Nelson and Colne College has slashed its carbon footprint by 16% as part of an ambitious sustainability programme.  Impressively, the College has managed to do this in conjunction with maintaining its ‘outstanding’ status from Ofsted.

The College has been working hard to reduce its environmental impact for more than five years, despite there being no legal requirement for colleges to do so.  Their journey started in 2010 when John Ellis, Facilities Manager at the College, decided to calculate the organisation’s carbon footprint.  Seeing an opportunity to reduce this, John worked with staff throughout the College, focussing on key areas where carbon emissions could be reduced.

He said: “It’s not just about making changes to buildings and services; we wanted to educate everyone in college, from students and tutors, to senior management and administrative staff about the importance of being mindful of reducing our carbon footprint.

Sustainability is a long-term agenda for the college and we are dedicated to embracing new technologies which will help us to continue to reduce our impact on the environment, whilst driving down costs to the college. This includes the recent changes we have made to our campus and the new buildings we have created, which incorporate a range of green technologies to ensure that we remain on track with our improvements.   Everyone can do their bit to help the environment and if we do everything we can to ensure that the college is being sustainable, hopefully this will inspire other organisations to do the same!”

The 16% carbon footprint reduction equates to a saving of 226 tonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) and much of this was achieved through a reduction in electricity consumption.

Dawn Wilson, an Environmental Consultant at the social enterprise Newground, who has been assisting the college with its sustainability programme, said: “What Nelson and Colne College has done is remarkable.  A 16% reduction is a major achievement and it’s definitely all down to the college’s commitment to do the right thing, be a responsible organisation and lead by example. The determination is truly impressive and an inspiration to us all.”

In the future, the College plans to further reduce their carbon emissions and is working on a campaign that will encourage the whole college community to participate.  With a new target of a 34% reduction by 2020, the College looks set to lead the way.