Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT ) Castlebar has been declared a Green Campus by environmental body An Taisce in recognition of major improvements in energy conservation and recycling at the Castlebar campus in the past year.
Staff at the Mayo campus signed up to An Taisce’s pilot Green Campus programme in September 2008 and have since successfully implemented a range of initiatives to encourage students and staff to conserve and recycle.
In the past year, the campus has successfully reduced its electricity bill, prevented significant heat loss and water wastage, and increased recycling by setting up 12 recycling banks for a range of materials.
A number of litter collections also received overwhelming support from students and staff. Each month a Green Campus Day is held to raise awareness about green initiatives, and in October the campus kayak club carried out a clean up of the Castlebar river where it runs through the town.
All cleaning products were replaced by eco-friendly products and a Green Campus notice board containing news and information about all the initiatives was erected on campus to keep students and staff up to date with developments.
The GMIT Castlebar Green Campus committee, led by chairperson Lynda Huxley, have also been instrumental in getting GMIT to change its energy supplier based on research carried out by Castlebar staff.
“Lecturers Deaglain O’Riain and Pearse McDonnell put together initial statistics on energy consumption in the college which showed that almost 30 per cent of college daily usage was between 10pm and 8am when the college is effectively closed,” explained Lynda Huxley.
“In light of this information, an energy shutdown was organised for the 2008 Christmas break to raise awareness of energy conservation on campus, resulting since then in a substantial reduction in energy consumption month on month – the energy shutdown is also organised for this Christmas.
“The two lecturers looked into the possibility of changing the electricity supplier to reduce the electricity bill. It was subsequently awarded to ESB IE Green Options,” Ms Huxley said.
“We are delighted to have got to the stage where An Taisce has given us permission to apply for a Green Flag. The hard work and dedication from everyone on campus, staff and students, is paying off.”