The winners of the Environmental Champion of the Year category at the 2022 Northamptonshire Education Awards has received national recognition for its commitment to sustainability by being shortlisted for another leading award.

Northampton College will now compete against the University of Oxford and the University of the West of England for the coveted title of Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2023 Green Gown Awards – recognising the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

The college’s Go-Green Initiative has significantly reduced its carbon footprint and waste and approaching sustainability in an innovative way it has opened students’ eyes to new practices.

Deputy Principal Patrick Leavey said: ““Sustainability runs through everything we do at Northampton College thanks to our Go-Green Initiative and we are working hard to encourage staff and students to consider our environmental impact.

“Our three campuses are sustainable and generate a low carbon footprint while our Executive Leadership Team challenges our estates staff to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint through efficient building management systems, a green sedum roof and 220kW of photovoltaic solar panels which cover our electrical ‘base load’.

“We’ve created protected gardens to encourage nature. We offer students a bus pass bursary, provide secure cycle points and staff who use a car for work may donate 1p for every mile they travel to the College Tree Fund. We’ve launched Supporting Sustainable Futures to boost the number of young people in STEM and digital subjects.

“Staff and students are building a timber frame eco-classroom with construction firms which will feature sustainable products and green energy solutions. We’ve installed electric vehicle charging points and we have made waste management improvements.”

As part of the College’s commitment to sustainability, it has launched The Green House Project – an eco-focused Learning Lab for students.

Many Colleges have bought in eco-classrooms but Northampton College has taken the innovative decision to design and build its own with industry. Students are working with industry experts in sustainable construction, they’re networking with employers and learning sustainable construction skills above and beyond their Diploma qualification requirements.

More than 110 College students have already worked on our Green House Project – all 400 College construction students will have worked on it by next year.

Mr Leavey added: “We introduced our Go-Green Initiative because climate change and the environment is a huge talking point among our student population and it’s important the College leads by example, inspiring change in others as we strive to create a more sustainable future.

“Elements of the project, such as our Supporting Sustainable Futures event, the ‘Big Rig’ challenge and The Green House Project are helping hundreds of Northamptonshire school pupils to learn about sustainability.”

The College has invested resources in sustainable energy reduction measures across its estate including solar powered electricity generation, LED lighting and biomass heating. Careful financial management has also enabled it to provide assistance towards students’ public transport costs to support their ability to learn.

The Green Gown Awards take place on Thursday, 30 November at the Titanic Hotel, Liverpool.