Worcester eco-housing project set to improve housing providers’ environmental performance

Photo shows: Worcester University's Hive library
Worcester Uni the Hive library

The University of Worcester is leading an innovative project to help two local housing providers to improve their environmental performance.

Sanctuary and Platform Housing Group will be working with the University and environmental consultancy Loreus Ltd on the EcoHousing project, which will support the organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and embed sustainability in their work.

EcoHousing is an environmental management programme based on the success of EcoCampus, a scheme operated and managed by the environmental consultancy Loreus Ltd to help organisations achieve and maintain accreditation to the environmental management system standard ISO14001:2015.

The University of Worcester has held the EcoCampus Platinum award and ISO14001 accreditation for several years and will share knowledge with Sanctuary and Platform to help them improve their environmental performances.

Katy Boom, Director of Sustainability at the University, said: “We are really pleased to be able to share our expertise with both Sanctuary and Platform Housing Group and to help them to improve their environmental performance. It’s never been a more important time for businesses and organisations to take stock of their sustainability credentials and do all they can to assist in addressing the climate emergency.”

Sustainability has been a cornerstone of the University for more than a decade and it has built up an enviable record, which saw it named Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2019 Green Gown Awards and go on to be Globally Highly Commended at the International Green Gown Awards, at the United Nations in New York. The University has also just launched a BSc (Hons) Environmental Management and Sustainability degree, designed to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for roles within the environmental and sustainability sectors.

To coordinate the innovative project, both housing associations have appointed Jessica Tasney as an EcoHousing Coordinator. Jessica will work with both housing associations and the University to ensure the project is delivered effectively.

Jessica said: “I am thrilled to be appointed to this new role. I believe improving environmental performance is one of the most important conversations of our time and I’m really excited to be involved in this collaborative effort to make improvements.”

Jessica is combining her role at Sanctuary and Platform with one at the University where she supports with teaching and learning and research around sustainability, environmental management systems and the auditing process.

Jessica explained: “The University of Worcester has been on a long and successful journey around implementing its Environmental Management System and improving its environmental performance, so this is a great opportunity to share examples of best practice.”

The aim of Jessica’s role is to better understand both housing association’s impact on the environment, focusing on waste management, travel, pollution, the energy efficiency of properties, reducing fuel poverty and improving social wellbeing for customers.

Donna Williams, Sanctuary Director – Sustainability and Climate Change, added: “Reducing our impact on the environment is a key objective for Sanctuary. The EcoHousing project will allow us to share best practice and identify innovative solutions as part of our longer-term strategy to minimise our carbon footprint and make our homes more energy efficient.”

Dan Box, Compliance Officer at Platform Housing Group, said: “Sustainability isn’t just about improving environmental performance, it’s about increasing social wellbeing too, and this project helps us to recognise how the health of the environment and the health of individuals and communities are closely linked.

“Through recognising this, we can look for solutions to the environmental risks of today that work both for people and the environments in which they live.”