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BDI/NDPH building in Oxford

Solving global health challenges isn’t the only thing on the agenda for those working in the Big Data Institute (BDI)/Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) Building: our staff and students are also committed to environmental and sustainability issues. This dedication has been officially recognised in the 2020 Green Impact Awards, with the building’s Green Team achieving a Gold Award. The scheme encourages organisations to make practical changes to support the environment, including reducing waste, recycling materials and promoting sustainable lifestyles. This fantastic achievement reflects both the hard work of the Green Team and how the building was designed from the start to minimise its environmental footprint. Key features and activities that contributed to the award include:

Building design:

  • The building’s temperature is naturally regulated by an underground labyrinth, which cools incoming air in summer and warms it in winter
  • Heat generated by the building’s IT servers is used to heat nearby water pipes, generating hot water

Catering:

  • Single-use cutlery and takeaway containers have been replaced with biodegradable or recyclable versions; staff are also encouraged to bring their own cutlery and plates
  • Unsold products such as sandwiches are redistributed to homeless charities, with unavoidable food waste sent to anaerobic digestion
  • A water cooler with recyclable cups has been added to the cafeteria
  • Single use coffee cups have been replaced with BDI-branded reusable mugs which were freely given out to staff and students

Reducing waste:

  • Waste bins were replaced with recycling points
  • Staff introduced a scheme to recycle pens and other stationery
  • IT systems are now set to print double-sided by default

Communications:

  • The internal newsletter contained a ‘Green Tip’ each week, such as turning off computers overnight
  • The building entrances’ display screens include slides outlining green issues and activities, such as the bike doctor scheme
  • The Green Team’s intranet webpages provide advice to help staff live more sustainably, including cycling routes and bus links
  • Pre-COVID-19, the Green Team hosted monthly, informal events to help more staff to engage with sustainability.

Graham Bagley, who led the Green Impact Award application alongside Facilities Manager Andy Darley, said ‘We are very pleased with being recognised as a Gold standard building. Our Green Team have come up with some brilliant ideas, but all staff members, including the catering team, have been very supportive in helping us to implement these.’

The Green Team are planning further initiatives and to find out how you can get involved, or for more information about the Green Impact Award, email Graham Bagley.