Are we dispensing of water coolers?

QUESTION:

Is the rumour true that the University are dispensing of all water coolers and, if so, are there any plans for suitable cold alternatives?

ANSWER:

As far as we are aware there have been no proposals or decisions made to remove all water coolers from across the University. This is certainly not something that has been discussed within Executive.
The idea may well have come from the Green Impact initiative, specifically, the silver Green Impact award. This asks the team to meet the following criteria: ‘not have any bottle-fed water coolers or, if it does, it has a valid reason for not having replaced bottle-fed water coolers with mains-fed versions’.

This is encouraged as bottle-fed water coolers are typically 150% more expensive to run than mains-fed water coolers (34.0 pence per litre vs. 0.22 pence per litre respectively) and both dispense the same quality water. Mains-fed coolers also have significant additional environmental impacts through food miles.

As Green Impact is currently voluntary, this criteria is encouraged as opposed to enforced. Another initiative local management are asked to consider where feasible, is the removal of disposable plastic cups and the fitting of timer clocks to water coolers to save energy during non-operational hours. Staff are reminded that tap water within kitchen areas across the University is also of drinking quality unless otherwise stated on site.

Why have the light switches been removed in the Beacon Building?

QUESTION:

Why have the light switches been removed from C342 and C346 on the top floor of the Beacon Building? Now the lights remain on all day while the rooms stand empty for most of the day. This surely does not comply with the University’s green policy.

 

ANSWER:

The lighting in these rooms has been updated as part of the teaching room refurbishment programme. This has resulted in the light switches being relocated inside trunking rather than within the plaster surface. The switches will be marked up when the works in these rooms are complete. The new lighting will be on absence detection when fully commissioned, but in the meantime it is necessary to have continual full light for 100 hours as part of the ‘burning in’ process. This extends the life of the tube within the light fitting.

Are there any planned incentives to encourage more people to car share?

QUESTION:
The University is regularly promoting ‘sustainable travel’ and being ‘green’.

With this in mind, are there any planned incentives to encourage more people to car share?

Lots of people work similar hours and live in close proximity so it would make sense. However there is currently nothing in place to encourage more staff to do this.

 

ANSWER:
The University has been a member of the Staffordshire Share-a-lift scheme for several years now. This car share database will allow individuals to search for car sharers either from the University or the wider community, the latter increasing the possibility of finding a car share partner. In addition, as part of the sustainable travel plan, a guaranteed lift home scheme provides car sharers a lift home in the event of an emergency. (Terms and conditions apply.)

Looking forward, once the landscaping improvements have completed and the car park management strategy has embedded, the University will be in a position to investigate guaranteed parking spaces for car sharers, although the exact mechanisms for managing this process will need to be considered in the future.

Where practical could the University not allow flexible start and finish times for those staff that are interested to allow for a greater use of public transport?

QUESTION:
The recent travel questionnaire assumes that everybody has a choice in the way they travel to work.

I would love to use public transport rather than the car but the total inflexibility of my start and finish times means that this is impossible (I would arrive at work either very early or very late and would have similar issues when leaving at the end of the day!)

Where practical could the University not allow flexible start and finish times for those staff that are interested to allow for a greater use of public transport?

 
ANSWER:
The survey forms the first part of an exciting new local travel planning initiative to encourage us to become less reliant on the car. It is appreciated that not everyone is able to do this with the local transport links currently available. The survey does seek views on how this may be improved to enable more people to be less reliant on the car.

The University does encourage flexibility in working arrangements where this is possible to accommodate and meets the needs of the business. Many areas of the University operate on a flexi-time system which does allow flexible start and finish times.

It may be helpful if you discussed your personal circumstances with either your line manager and/or Personnel Officer to explore whether any flexibility in your working pattern could be accommodated. There are , however, going to be some roles where this is not possible and it is important, therefore, that we capture as many views as possible via the survey on the current transport available to help inform improvements going forward.

Will the number of cycle stands on campus be increased?

QUESTION:
Are there any plans to increase the number of cycle stands on the Stafford campus?

The current provision of stands gets very crowded, and if the new parking plan increases the number of people cycling to work, there will be insufficient secure lock-up points.

 

ANSWER:
We have recently identified spaces for more cycle parking at Stafford and will be installing more cycle hoops very soon.

You can find out more on campus improvements at Shaping the Future

 

Will the cycle-scheme be re-launched?

QUESTION:
Are there any plans to re-introduce the cycle scheme?

 
ANSWER:
The University is pleased to announce that Cyclescheme will be re-launched and available to staff from Tuesday 4th September.

This scheme had been suspended whilst further advice was sought as a result of a number of HMRC rule changes to the cycle to work scheme. Terms and conditions apply. Further information is available at www.staffs.ac.uk/cyclescheme or tel. 01782 294664.

 

Why can’t staff claim for taking passengers on business journeys?

QUESTION:
Please advise why we cannot claim for taking passengers on journeys!
In the light of the limited parking at this years’ graduation ceremony I thought it would help by offering to take colleagues (and thus going out of my way to get them back to RSH at the end of the day) assuming there would be some allowance for the additional impact having 4 passengers has on the function & fuel consumption of my vehicle.

Apparently this is not the case –is there no incentive to car share – surely this fails to meet the ‘green’ ideals!

Won’t be offering again! We will take 5 cars next time – at what cost to the university.

 
ANSWER:
The mileage rates payable are intended to cover the costs incurred by the member of staff in using their own vehicle. Where additional mileage is incurred in picking up or dropping off passengers associated with business travel, then the additional mileage is claimable at the applicable rate.

In the spirit of sustainability, will the Uni swith to e-cards next Christmas?

Question:

Seeing as the University is committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint I was wondering if there are any plans to send out an electronic christmas card rather than the current ones that we post out?

Answer:

As part of our commitment to reduce the environmental impact the University has through its environmental strategy, this is certainly a viable suggestion for consideration for Christmas 2011. 

Health, Safety and Environmental Unit will liaise with the Design Unit to ensure that any Christmas card production has a minimal environmental impact, with e-cards being the most obvious choice. 

If these were not deemed  sufficient, and traditional cards were printed, the specification will include environmental considerations such as digital printing and minimum orders to reduce wastage, FSC or recycled content paper stock and statements to inform the recipient the card has a lower environment impact through its design and to encourage them to recycle when the card is disposed.