Sustainability at Colchester Institute

In October 2021, Colchester Institute joined many other organisations and colleges in declaring a Climate Emergency. This means the College has a full commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and increasing the sustainability of how we do everything.

We have a three year plan for this, and we are now in its second year. We believe there needs to be urgent and substantial action to address climate change.

At Colchester Institute we are passionate about preparing our students and apprentices for enjoyable and productive careers and also to contribute to our society.

Previously, we ran a successful pilot for some of our students in Carbon Literacy, which is now a feature of every course. This ensures all students have the opportunity to study and discuss the issues arising from the Climate Emergency.

To do that it is vital that we all understand the environmental challenges facing Essex, England, and our planet. This must, and will, become an ever more important part of what our students learn at the College.

EV Charging Station

Latest Sustainability News

Colchester Institute wins Essex Business Award for investing in a green future

Colchester Institute has been awarded the prestigious Environmental Awareness Award at the 2023 Essex Business Awards. This accolade recognises the institution’s tireless commitment to driving environmental awareness and sustainability within the College community over the past three years.

Essex Business Awards 2023 Countrywide winner banner

The College’s impactful campaign to promote energy-saving initiatives has not only set them apart as leaders in education but also as beacons of environmental stewardship. The award celebrates the College’s dedication to preparing students with the ‘green skills’ relevant to their fields and their proactive stance in addressing the climate crisis by declaring a climate emergency and developing a Further Education Climate Action Roadmap.

Deputy Chief Executive, Gary Horne says “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award. Staff and Governors are passionate about the environment and have demonstrated their commitment to raising awareness amongst our college community over the years.”

“We take our educational responsibilities extremely seriously and we will do all we can to continue this work, which is firmly embedded within our strategic plans.”

Sustainability Achievements

Over the past three years, the College has transformed their sustainability practices through:

  • Empowering Students: Embedding carbon literacy content into vocational courses, viewing every job as a ‘green job’ and ensuring the next generation has the green skills to combat climate change
  • Leading by Example: By declaring a climate emergency in 2019, they set carbon reduction goals aligned with global initiatives, and adopted the FE Climate Action Roadmap, initially targeting a 50% emissions reduction by 2030
  • Decarbonising Operations: A £6 million Decarbonisation Scheme replaced inefficient building elements and gas boilers with Air Source Heat Pumps, reducing emissions by 290 tonnes annually
  • Harvesting Solar Energy: Installed over 1,000 solar panels across campuses harnessing renewable solar energy to power their facilities sustainably
  • Transitioning Transportation: Installed an EV Charging Station onsite and purchased electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint from transportation
  • Boosting Efficiency: Delivering on a ’50-point Energy Reduction plan’ to reduce carbon emissions by 27% within two years
  • Training for Green Jobs: A Net Zero Training Centre in planning for 2024 to equip students with low-carbon skills training in response to the Essex Green Skills Infrastructure Review
  • Green Campuses: Committed to plant over 100 new trees annually on campuses to expand green spaces and increase natural carbon

This Environmental Awareness Award signifies not just a recognition but a call to action, inspiring other businesses to lead the way for a cleaner and more sustainable tomorrow.

How you can make a difference at the College

You can work with the College and join our student Climate Forum. As a part of this, you can advise on:

  • Curriculum development
  • Green Initiatives (e.g. tree planting, cycle to college schemes)
  • Ways to engage your peers in making greener choices
  • Organising guest speakers or trips to climate events or training

To support Colchester Institute’s place as a leader in the development of a sustainable, decarbonised future economy, we will continue to change how we act as a business. In 2022 at our Colchester Campus we completed a £5m project to reduce our own carbon footprint which included major alterations, along with improvements, of key buildings. We have introduced new charging facilities for electric cars and are planting 200 trees this year.

Our future ambitions include:

  • Development of a Net Zero Centre to allow delivery of crucial new skills in air source heat pumps, solar PV, battery storage and electric vehicles charging points
  • Development of an Electric Vehicle Training Centre supporting new curricula devoted to supporting latest vehicle technologies
  • Upgrading Main Colchester Data Centre including new more efficient battery back-up systems and new air conditioning units
  • Replacing low efficiency refectory equipment
  • Installing new Building Management Systems across all buildings at Colchester
  • Additional layered submetering for Blocks W and R
  • Further LED lighting replacements across Colchester Campus
  • Thermal fabric improvements including replacement windows in Block H (x20 windows)
  • Air conditioning upgrades and replacements to reduce energy consumption

Case Study

Colchester Institute has also been featured as a case study by Trident Utilities, one of the UK’s leading providers of multi-service energy solutions.

You can see what they have to say here:

Colchester Institute Case Study

Sustainability In The News

Driving Green Skills
6th June 2022
Following on from its declaration of a climate emergency in late 2021, Colchester Institute took another step forward in demonstrating...
Planting trees to combat climate change
30th May 2022
Our Skills to Succeed Level 1 students have planted around 50 trees within the college grounds at our Braintree Campus,...
Declaring a climate emergency
22nd October 2021
Colchester Institute has declared a climate emergency. With the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties...