Geography student worked with Myerscough College to improve energy consumption on campus

The Organisation

Myerscough College, just north of Preston, is a land-based Higher and Further Education college dating back to the 19th century. The college offers training in a wide variety of land-based and sport industries, teaching over 20 different subjects to its 6,000 students, including: agriculture; horticulture; motorsports; golf; football; animal care; and landscaping to name a few. The focus of learning at Myerscough College is on practical skills ready for the world of work, however, they also offer opportunities for progression to higher education. Myerscough College and Lancaster University have worked collaboratively since 2003 and together they signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ in 2012.

www.myerscough.ac.uk

The Challenge

Myerscough College is committed to being at the forefront of sustainability, working towards a carbon management plan. However, they were falling short of their targets in gas consumption.

Skills Sought

  • Data collection
  • Knowledge of energy use
  • Professional communication skills

The Solution

Samantha Gray, a BA Geography student, was recruited through the LEC 301 Industry Dissertation Project to conduct research into the gas energy consumption of Myerscough College, in order to ensure it met its sustainability reduction targets.

Cost

LEC301 Industry Dissertation Projects are free for businesses, but businesses are expected to cover any out of pocket expenses for the student, which is usually around £50-100; in some cases this cost is covered by other university-funded projects.

Impact

The results of the research have led to Myerscough College looking into how they can solve problem areas causing high gas consumption. Going forward the college will look to increase students' awareness of their energy consumption habits through inter-college energy saving competitions and the installation of energy monitoring devices.

Benefits to the college

  • The project highlighted ways to reduce gas consumption moving forward
  • Gave a detailed insight into students' energy use habits

Benefits to the university

  • Provided a student with the chance to use academic skills to solve a real-world problem whilst gaining work experience

College Feedback

“The research Samantha did was helpful for the college, by providing management with the views of the users of the accommodation (i.e. the students) at a time when they were able to reflect constructively on their experience.

"The most enlightening finding of the survey was in relation to the students’ general comfort (too hot/too cold); 34% responded that comfort levels were OK, whilst 26% were too hot and 40% too cold. Previously, management turned the heating up on a few complaints! This will not happen automatically in future.

"Other significant findings included:

  • When warm, the most frequent first action was to open a window; 36% of students had never touched a Thermostatic Radiator Valve
  • A significant number of students said it was too hot in the morning and too cold in the evening
  • Some significant maintenance issues with respect to windows and TRVs
  • 45% of respondents showered twice or more per day
  • A significant number of students felt that education about energy saving was inadequate

"Following the conclusion of her project, we have prepared an action plan for the start of the new academic year to address the issues raised by the survey.” Allan Nickson, Head of Sustainability, Myerscough College.

Student Feedback

“Working with Myerscough College on this project has really boosted my career potential, demonstrating to employers that I not only have the knowledge from my degree, but also the practical skills and ability to overcome real-world problems. I hope to follow a career in the energy sector, therefore this placement has been enlightening, allowing me to gain valuable experience in the workplace.” Samantha Gray, BA Geography, Lancaster University.

Future Plans   

Myerscough College and Lancaster University are committed to continuing the joint development of world class research between two of Lancashire’s largest educational institutions, through their Memorandum of Understanding.