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Connecting with nature

Sustainable Campuses

At BU, sustainability is a key component when undergoing works to improve our estate. This involves both developments to our buildings to make them more environmentally-friendly and increasing biodiversity around our campuses so that we continually improve our campus spaces to be healthy, happy and sustainable places for everyone in our community.

Biodiversity on Campus

We're always looking to improve the impact of our estate on the environment, and this includes maintaining and, where possible, enhancing biodiversity on our campuses and ensuring they are a place for both people and wildlife to enjoy. 

BU’s Biodiversity Group, with staff and student members, is tasked with implementing our Biodiversity Policy and Action Plan and our grounds maintenance contractor carries out the important work. The Policy and Action Plan are designed to improve the quality of habitats for wildlife on campus. They aim to identify our biodiversity baseline by understanding what flora and fauna we have on-site to ensure that we can manage our biodiversity properly. Key actions include:

  • Supporting staff and student projects, including growing spaces on and around our campuses
  • Reducing our use of chemical pesticides
  • Sowing 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
  • Conducting regular reviews with grounds maintenance contractors to identify further improvements
  • Supporting our Hedgehog Friendly Campus accreditation.

Environmentally-friendly buildings

BU is proud of the sustainability credentials of its newest buildings on our campus, which feature 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 outlines BU’s commitments to continuing to invest in a more sustainable estate and we are constantly looking to improve, modernise and make our buildings and estate more sustainable. Over the past few 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 and across our campuses:

  • Student Centre, opened in 2015: the central hub on campus for the Students’ Union has a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ for its environmental credentials. The building has solar panels which provide electricity to drive the ground source heat pump, which in turn provides a renewable source of heating and cooling for the building.
  • Fusion Building, opened in 2016: this building also has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and is host to solar panels, green roofs and a ground source heat pump. Its combined heat and power plant provides a highly efficient way to heat the building, while rainwater harvesting reduces our water demand and LED lighting and triple glazing also support energy efficiency. The building brings the outdoors inside with internal trees and its large glass dome which allows natural light into the building to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
  • Biomass heating system: this system is a renewable source of heating on campus, burning sustainably sourced local wood chips to power our central heating system with the ash then used to fertilise the next generation of trees.
  • Bus hub on Talbot Campus: this six-bay bus facility offers UNIBUS passengers a high-quality purpose-built facility for their commutes. The canopy shelter not only protects from the rain but is made from solar glass and generates electricity for us to use on campus. Read more about our bus hub.

Get involved!

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

  • Join a society: There are a number of green-fingered student clubs and societies at BU, one being Campus Collective. Having been awarded funding by the NUS and BU, they have begun a self-sustaining project to grow food in the polytunnel on Talbot Campus and on their local allotment plot. As well as sustaining their project they also aim to pass on their permaculture knowledge to others and share the student voice on the BU Biodiversity Group.
  • Growing on campus: The Faculty of Science & Technology has a range of conservation projects that student and staff can contribute to. Students have got involved with planting wildflowers and trees around campus as well as monitoring bird boxes. We also have growing space in front of Christchurch House which is used and monitored by both staff and students, and the plants grown there are used for Living Lab projects.
  • Community work: Projects we have run include supporting conservation work at Slades Farm and the Stour Estuary Nature Reserve. In 2017, the Stour Project was shortlisted for an EAUC Green Gown Award in the Community category, for connecting the local people with wildlife on their doorstep. Find out more about the Green Gown Awards. ResLife and SUBU also hold regular beach cleans: join in to enjoy the sea air while cleaning up our environment, or run your own with a group of friends!
  • Take a tour: our campuses are designed for you to enjoy! If you want to find out more and use them to their full extent then contact the Sustainability Team for a guided tour of our estate to find out what technologies and sustainability measures we've included to create our sustainable campuses.
  • Support our Hedgehog Friendly Campus: BU has recently signed up to be a Hedgehog Friendly Campus! Partly funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, this scheme aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by our spiky friends and take practical steps to improve habitats and circumstances for hedgehogs across university campuses. Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a campaign that wants to arm a new generation of hedgehog champions with the skills and knowledge to give the dwindling hedgehog population a better chance. If you are interested in supporting the BU campuses become hedgehog havens, consider joining the Hedgehog Friendly Action Group to make it happen or take your own action, just let us know about it!

Get in touch!

If you're a staff or student interested in any of the above opportunities, email the Sustainability Team or find out more information on the SUBU Volunteering pages. We'd love to have you join in!

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