Themes:

Reducing Energy and Water use

Energy

Of all the things we do at the GSA, our use of energy has the biggest effect on the environment. Wasting it also costs us money, so we’re always looking for ways to save it.

You can take personal action by getting involved with our energy saving campaign in your Halls, at home, in your studio or office. Ensuring equipment is only on when you need it, and turning off lights when you don’t need them. Just not overfilling a kettle can make a difference. Not only do you get your tea quicker, it saves a huge amount as most kettles use 3Kw elements – it’s like turning on 250 low energy light bulbs. A quick shower helps too, at 10Kw most electric showers are the most power hungry things we use.

Water

It may be raining as you read this. Scotland seems to have an abundant supply of water. As a resource we’re lucky that’s it’s readily available, and all tap water in Scotland is drinking water standard.

The GSA uses around 22,000 cubic metres of water a year, enough to fill 87,000 baths. Every drop is sourced, pumped, filtered and delivered through pipes to the GSA. This process involves adding chemicals, including chlorine, building infrastructure like pipes and pumping stations, and the energy to pump the water. After we’ve used it, there are further systems to remove the water, pipe it, treat it, and return it to lochs and rivers. This means our water supply causes some 16 tonnes of carbon to be released into the atmosphere each year.

In the past we also provided water coolers fed by removable tanks. To save buying and transporting these tanks we’ve plumbed-in new coolers. If you’re concerned about chlorine, fill a jug, leave it overnight and the next morning the chlorine, which was added as a gas, will have largely evaporated off. It will taste better, and better still if it’s cooled in a fridge.

We replaced plastic cups with vegware compostable cups, and have now stopped supplying cups at coolers. Instead, we offer free biodegradable water bottles, available from the Ref and Student Association bar on production of your staff or student card. Made from sugar ethanol, they are better for the environment than plastic bottles.