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Linacre: A Sustainable College

Tuesday 8th July 2014

Linacre College prides itself on being committed to lowering its environmental impact. It promotes the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, to minimise environmental pollution in all its activities and, where possible, influence and encourage others to do so.

Above you can see the solar panels installed on the Abraham and Griffiths buildings. Just one of our projects to ensure that we reduce our impact on the environment, and embrace sustainability in all areas of our work.

Linacre College is proud of its commitment to the implementation of sustainable initiatives and lowering its environmental impact. The College takes a forward thinking approach to exploring new and emerging sustainable technology as well as embracing some of the more traditional best practice.

Linacre has a rich history of investment in a responsible approach to carbon reduction, confronting green issues and the support of ethical frameworks. Linacre’s Abraham Building, built in 1995 and opened by Sir Edward Abraham, achieved a BREEAM excellent rating, won the Oxfordshire Special Conservation Award 1995 and won the highly prestigious Green Building of the Year Award 1996. This captured the interest of HRH The Prince of Wales who visited shortly after the building was occupied in March 1996.

Linacre was the first Oxford College to be awarded Fairtrade status and continues to support the foundation having had its status renewed in January 2014. The Fellows, staff and students enjoy collaborative decision making and in 2012 agreed to invest in a new building integrated photovoltaic array on the main College site.

In 2013 we completely refurbished two substantial external student properties upgrading the insulation within the external envelopment, the installation of a highly efficient space heating and hot water system, movement controlled low energy circulation area and emergency lighting, low-flow air entrained water outlets and appliances and high performance windows.

The College's Sustainability Committee, Finance Committee, Green Society, two Green Students and its Common Room Executive will continue to prioritise equitable ways in which to remain at the forefront of implementing sustainable technologies into its carbon reduction strategy.

Summer Works Update 2014

From the end of Trinity Term and during the summer months when it’s generally a little quieter around College we take the opportunity to carry out essential maintenance and renovation work here at the main site and at our satellite properties and accommodation. 

Last year our focus was on the total renovation and refurbishment of a newly purchased property, Neil Fraser-Bell House and one of our existing houses, The Beeches. Both these properties benefitted from the installation of  upgraded insulation and new windows, a low energy heating and hot water system, low energy LED circulation area and emergency PIR controlled lighting, new kitchens fitted with the best energy rated  appliances, new shower rooms with low flow water saving devices installed and were completely redecorated and carpeted throughout. Both were fitted out with completely new furniture making them a really wonderful place to live. We hope that the return on our investment will be realised over the coming years with reduced carbon production, lower running cost and less maintenance issues. We have received lots of kind and positive comments back from students that have lived there and hope that the latest residents all enjoy the new facilities.

This year we have carried out very similar exercises at the two student houses we have on Oxford’s Iffley Road with kitchens, shower rooms, lighting and decoration improvements all being undertaken, and following the high quality and installation standards set at the aforementioned properties.

We have also turned our attention to improving and upgrading to the highest possible standard some of the services that safeguard and protect us all here in the main College buildings. We have recently completed the upgrade from an old analogue CCTV security system to a new digital networked system. Following a thorough appraisal of our fire alarm early detection system and spread protection  strategy we have just finished the last phase of a three phase upgrade to the systems in the Bamborough, Abraham and OC Tanner Buildings ensuring that these meet the highest industry standards and are equal to that of the newest building on the main site, the Griffiths Building. We have also made significant improvements to the fabric of these buildings to prevent and contain the spread of fire.

Following the theme of energy saving work carried out at some of the earlier mentioned student accommodation and in line with the highest possible industry standards we have completely replaced the circulation area and emergency lighting system throughout the OC Tanner Building. The old lighting system has been replaced with new super low energy LED movement controlled lights that provide a far better quality of light on for less time at a fraction of the cost.