UCC secures ‘green campus’ status for second time

19 Apr 2013

View of University College Cork campus

University College Cork (UCC) has retained its standing as a ‘green campus’ as a result of its environmental and sustainability drive. The university was first awarded the accolade from An Taisce in 2010.

An Taisce manages the Green Campus initiative in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan, TD, today renewed UCC’s status as a green campus.

The university was first awarded the green status in 2010 as a result of student-led environmental initiatives and an environmental review by the Buildings and Estates Department and academic staff.

In January, UCC also came third in a global green campus ranking involving 215 universities and institutes from 49 countries.

According to the university, recycling rates have increased from 21pc in 2007 to 75pc in 2012. Energy consumption on the campus has also been cut by 9pc, while there has been a cumulative saving on waste of nearly €1m in the past six years.

UCC’s president Dr Michael Murphy said that the university is the first third-level institution in the world to be reaffirmed as a green campus.

Meanwhile, An Taisce’s Dr Michael John O’Mahony spoke about how the university has adapted and developed the Green Campus programme over the last three years.

“It is evident that not only have they continued to reduce their environmental impact in areas such as waste, energy, water, travel and biodiversity but they have greatly increased the scope and impact of the programme in areas such as student and staff involvement, procurement and college-wide teaching,” O’Mahony said.

Mark Poland, UCC’s director of Building and Estates, said that staff and students and staff are continually trying to improve the university’s environmental performance in waste management, commuting and energy.

Prof John O’Halloran, who heads up the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been heavily involved with the project.

“Today’s decision is reflective of UCC’s mission to remain a truly green campus with the interaction of academic, support staff and the student community creating an exceptional combination of ideas and initiatives,” he said.

UCC Green Flag status

University College Cork (UCC) president Michael Murphy; Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan, TD; Dr Michael John O’ Mahony of the Environmental Education unit of An Taisce pictured in UCC at a renewal ceremony to mark the world’s first Green Flag campus

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic