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Protecting our environment

Sustainable Campuses

At BU, sustainability is key when undergoing works to improve our estate. Increasing biodiversity around our campuses is a long-term goal at BU, and along with constant improvements to buildings and spaces on campuses, is conducted in partnership with the BU community.

Biodiversity on Campus

Our students get involved in a number of conservation projects organised mostly by the Student's Union (SUBU) and the Faculty of Science and Technology.

The projects include community work at Slades Farm and the Stour Estuary Nature Reserve as well as regular beach cleans. In 2017, the Stour project was shortlisted for an EAUC Green Gown Award in the Community category, connecting the local people with wildlife on their doorstep. Find out more about the Green Gown Awards.

On campus the Faculty of Science & Technology also has a variety of ongoing conservation projects that students are able to contribute to. Over the past year students have been involved with planting of wildflowers and trees around campus as well as monitoring bird boxes. There is now growing space in the front of Christchurch House which is used and monitored by both staff and students, and the plants grown there are used to further Living Lab projects at BU.

There are also a number of green-fingered student clubs and societies at BU, one being the Green Loop project. Having been awarded funding by the NUS the Green Loop students have begun a self-sustaining project to grow and sell food on campus, using the polytunnel on the Talbot Campus a polytunnel and their local allotment plot. As well as sustaining their project they also aim to pass on their permaculture knowledge to others and share their voice on the Biodiversity committee.

Sustainable Estate

BU is constantly looking to improve and modernise its buildings and estate. A key part of this vision is to make the estate more sustainable.

Over the past couple of years BU has opened two landmark buildings, the Student Centre and the Fusion Building, and has also carried out major refurbishment works in other buildings.

BU's Student Centre, which opened in 2015, is the central hub on campus for the Students’ Union. It has a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) excellent rating in recognition of its environmental credentials. The building incorporates solar arrays (PVs) which provide electricity to drive the ground source heat pump, which in turn provides a renewable source of heating and cooling for the building.

The Fusion Building, which opened on Talbot campus at the start of June 2016, also has a BREEAM excellent rating. The building incorporates high-quality solar arrays (PVs), a ground source heat pump, a combined heat and power plant (a highly efficient way to provide heat for the building from electricity generation), rainwater harvesting, LED lighting, triple glazing, internal trees and green roofs. It also has a large glass dome on the roof which allows natural light into the building and reduces the need for artificial lighting.

Another major sustainability feature of note is the Poole House biomass heating system which burns sustainably sourced local wood chips to power the central heating system. To close the loop all the ash by-product created is then returned and used on the land. To close the loop, Ash is returned to the land as a fertiliser to help grow the next generation of trees.

Further investment into our sustainable estate has recently seen the addition of our new bus hub to the Talbot campus. The six-bay bus facility offers UNIBUS passengers a high-quality purpose-built facility for their journeys to and from the Talbot campus. The canopy shelter is made from solar glass and is generating electricity for us to use on campus. Read more about our bus hub.

How to get involved

You can find out more information on the SUBU Volunteering pages where current opportunities are listed. You should also look out for the annual Green Week event in March. Campus Collective and the Wildlife Conservation Society run lots of biodiversity campaigns themselves and are always looking for keen volunteers. 

Student experience is always in mind when designing spaces at BU, and these spaces are for all BU students to enjoy. We provide guided tours of our estate to inform staff and students about the new technologies used to power our buildings and help reduce our energy and water use. To find out more about a tour, please email

How does this help BU?

BU has a Biodiversity Policy (pdf 183kb) and Action Plan designed to improve the quality of habitats for wildlife on campus. The Biodiversity Group is tasked with implementing the policy and action plan, and students are represented in the group. Our grounds maintenance contractor carries out the work which is influenced by this group.

BU is proud of the sustainability credentials of the two new buildings on its Talbot Campus. Both include a range of low or zero carbon technologies to minimise energy and water use and provide excellent conditions to support academic endeavours. The Sustainable Construction Policy (pdf 181kb) outlines BU’s commitments to continuing to invest in a more sustainable estate.

Learn more about how we're improving biodiversity on campus

We're always looking to improve the way we manage our operations to reduce their impact on the environment, and this includes biodiversity. We have implemented our Biodiversity Policy and Action Plan to maintain, and where possible enhance, our campuses for people and wildlife to enjoy. 
The policy and action plan aim to identify our biodiversity baseline, so understanding what flora and fauna we have on site is vital. This means that we can manage our biodiversity properly.
Key actions include:

  • Supporting Staff and Student projects
  • Reducing our use of chemical pesticides
  • Sow wildflower areas
  • Investigating opportunities to integrate biodiversity into future developments, e.g. sedum roofs
  • Removing and management of dominant or invasive species
  • Improving bird boxes within the woodland border on Talbot Campus
  • Developing local community and stakeholder links
  • Seeking out and supporting projects that will enhance the biodiversity of BU
  • Regular reviews with grounds maintenance contractors to identify further improvements.

Hear from SUBU

It’s always incredibly satisfying to watch students develop and grow their confidence and life skills when they volunteer. To watch them finding fun, friendships and experience that will last a lifetime makes my job so worthwhile."

Gillie Lewis, SUBU