Green flag raised at County Mayo campus
The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Castlebar is the first Institute in Ireland to be awarded an international Green-Campus Award.
The Green-Campus Programme is an international environmental education and award scheme that promotes long term, whole college action for the environment.
GMIT Castlebar embarked on the Green-Campus programme in 2008 and has made huge strides in energy and water conservation.
In 12 months the campus reduced energy usage by 7%, which accounts for CO2 savings of six tonnes a month.
Recycling banks were set up on the campus and between June and December 2010, 12 tonnes of waster were diverted from landfill.
Plastics, paper and cardboard are recycled and food waste is sent to a facility for converting to compost.
Annual paper consumption dropped from 2.5 million sheets in 2006 to 971,000 in 2010 and 60kg of printer cartridges were recycled.
Water saving measures include flushing systems on urinals, saving 956 litres of water per day and water metering.
Other energy efficiency initiatives include installing PC Remote Shutdown on all computer labs, energy shutdowns during holiday periods, thermostatic radiator valves installed throughout campus and a changeover to a renewable energy supplier.
All of the changes were driven by a dedicated Green-Campus Committee and Students Union Green-Campus Officer.
GMIT Castlebar head, Dr Barbara Burns, said: "The Green-Campus Programme has significantly contributed to the learning environment, the overall spirit and the effective operation of the campus.
"Curriculum links between the Green-Campus Programme and courses taught at GMIT Castlebar have led students to examine transport patterns, prepare five year management plans for Green-Campus at GMIT and conduct a preliminary Building Energy Rating survey of the campus." Alison Brown