Thursday, 9 June 2011

Do Green awards help or hinder?

Yesterday (7th June 2011), the Guardian Newspaper published its 'Green University rankings' for the UK. Nottingham Trent came out on top, along with many of the new universities, while the more traditional universities, including Oxford, got a 'third'. Not really surprising, as you would hope that the more modern buildings are built to higher design specifications, including insulation (not much of that at Oxbridge, as I know very well!).

Will students choose where they study on this basis - I doubt it - but it may make universities think a bit harder about their policies and plans. And that is the point of awards. They show you how you compare. They offer a benchmark if you want to improve.

The trouble comes when you define absolute standards. I heard one business say it was 96% green and had won a silver award in national scheme. The scheme is useful, it encourages change, but 96% of what? When you have the last 4% are you completely green for life? I don't think so. 

The danger is complacency and mis-information. You are rarely 100% right, so it’s unlikely that everything has been done to be green - ever! The wide range of environmental standards and relevant research is always changing and, because of this fact, we are always updating the green24 site.

David Jackman

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