The South Kensington based conservatoire has been working with the Carbon Trust to lower its emissions, with a target to reduce its carbon footprint by 34% by the end of the 2019/20 academic year compared to its baseline year of 2005/6. Potential overall financial savings to the college are estimated at around £124,000 by 2013-14.

By the end of 2011 the RCM’s maintenance team achieved an 8% reduction in total emissions through all the efficiency projects that have included lighting, new hand dryers, installation of water saving devices and insulation of lofts.

Carbon footprint reduction is at the top of the UK higher education sector’s agenda, which is why effective energy management and a purchasing policy that works towards sustainability, energy efficiency and recycling has been a top priority for the RCM’s maintenance team.

Matthew Nicholl, Head of Estates at the RCM, told edie: “In our experience, energy efficiency is a high priority throughout the higher education sector, and institutions are committed to environmental improvement in all its forms.

Mr Nicholl added: “There are various drivers, which include students’ awareness of the environment, estates and energy teams working to be sustainable and efficient in a holistic manner, combating rising utilities prices, carbon management, and the People and Planet Green League – the Higher education’s green league table.

Lighting efficiency was identified as one of the key areas for improvement, as lighting contributed 60% to the overall energy bill.

The RCM worked with Toshiba, who suggested replacing a variety of incandescent lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, as they offer substantial energy and cost savings.

According to the RCM, LED lights consume up to 80% less energy compared to halogen or incandescent lamps and would contribute to the college’s overall environmental targets.

The LED lighting will also help preserve the valuable artefacts on display in the Library and Museum thanks to vastly reduced amount of UV light produced compared to other technologies.

Leigh Stringer

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