Green tourism ‘silver status’ for all our venues

posted on Monday 3 July


Green venues in Oxford

We recognise our venues must do their bit to help the planet and are committed to reducing our environmental impact through our sustainability policy. The Green Tourism accreditation enables us to celebrate what we have been doing well and helps us to keep improving.

Here’s a list of a few of the things we’ve been up to….

  • Reducing our carbon emissions – despite the University’s estate growing by 33% over the past 10 years, we have reduced our carbon emissions from 133kg CO2 per metre squared to 95kg CO2 per metre squared, putting us near the top of many University league tables.
  • Promoting sustainable travel – the Oxonbike pedal and electric bike scheme has seen pedal power cover a distance equivalent to travelling around the world, not just once but twice!
  • Become England’s first swift city – we’ve partnered with Oxford City Council and the RSPB to stop the decline of the swift bird population. Started in January 2017, this two year project will maintain current swift nests across the city and will add a further 300 sites onto new and existing buildings.

And in our venues we are….

  • Reducing our energy consumption – through using as much LED lighting as possible, installing energy efficient boilers and participating in campaigns to turn off lights and other devices.
  • Reducing our waste – since 2014 all of our waste has been diverted from landfill. Our recycling rates are increasing and any food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion to produce low cost, low carbon renewable energy.
  • Using Fairtrade tea and coffee – which tackles the elements that farmers need to make their lives sustainable in the long term including being financially stable, protecting the environment and supporting the community.

And we are working towards….

  • Having 50% of our menu items meat free by the end of 2018
  • Purchasing 60% of our food from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties by the end of 2018
  • Achieving ‘Food for Life status’ in 2018 which is about making good food the easy choice for everyone. The scheme aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from, teach them how it’s grown and cooked, and champion the importance of well-sourced ingredients.

“St Luke’s Chapel has been beautifully restored with a combination of modern best practice and traditional conservation activities. The lighting is all LED and the toilets are water efficient. Outside the gardens are low maintenance with rainwater harvesting. The gardens are great for bees and pollinators and cycle hire facilities are close on hand.  I am pleased to award Gold status for the Chapel” Green Tourism Assessor 2017.

“The Sheldonian Theatre has done well to gain a Silver award given that it is a historic building with some old features. The conservation work using traditional paints and restoration has been excellent. Also the onsite team is positive and focused and has found some eco options like detergents and fair trade refreshments. The building has some natural features which help maintain the temperature of the building without excessive air con.” Green Tourism Assessor 2017.

“Osler House achieves a Silver award thanks to a combination of some excellent activities and commitments by the University as a whole and some positive actions across the venue. The kitchens and dining areas are well maintained and the washrooms and toilets have some nice features from some dual flush toilets to efficient flow rates on taps. Healthy eating is promoted and the venue has condensing boilers and good overall controls.” Green Tourism Assessor 2017.

“The Examination Schools did very well to gain a strong Silver award at the first audit. The general estate and sustainability team is very strong and this helps all sites considerably but there are also local actions at the exam school which really add to a great score. The restoration of the main reception is excellent and there is a good programme to switch to LED lighting. Boilers are efficient and new fridges have the lowest impact gases (r600). Toilets are fairly efficient too with urinal flow sensors etc. Building conservation has restored an old sooty building to a high standard and the school should focus on the extra potential to gain a GOLD award next time. Green Impact display and signage is good also.