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Net Zero continues to be a college priority during COP26, as students make climate change pledge

As World leaders unite and head to Glasgow for #COP26 to tackle climate change, Borders College staff continue on their sustainable journey to influence and lead on the importance of the drive to Net Zero by hosting a number of COP26 activities which are aligned to the presidency themes.

A recent keynote speaker at the College Development Network Climate Change conference, College Principal and CEO Angela Cox, will lead an online conversation around Sustainability and Leadership to get the programme of college activities underway from Borders College.

Principal Cox will set out how the climate emergency has redefined sustainability, taking it from a component of corporate social responsibility, escalating it to become a leadership essential, to be placed at the heart of all of our plans.

Commenting on the event, Angela said:

“This is our opportunity to continue our journey from good to great. We will demonstrate the importance of moving towards a more sustainable society through our work as an instigator of behavioural change, ensure relevance and impact on a global scale by committing to the circular economy and developing our staff and students to become global citizens.”

In the second event, Greg Steel, PhD. Head of Sustainable Construction at Borders College will share his vision for a sustainable future to address the theme of energy.

Dr Steel said:

“In our built environment, the technology exists to build homes that are net-zero for emissions (zero carbon). It is even possible to build new homes that are net positive, that generate and sequester more carbon that they emit over the lifetime of the building. Our existing housing stock is ready for a sensitive upgrade with energy efficiency measures and the use of sustainable materials. Upgrading insulation in houses leads to warm and comfortable homes, promoting healthy living environments and bringing people out of fuel poverty with much-reduced heating bills.”

In the online video production, Greg will showcase the possibilities that exist to improve the energy efficiency opportunities that are possible in our built environment, to not only new builds but that is equally applicable to the existing housing stock.

As part of the Youth and Public Empowerment theme, Borders College Students’ Association will lead on a grassroots student event to gauge the understanding of the student population around COP26, carry out an information programme, and then ask the students to make their own personal Climate Change Pledge. The findings of the activities, and pledges, will be shared online.

In the fourth and final event, the Department of Enterprise and Business Innovation will lead on the Cities, Regions and Built Environment theme with a hybrid event allowing delegates to attend in person or online and allow employers to have the opportunity to look at the practical changes they can make to address climate change in their organisations. There will be opportunities to look at renewables and green energy in our eco-house, hear from organisations about climate change issues in the Scottish Borders, renewable technology and training and visit our new robotics room to see how innovation in manufacturing may help in the move to net zero. 

The speakers at this event include James Napier – Net Zero Community Scotland, Kristine Reilly – Beyond Healthy Homes and Richard Cook from Borders College.

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