Double Success for SRUC as GreenCow wins a Green Gown

Published Wednesday, 7th November 2012 in About SRUC news

Green Gown 2012

SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) has triumphed in two categories at the Green Gown Awards 2012.

SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) has triumphed in two categories at the Green Gown Awards 2012. The Green Gown Awards have become established as the most significant recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector and reward exceptional initiatives linked to sustainability. Organised by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), they have been running for eight years.

Winning the Research and Development category is SRUC’s world leading GreenCow project studying methane production by cattle and sheep. In the Modernisation, Effectiveness and Efficiency category SRUC’s partnership with the University of the West of Scotland at the new Riverside campus in Ayr took the honours. SRUC and UWS were the only two Scottish institutions recognised at this year’s event.

The EAUC GreenGown Awards Ceremony was hosted by University of Birmingham in the Great Hall. Collecting the awards were Andrew Drysdale, SRUC Environmental Manager and Claire Roxburgh, Energy and Environment manager with UWS.

Responding to the award Professor Bob Webb, CEO and Principal of SRUC, said:

“A Green Gown Award is an impressive acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication our research team has put in over the years to make GreenCow a success.   Innovation is right at the heart of our mission at Scotland’s Rural College. GreenCow is a prime example of research which not only tackles environmental issues, but is hugely relevant internationally.  Importantly, it is also a prime example of where knowledge transfer and exchange also has a vital role, delivering information to rural businesses.”

The judges called GreenCow a tremendous collaborative project tackling one of the world’s most intractable problems with immense significance for world agriculture.

GreenCow, run by Dr Tony Waterhouse, based at the Beef Research facility outside Edinburgh, assesses the methane output of ruminants (cows and sheep in this case) and measures their contribution to green house gas emissions. The key data gathered by the GreenCow research and measurement informs not only livestock farmers but the wider food chain and support industries.

It is a truly international initiative; SRUC scientists are working with leading climate change researchers from around Europe as well as those from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, China and the USA. GreenCow has discovered that with a few changes to breeding and nutrition the livestock sector could lessen its carbon footprint significantly.

Dr Waterhouse, Head of the Beef and Sheep Research Centre, SRUC, says they are beginning to see real changes:

“We started this project in 2008 and with the funding between ERDF, Scottish government and SRUC we have built a world class facility and are now using Greencow to build projects internationally with the aim of lessening the carbon footprint of the livestock industry and improving its economic efficiency.

The second award was given to SRUC and the University of the West of Scotland in recognition of their state of the art shared campus in Ayr. The new building is designed to the highest environmental rating – BREEAM Excellent - adopting sustainable strategies within it design and operation. Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method is the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. Building to such standards has reduced running costs and environmental impact while ensuring the space is one that staff and students enjoy working in.

Professor Paul Martin, University of the West of Scotland’s Interim Depute Principal, said:

“We are delighted to be inaugural winners of this prestigious award. It is a tremendous achievement for the University and SRUC to have Ayr Campus receive this national recognition.

“The University has a deep commitment to providing the very best facilities for its students and our Ayr Campus, which is a landmark development for Scottish higher education, provides students with an inspirational learning environment.”

This is the second time the work of SRUC staff has been recognised in the GreenGown Awards. In 2010 economist Dr Dominic Moran won an award for his research in producing a robust method giving land managers a way of deciding which of the technically feasible method of reducing their GHG emissions will be most effective and economically efficient.

Photo: Andrew Drysdale and Claire Roxburgh

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