Renewing Leicester Energy

Being a University committed to sustainability means, among other things, supporting low carbon emission measures through the use of renewable energy. DMU Campus is based in the city of Leicester, which is committed in turn to these issues.

In fact, to scale the progress made in this field, an interesting project was carried out by the City Council.

Three interactive maps have been created by the Environmental team of the Leicester City Council to display renewable energy and low carbon technology and how they have been employed across the city of Leicester

The website includes three different interactive maps. The maps cover three different topics: Renewable Technology, Low Carbon Technology and Low Carbon Technology 2.

According to which layer you select, the renewable technology map shows: the major planning applications which generate renewable energy in orange, Leicester City Council renewables in green and domestic renewables in the blue shaded areas.


The Low Carbon Technology map shows: the district heating network in red (District Heating (DH) Main Pipes and DH Buildings), cavity wall insulated council homes in blue and external wall insulated council homes in green.


The Low Carbon Technology 2 map shows: LED street lighting in orange, Green roofs in green and Houses built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 in blue.


The initiative enables individuals to discover the improvement for a low carbon Leicester. Also, it aims to encourage a future implementation of green technologies in the city, where DMU Campus is in the middle of it. A greener city will directly benefit the University. Also, it could be the starting point to link them together for a joint effort.

Indeed at DMU there is a focus on the implementation of renewable energy to cut the University’s carbon footprint and, of course, also the costs of energy consumption. Some examples are: a biomass boiler, ground source heat pumps, an air source heat pump, solar thermal panels and rainwater harvesting.

Let’s go through these tools to create renewable energy, according to where they are disposed within the Campus.

In John Whitehead Building, the heating is mostly supplied from a biomass boiler, which is fed with high quality wood pellets derived from sawmill waste wood. It provides low carbon heat.


In Hugh Aston Building, the underfloor heating and some of the hot water is supplied by four ground source heat pumps. There is a network of 60 boreholes, each 100 metres deep, in the ground underneath the building’s courtyard. The temperature of the ground at that depth is relatively constant throughout the year, warmer than ambient air temperatures during winter and cooler than ambient air temperatures during summer. Using the reverse-cycle heat pump, it is possible to exploit this temperature difference to provide low carbon heating and hot water in winter, and low carbon cooling in summer. The Hugh Aston Building also benefits from low carbon hot water, which is generated by two roof-mounted solar panels. Furthermore, at Hugh Aston there is rainwater harvesting. Here, rainwater is collected in an underground tank, from where it is pumped around the building to flush toilets. This system reduces the amount of fresh water used and the energy required to pump the fresh water to Hugh Aston.

The new Leisure Centre requires a lot of hot water throughout the year for the showers and to keep the swimming pool at a comfortable temperature. An air source heat pump was installed to help meet this demand.


Moreover, during summer 2013 the University has undertaken four installations of photovoltaic panels on its buildings: two in Hugh Aston, one in Edith Murphy and another at Gateway House. Between them it is estimated that these four installations will generate 96,128kWh of electricity per year. According to the average household uses of electricity per year this means that it will be generating enough electricity to supply over 29 homes. From a campus perspective this amount of energy easily offsets the amount of electricity consumed by Trinity House in a year.


Last but not least, there are some energy saving projects, such as a cover for the swimming pool. This reduces DMU’s gas consumption, by reducing the heat lost from the swimming pool water when the pool is not in use. Another example is the installation of LED lighting, which typically uses approximately 50% of the electricity required by conventional fluorescent lighting. The buildings involved in this project are: Kimberlin Library, Bede Halls of Residence, Estates Services Building, Hawthorn and Portland buildings.

Also, at DMU there are little electric vans!

electric van

The University’s efforts to be more and more eco-friendly should be seen as a wider effort for the University’s commitment to the public good. Cutting CO2 emissions with initiatives by the City Council and private citizens will benefit the overall air quality of Leicester. In turn, cutting CO2 levels through renewable energy at DMU will benefit the University and Leicester as well.


Useful websites:



Earth Day 2015


Last Wednesday was Earth Day 2015. It was the occasion for the world to celebrate our planet and ask for an action on its behalf.

The first Earth Day was in April 22, 1970. It activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Nowadays, the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 50,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

All of EDN’s activities, whether greening schools or promoting green economic policies at home and abroad, inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children. With its partner organizations, EDN provides civic engagement opportunities at the local, state, national and global levels.

So, every year on 22 April the people of the world celebrate the Earth with a lot of initiatives and programms to raise awarness on those issues.


Today, I want simply to share with you a video from the rapper Prince Ea. The video is called “Sorry”. It was released on Earth day 2015 and it regards climate change and how we can do about it.

The video uses simple words to deliver a strong message and it really worths watching it.

Here you have the link tothe video:


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Learn how to save water at home!


Water is probably one of the most precious natural resources for both men and animals. Clean and pure water is a gift, ready to be used at our home. Indeed, we should all pay attention on how we use it.

There are a large number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.

So, what could you do in the kitchen?

First of all, if you wash your dishes (and maybe some of your lazy flatmates) by hand, don’t let the water run. It is better to fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water. While washing, soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, then it would typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.

A very smart advice is to designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will also cut down on the number of glasses to wash! Win-win! If you like drinking cold water, then keep a jar or a plastic bottle of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.

Another tip is to not use running water to unfreeze food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.

Now, let’s see what you can do during your cooking sessions! Before starting to prepare your meals, select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary. Then, try to cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients. Afterwards, you can reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it is one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.

Always remember to collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables, because you can use it to water house plants or flowers!

And how could you save water in the bathroom?

Very straightforward advices:

Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes and turn off the water while washing your hair. It takes just one second!

Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Easy one!

Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor. Clever!

When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather. Yes I can do it!



In this post, I have shown you how saving water could be simple during your life at University and even after. These tips and many others come from an amazing website:

Fedora Agosti (green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Food Waste…at Home!


In an older post, I wrote about my experience at the EAUC Conference 2015, where within other things, I attended one workshop run by ‘Love Food Hate Food’, which aim is to raise awareness of the need to reduce food. They believe we can all waste less food by doing some easy practical everyday things at home. Wasting less food will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

Food waste is a major issue in the UK. About 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away from homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. It’s costing UK citizens £12.5bn a year and is bad for the environment too, because wasted food become garbage.

Usually students make the weekly shop by their own and often the portions are family-sized, so I will show some tips from the ‘Love Food Hate Food’ website to help your food stay fresh for longer and to avoid waste.

A lot of students don’t realise that fruit and veg, like carrots, peppers and apples, are best kept in the bag they come in as it keeps it fresher for longer. A shrink-wrapped cucumber for example will last around three times longer than a non-shrink-wrapped one.

Resealable packs for cheese prevent it drying out, particularly important in the fridge. If your cheese doesn’t have a resealable pack, make sure you wrap it well in clingfilm, foil or in a plastic tub. Also, your flat mates will be happy without the shared fridge smelling cheesy!

Lots of food comes in clever packs that are subdivided, so that you can use some now, some later. It is as simple as that!

Smaller packs of bread are great if you’re not going to eat a big loaf before it goes off. But if you buy a big loaf, why not freeze half and toast straight from frozen?

Packaging doesn’t just protect our food in the supermarket, in transit and in the home, it also houses lots of handy information on how to store it, how much to cook, when it should be eaten to enjoy at its best and whether it can be frozen, which all help us reduce the amount of good food we throw away. Keep an eye on packaging!

Last but not least, my very personal tip. If you live in a Hall of Residence or in a private house with other people, try to share the food that is going off shortly, rather than throw it away when it is too late! Sharing is caring and you will help the environment, as well your flat mates will be grateful and they will likely return the favour!




Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

London by bike

photo (6)

During the Easter break, I spent some time in London, as I usually do during vacation since I lived in Leicester. On Easter Monday, a friend and I decided to take a ride across the city. My friend was equipped with a professional Bianchi bicycle, while I hired a bicycle at the bike sharing station. Yes indeed,there is an efficient bike sharing service in London .

So, we were in the west side of London. High Street Kensington was our staring line. From here we cycled along Kensington Road, then we entered into Hyde Park cycling besides the Serpentine route till Hyde Park Corner. The Park was full of people enjoying the sunshine and there were a lot of bikes.


At this point, we went down Constitutional Hill, passing by Buckingham Palace, then down The Mall until the end of the longest side of St. James Park. Here we took a big curve on the right and after ten minutes of riding we arrived at the Big Ben. From Bridge Street, the long route along the river Thames had started. We kept cycling and from the street we were able to see the London Eye. We passed then by the Victoria and Embankment Gardens and by the Somerset House.


Last part of the journey was about to begin, after leaving the Millennium Bridge on our right, we took the direction toward 20 Fenchurch Street. We finally stop here for a visit and a brunch at the Sky Garden, which is situated at the 37th floor of the 20 Fenchurch Street Building, known also as the Walkie Talkie for its shape.


The Sky Garden is an area full of plants and flowers, where you can enjoy the view of London from a very high point surrounded by green.

Riding from west to east London was an effort for me out of training, but it was worth because the weather was unusual nice and the streets were not busy, due to the absence of cars and commuters.

photo (7)     photo (3)


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Food Waste Project around the Campus


At De Montfort University up to 84% of the wasted material has recycled. Few weeks ago I met Nigel Ward, the Waste manager, which told me that his team would have soon introduced a new trial on a special recycling: food.

Currently, there is a food waste collection service in the kitchen of three trial buildings: Portland, John Whitehead and Trinity House. This means the team is able to recycle even more and process the food waste in a way good for the environment, by collecting and putting unused food in a facility off site.

The Staff of the trial buildings can put in the “Food Waste” Recycling caddies the leftovers of their lunch or snacks during working hours, such as all cooked and uncooked food, both fruit and vegetables, bread or pastries and even tea bags.

Of course, recycling food means that only food can be disposed in the provided caddies. Therefore, food container, empty packaging and plastic cutlery should be put in different recycling bins. For example, it is possible to recycle empty sandwich packets, cling film and plastic cutlery in the plastic bin with the green lid.

The recycling team will monitor the Food Waste caddies every day and when the caddies are full, the content will be taken outside in a bigger bin. The external 240L food waste container are collected fortnightly.

Recycling food is good not only to help the University reducing the overall amount of waste, but it also enhance its ethical standard, because food is a primary and vital resource for mankind.


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Be the next Green Frontrunner!

Applications for De Montfort University Frontrunner Internships are open! So for the Green Impact Frontrunner and the Green behaviour Change Frontrunner! If you are a DMU student and you are interested in green issues, the sustainability team is looking for two new interns. You will have the chance to discover a new way to live the University, while experiencing a real job! Being a Frontrunner means the opportunity to have a real paid work for a reasonable amount of hours per week, which won’t interfere with your studies. Also you will be able to experience the process behind getting a job, such as the application and the interview process, with the support and the advices of the Frontrunner team. Furthermore, after getting the job, you will practise your skills beyond your degree and gain experience for the future. Especially applying for either the Green Impact or the Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner will mainly enhance your communication, organisation and project management skills. You will also have the opportunity to meet a lot of members of the staff and new students involved in the activities promoted by the team. As the current Frontrunner, I strongly advice to take a look and apply! You can apply for them from until Thursday 30th April 2015 and the Internships will commence on October 2015. Brief descriptions and titles of Frontrunner opportunities with the Environment & Sustainability Office are listed on MyGateway . Once you’ve logged in, just select ‘Frontrunner Internship ‘ under the type of work menu. To apply, please use this link to register and access our online application system|: The contact for these positions is Karl Letten (Environmental & Sustainability Officer) You can also email| if you have any queries about the scheme. Good Luck everyone!


Pic: Karl (Environment & Sustainability Officer), Joseph (Green Impact Frontrunner) and Fedora (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner).   Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)