PSS AWARDS WINNER: Sustainability Manager of the Year – Rachel Ward


I have undertaken many projects over the last year to help improve not only our organisations sustainability but encourage our staff and students to carry on good practices at home and it future employment.

Under my leadership the University has become a sector leader in carbon reduction, reducing our emissions by over 50% since 2009. We have won several awards for our performance and this was recognised by being given a staff development award by the University in 2015 for those that assisted in meeting the targets. I decided we should use this money for a sustainability project and researched different options and came up with the idea we should use the money to install bee hives on our roof. I found a company that would provide the hives on a hire basis and also provide a beekeeper to look after the bees. We now have two bee hives on our roof which are home to 40,000 bees. I instigated staff and student visits to the bees which have proved popular. We made our first London Met honey this year which will be given away as prizes to staff and students that take part in our environmental awareness events.

I instigated the installation of a roof roof garden on top of one of our buildings. We decided to install this to provide food for our two beehives, increase our biodiversity, create a garden in an urban environment and get staff and students involved in gardening as it is great for relaxation and mental health. A twice monthly gardening club has been set up so that staff/students can learn about gardening and meet new people. The produce from the garden has been given away free to staff and students. Herbs are use in our Food Technology classes and a research project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Dietetics course to establish how to minimise food miles at the university. The garden has a compost bin to create compost from cuttings and a rain water harvester. Containers have been used in the garden as planter which were due to be thrown out. We now offer coffee grounds from our coffee outlets free to staff and students for them to take home and use in their garden.

I have actively encouraged students to gain work experience and learn about employment opportunities in sustainability. I have used links with the Energy Manager’s Association to invite energy/sustainability managers from a wide range of industries to explain their role to students to demonstrate the wide range of opportunities available. I have been keen to develop a course in sustainability at the University to help provide students with opportunities to develop a career in sustainability. Using existing modules at the University. I put together a proposed course which would require minimal additional work to produce and approached various faculties to see if they would be interested in running it. The Faculty of Business and Law were my key target as a number of courses sat within their faculty. After speaking to them about my experience and my vision for the course, they were keen to proceed and we put together a business case to implement the course in September 2017 which was successful. The new Master in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability will utilise links I have developed with industry to bring a practical element to the course. I will also teach a consultancy module which will utilise sustainability projects that are being undertaken at the University as a “living lab”.

A key part of our sustainability is carbon management. During 2015/16, London Metropolitan University embarked on a programme called “ Lighting Up London Met”. Lighting Up London Met consisted of 3 main areas– installing 3,170 LED lights, 221 PV panels and 914 windows. The project brightened up the University by improving light quality and utilised sunlight to make our own energy.

Lighting Up London Met consisted of two key projects. Transforming Energy Efficiency at Central House (TEECH) replaced single glazed crittal windows in a 1960’s building to improve thermal comfort, reduce noise levels and improve light levels. The University also utilised RE:FIT, a guaranteed energy savings scheme to implement several projects including extensive lighting replacement in our Tower Building and installing the University’s first renewable energy.

I obtained funding from HEFCE’s Revolving Green Fund to implement TEECH and also assisted in managing the project, particularly ensuring that students were involved in the project. I led a project as part of the MA Architecture students project to help design the windows to be installed. I assisted in the lectures and then utilised the designs which were finally implemented. I worked with the MSc Low Energy Architecture course to provide practical experience through involving them in monitoring the building before and after the works had been undertaken.

I obtained funding from the University and Salix to implement the RE:FIT project. I also ensured that I had buy in from Senior Management at the University as we hadn’t implemented a guaranteed savings scheme previously. I was keen that as part of this project we should install renewable energy as a visual statement of our commitment to carbon reduction. After the initial surveys were undertaken, the greatest savings were demonstrated to be from installing LED lights rather than renewable energy. I presented the additional benefits PV could bring in terms of awareness and staff/student engagement plus benefits such as security of supply, reduction in energy tax etc. This enabled the University to install 221 solar panels on the roof of its Science Centre building. They are arranged in 2 arrays which can produce a combined total of 60kW. A PC monitor, linked to the panels, was also fitted in the reception area of the building so people can see how much electricity they are producing at any given time.

In addition to the practical projects, I have instigated a programme of environmental awareness raising was undertaken to let students and staff know about the work being undertaken, London Met’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact and the actions they could take to help reduce this further. I established an annual Green Week with fun events such as green cocktails, runs up our Tower Building and Battle of the Bins. This year I have implemented “Green Impact” which is a staff engagement programme. Staff complete workbooks to achieve bronze, silver and gold levels which includes actions such as Christmas jumper day (to encourage staff to wear a jumper instead of turning up the heating), fair trade bake off and switch off campaigns. The project also trains students to audit staff. The training is IEMA accredited so provides work experience for the students.


I have worked hard to publicise the work we have undertaken to help raise staff and student awareness at the University. I have publicised the work that has been undertaken through internal communications such as staff/student newsletters, new articles on websites and through presentations at groups, for example during Reading Week to students and to the University’s Senior Management Group. I have taken part in Edie’s Sustainable Business podcasts, talking about the work I have undertaken at London Met. I have established social media accounts as this has been important in communicating messages to students with popular twitter, facebook and Instagram accounts used. I am involved in the Energy Manager’s Association Empowering Women in Energy Management and have presented at events.


We expect to save £103,200 per annum on energy costs through the “Lighting Up London Met” project and a further £7,436 per year (minimum) on CRCEES. The project was funded through a loan from HEFCE for TEECH, a loan from Salix and capital funding from the University. The lighting and PV have guaranteed savings.


I work with local schools to arrange visits to the University – we show them some of the sustainability initiatives we have in place such as the roof garden.

I work with Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership, Tower Hamlets Council and Islington Council to ensure our impact on the local environment is positive. I have delivered presentations to local businesses about what we do to reduce our environmental impact and measures that they could replicate and provide advice on topics such as monitoring and targeting.


Through the “Lighting Up London Met” project we expect to reduce the University’s carbon footprint by 440 tonnes. This will result in us meeting our 2020 carbon reduction target of 50% four years early