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Plymouth College of Art invest in a sustainable future

Reinforcing Plymouth College of Art’s commitment to sustainability, the college believes that it is the first education institution in Plymouth to invest in a 100% electric van. Supplied by Exeter Nissan, the environmentally-friendly e-NV200 is a zero emissions vehicle with no engine noise.

The college is also committed to reducing its energy consumption and carbon footprint by replacing fluorescent tube lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting. LED lighting is already used at the college’s Palace Court campus for pre-degree students and the recently-opened Palace Studios for Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students, with the aim for all lighting across the college to be LED by 2020.

Lee Merchant, Facilities Manager at Plymouth College of Art, said: “It is important that we continue to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and look at innovative ways to reduce our carbon emissions. As we are now a multi-site college, an electric van was the perfect fit for staff to travel between sites, carbon-free. We have made great strides in the last few years reducing our emissions and this initiative solidifies our progress. In future, we will continue to look into renewable technologies, further LED lighting and potentially more electric vehicles, to achieve our 34% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020”.

Significant progress was made in the college’s sustainability agenda in 2011 when architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios were commissioned to design a sustainable master plan for Plymouth College of Art’s estates. The college’s Craft, Design and Fabrication workshop building is working towards achieving BREEAM Excellent status (the world’s longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings), something that only 4% of new builds in the UK achieve.

The workshops contain mechanical ventilation using the latest LEV systems, recycling heat from the glass furnace, solar panelling on the roof and a sealed building for energy efficiency. This heat recovery system draws waste heat from the glass furnace and kilns situated in the open-plan studios, supplying space heating to the rest of the building and making it as self-sustaining as possible.

Over the past year, the college’s energy certificate has been upgraded by one rating. This indicates that the buildings have significantly reduced their impact on the environment, subsequently lowering fuel bills, which allows for savings across the college to be invested into further sustainability measures.

Students are also getting involved in raising awareness of the local environment, by collaborating with Urban Buzz to transform green spaces into areas of habitat creation and pollination. In partnership with Plymouth City Council and funded by Biffa Award and Garfield Weston Foundation, earlier in the year students filled campus plant beds with pollinator-friendly dye plants, from herbaceous and evergreen perennials to deciduous shrubs, which can be used to create a functional bed for use by college’s the textile programmes.

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