Today, on Monday 18th September, the Swap Shop on Penryn campus reopened to encourage students and staff to pick up preloved items for FREE, instead of purchasing new. The last academic year saw the Swap Shop achieve great success as we celebrated nearly 100kg of items that had been donated, 240 items reused and over half a tonne of carbon saved!
We would like to emulate (if not exceed) this same success, which is why the Swap Shop has reopened for Welcome Week at the Sustainability Café. The Swap Shop is FREE for all to use and shall be open from 8:30am – 4:30pm, until Friday 22 September. It will then move to Fox Café on Falmouth Campus the following week, Monday 25 September – Friday 29 September.
Students and staff from Falmouth University, the University of Exeter, FX Plus and the SU are all invited to get involved, whether that’s through choosing preloved items from the Swap Shop itself or donating items in good used condition that others could make use of.
The Sustainability Team have set up Swap Shop Donation Points on both campuses, these are located in the Rosehill building (Falmouth) and AIR building (Penryn). If you have any surplus items that you think our campus community would love, such as unwanted stationary or lonely kitchenware, then please donate them the Swap Shop for re-homing.
The Swap Shop will also make regular appearances throughout the year, in the run-up to key holidays and special dates in the calendar to try and encourage you to shop sustainably by re-using and re-gifting quality used items.
Members of Cornwall Ancient Tree Forum (CATF) are working to register Penryn Campus’ Lime Tree avenue for preservation and protection as the trees (Tilia cordata) are aesthetically, historically, and environmentally of great importance.
Tim Kellett and Marion Bryant from CATF and Environmental science student Kira Jefferies recently took measurements of lime tree girth for the Ancient Tree Forum records. Tim, Marion and Kira are also looking for hollowing of trunk and cavities; fungi; lichens in on and around the trees; damage and dead wood in the tree crown; epiphytes such as ferns; climbing plants such as ivy; clematis, honeysuckle and any other plants living on the tree.
A trial project to recycle food waste in Penryn student residences has been so successful it’s being rolled out across our campuses.
The scheme began in May (2022), when the FX Plus Facilities team teamed up with Cornwall Waste Solutions to encourage students to separate food waste in some of the some Glasney Village blocks, at Penryn Campus.
It was later expanded to more student residences, including Packsaddle, and now new food waste bins have been installed just outside AMATA Cafe, in the bin compound near the AIR building and at Falmouth Campus. Even more locations will be added soon.
This has already led to a big increase in food waste being sent to an anaerobic digestion plant, where it can be turned into electricity, fuel and fertiliser. In September/October 2021, 1.5 tonnes of food waste was to anaerobic digestion facilities – this was from the kitchens of the main campus catering outlets at Falmouth and Penryn. This year, in the same period and with the addition of the new food waste bins, 2.5 tonnes has been sent.
Casey Thomas, Head of Facilities Management, said: “Thanks to the innovation of the Facilities team, this project is already making a significant contribution to supporting Falmouth and Exeter universities in their aims to make our campuses more sustainable.”
New, pay as you ride, electric bikes are now available at Penryn Campus.
As a special, introductory offer, the first 900 students to sign up on the Beryl Bikes app using their university (Falmouth University or the University of Exeter) email address can have up to 30 minutes riding for free.
The Beryl Bikes have been installed as part of a county-wide cycle share scheme funded by Cornwall Council. 50 bikes at 21 stations across Falmouth and Penryn are now available with the scheme being expanded to Newquay, Penzance, St Austell and Truro over the coming months.
The Penryn Campus electric bikes are outside The Exchange, opposite Heart Reception, and along the Old Drive. Those two stations can accommodate 10 bikes as part of the wider scheme.
Their easy availability for campus users supports the sustainability aims of Falmouth University, the University of Exeter and FX Plus and will make it easier for staff and students who want to ride tackle Cornwall’s hills.
Users can pay for use of the bikes by the minute, with a pre purchased bundle or with a 24-hour day pass. For details of other bike locations (including several near Falmouth Campus), how the scheme works, downloading the app and more, please see the Beryl Bikes website.
We are committed to supporting biodiversity and sustainability on our campuses. Part of this involves twice yearly flower counts which not only give us an estimate of how many bees we support but also to measure the benefits of changing the mowing regime on areas of land.
Since 2020, Every Flower Counts surveys are carried out by the Grounds Team twice a year, at the end of May and the end of July. They help to track changes and to compare different areas, including unmowed grass areas, wildflower turfed areas, seeded areas and more.
Most areas surveyed are the same each year but some vary, depending on which are being left wild/unmowed.
Alasdair Garnett, FX Plus Groundsperson, explained: “The surveys give us a rough idea of how areas are performing. From the latest (July 22) survey, we can see that our grassland is healthy and benefitting wildlife. And, as we’ve seen recently with goldfinches on the Ox Eye Daisy bank, once the bees have enjoyed the flowers the birds get the use of the seeds.
“We use volunteers to manage and improve the big wild areas, raking the cut grass and sowing wildflower seeds, and this year we also have many young plants grown from seed which will be planted from September onwards. We’ll be organising regular volunteering sessions from Freshers through the winter to help with this.”
Plantlife organises Every Flower Counts as a way of supporting plants and pollinators. The survey allows participants to calculate the difference they are making for nature with their Personal Nectar Score.
Counts include the number of individual, open flowers and flower richness – the number of different flowering species present.
The Plantlife results are displayed differently this year, preventing comparison with previous years but the Grounds Team is hoping to be able to compare future years from now on.
The July 2022 results headlines for Penryn Campus are:
Number of flowers on all areas surveyed: 2,884,918 (estimate) which gives –
Enough nectar sugar to support 112,521 honeybee workers per day.
Enough pollen produced to support 15,857 mining bee brood cells/larvae or around 1586 bumblebee larvae.
The gardens and grounds at Penryn Campus have been recognised by the international Green Flag Award Scheme as among the very best in the world, for the sixth year in a row.
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity sKeep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
Penryn Campus is shared by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter Cornwall and the historic grounds are open to the public.
Oliver Lane, FX Plus Director of Residences and Facilities, said: “We are delighted to have retained this award for a sixth year. It highlights the hard work of our teams and volunteers – both students and staff. Particular thanks should go to Toby Nenning, Grounds and Gardens manager, and Casey Thomas, Head of Facilities Management, and to their teams.
“Both Falmouth University and the University of Exeter are dedicated to sustainability under their Climate Emergency declarations and a key part of this involves supporting green spaces and the biodiversity on our beautiful campus.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making Penryn Campus worthy of a Green Flag Award. It is testament to all the hard work of staff who do so much to ensure that it maintains the high standards demanded by the Award.”
Penryn Campus blends historic sub-tropical planting with newly created landscapes. and are a haven for a diverse range of plant and animal species. The gardens are open to everyone include a walled garden; herbaceous beds; sub-tropical planting; fruit producing orchard; Italian garden and terraces; an 18th Century lime avenue; parkland; a drive with Pinetum native woodlands and historic rare rhododendrons which were cultivated on the site in the Victorian era.
A six-person Grounds Team manages about 150 acres there as well as the smaller, equally beautiful Falmouth Campus.
We are significantly increasing the amount of photovoltaic (PV) panels on roofs at Penryn Campus this summer.
This is part of continuing work to support the declarations of climate emergency, by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter.
Sarah Roby, FX Plus Director of Estates and project sponsor, said: “This is one of several pieces of work, large and small, that we are carrying out to support the ambitions of our partner universities to achieve net zero carbon emissions and making our campuses more sustainable. This will save energy and money for future investments and improvements.”
Starting in July, more than 1700 new panels will be fitted on the roofs of Daphne Du Maurier (DduM), Peter Lanyon and the Sports Centre. These will add to existing panels already installed on DduM, Stella Turk and AIR; with the existing Sports Centre panels also being upgraded and expanded.
Chris Piper, Head of Estates Operations, is managing the project for FX Plus and Cornwall-based ZLC Energy will be carrying out this work, with project management support provided by Devon-based KingWelsh Consultants.
Once complete, the newly installed solar panels will have a total capacity of 775 kW with an estimated 700,000 kWh per year generated; carbon savings of 149 tonnes CO2 per year and energy cost savings of about £150,000 per year (based on current energy costs).
The panels will be placed to the roofs with weights to keep them in place. This system means they are easy to reposition and they will not disturb any turf roofing underneath.
We’ve launched a pilot project to reduce more waste on our campuses by separating food waste in our halls of residence.
The Facilities team has teamed up with Cornwall Waste Solutions for this trial, which is underway in Glasney View blocks L and M, at Penryn Campus.
It is estimated that about a third of our household waste is food and we are aiming to divert this from general waste to anaerobic digestion facilities, where it can be turned into electricity, fuel and fertiliser.
Casey Thomas, Falmouth Exeter Plus Head of Facilities Management, said: “This is a key priority for the waste management team and supports both Falmouth and Exeter universities in their declarations of climate emergency and the plans to make our campuses more sustainable.”
There are 12 flats with about 80 student residents involved, with food caddies in each kitchen and waste bins close to the blocks. These larger bins are collected by a specially equipped truck that lifts, empties and then sprays the bins clean.
If successful, this scheme will be rolled out to other student residences at Penryn Campus.
Our main campus catering outlets at Falmouth and Penryn already have food waste collection in place.
If you have single-use face masks lying around then please feel free to drop them into the recycling bin in the Exchange foyer, Penryn Campus, or the Fox Café, Falmouth Campus. From here they will be combined with other ‘hard to recycle’ plastic items and sent to ReFactory, a company which will turn them into ‘stormboards’ that are then used for shopfitting, children’s furniture and new recycling bins.
Twelve new electric vehicle (EV) charging points are going to be installed at Penryn Campus.
The points, which will be in Car Park A, are in response to a growing demand as more people choose to buy electric vehicles meaning the two chargers currently installed don’t provide sufficient charging capacity.
They will be run by supplier Pod Point, a company which offers an app to make use and payment easier.
David Lawrence, Falmouth Exeter Plus Energy Manager, said: “This project will help to make our campuses more sustainable while also offering greater choice to users. While we try to encourage walking, cycling, or using public transport, we recognise that this is not always practical in Cornwall. These EV points will therefore support owners of more sustainable vehicles.”
The charging points will be installed in April and should be ready for use by the end of that month.
Further information on how to use the new electric vehicles charging points and location will be provided ready for use after upon completion of the installation.
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