitoring devices, the organisation's carbon footprint can be monitored in real-time, which provides an extra level of management capability and analysis. This feature in itself can prevent minor incidents of energy wastage from snowballing into expensive mistakes.

The combination of integration of monitoring equipment with accompanying software, automation and reliability of data collection, ease of use and simplicity in understanding energy readings makes ManageCO2 a world class carbon management solution.

Adrian Flemming co-founded ManageCO2 in 2009 following years of struggling with spread sheets and cumbersome software solutions in an attempt to manage organisations carbon footprints. He founded the software company with a view to removing all unnecessary complexities from the process while providing an easy to use, reasonably priced carbon management solution.

Check out ManageCO2 at the following link

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sponsoring the EAUC's 2012 Annual Conference.

I realise this blog is mainly read by UK FHE managers so feel free to forward it onto any business contacts you think may be interested in sponsoring  the event.

The EAUC’s 2012 Annual Conference will be taking place from 27th - 29th of  March at the University of York.  There is a Platinum sponsor and a few Silver sponsor packages still available. Sponsorship of our internet cafĂ©,  our networking event, lunch, coffee break and conference raffle are also up for grabs.

For details and prices, simply click on the following link :

or contact  Helen Exton, Conference Manager on 07531244208.

This conference promises to be the sustainable event of the year, so don’t miss out !

Monday, 16 January 2012

Establishing How the 2010, £600 Million Cuts in Funding to the Sector Have Affected Sustainable Initiatives Across University and College Campuses.

Last week I wrote and circulated a survey, the purpose of which was to obtain a clearer picture of how the 2010, £600 million cuts in funding to the sector have affected sustainable initiatives across University and College campuses.
Through the course of my research as the SUSTE-TECH PM with the EAUC, and in my previous role at the University of Limerick, I experienced the unfortunate effects insufficient funding has on sustainable projects. Funding cuts result in institutions being unable to participate in sustainable, cost saving exercises and/or unable to complete projects they may have previously signed up for.
This also results in a waste of institutional funding and resources and of the time and efforts of everyone involved.
While this may have seemed like an obvious and simple solution by the government to save money, it only results in even greater long term costs as initial saving made are lost and further waste is created.
However, some institutions have seen the cuts as an incentive to improve their overall sustainable performance. They have used the “measures of austerity” to be more vigilant about wasting resources such as energy and encouraging more sustainable work practices. I, for one, am keen to learn what exactly institution have done to save money and reduce their ecological footprints at the same time.
This survey is targeted at Environmental/Sustainable, IT/ICT, Procurement, Buildings & Estates, Operations, Energy, and Waste managers, interns, assistant managers, team members etc., within the FHE sector.  There are 3 x £30 gift certificates from an online retailer to be won and everyone who completes the survey will be automatically entered.  The closing date for being in with a chance to win one of the prizes is January 30th, 2012 but the survey will remain open long after that.
Simply click on the following link to participate:
I'm hoping that the results of this survey will support my theory that cutting funding to support sustainable projects in an attempt to save money, has the opposite effect.
Hopefully, future decision makers will realise this and award funding to sustainable, cost saving projects, when trying to save money.