University of Bedfordshire races towards head of green vehicle league

Bedfordshire is one of the best universities in the country for electric vehicle ownership, an independent national survey has shown.

The University ranked fourth out of 114 UK universities as a third of its vehicles are fully electric. The survey, conducted by, also showed that the Higher Education sector is well ahead of the national average in terms of the number of electric vehicles that it runs – 7.7% of all university-owned vehicles are purely electric powered, compared to just 0.11% of all UK vehicle registrations.

Purchasing a duo of Renault Kangoo ZE’s in 2012, Bedfordshire’s Facilities and Estates (F&E) department expanded their fleet with the addition of a third ZE late last year.

Awarded grants by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) totalling £15,000 towards the trio of vans, the University’s carbon emissions have decreased by 8,000 kg in just over two years.

In order to replenish the electric vehicles, four charging points, which can handle two vehicles at once, are stationed at the University’s Luton, Bedford and Putteridge Bury campuses, including one at the Fitzroy Hall student halls of residence. Each van is capable of completing 80 miles on a single charge.

Adam Higgin, the University of Bedfordshire’s Head of Environmental Sustainability, said: “We are committed to reducing the University’s carbon footprint, and it is vitally important we keep making regular steps to underline that ethos. So we’ve recently decommissioned our 16-seater diesel minibus, replacing it with one of the electric vehicles.

“The electric vans have registered around 14,000 miles between them and they are an essential means of transport, carrying freight and people between Bedfordshire’s six campuses on a daily basis.”

In addition to the electric vehicles, Bedfordshire’s state-of-the-art Postgraduate (PG) Centre at the Luton campus, which was officially opened in May 2013, forms a key element of the University’s ‘green’ philosophy.

The PG Centre achieved a rating of ‘excellent’ from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM), the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. The building was also shortlisted for the UK Green Build Awards 2014 in May for its minimal “Cradle to Cradle” impact on the environment.

Furthermore, Bedfordshire is aiming for an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating for its new £46m library building in Luton, which is expected to be completed in summer 2015.
Mr Higgin added: “We are fully committed to designing and developing the most energy efficient buildings and services to meet the University’s needs. The new library building will include a number of sustainable and low carbon technologies to minimise impact on the environment.”