College electric car helps 'drive' innovation and sustainability

Electric car

Borders College is at the forefront of innovation and change when it comes ensuring a sustainable future, and is working effectively to contribute towards the Scottish Government’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest, with Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

A frozen car in winter can be a cold nuisance as you wait for the windscreen to defrost. With the electric Nissan Leaf and an app connected to your smartphone, you’re able to defrost the car remotely from the warmth of the College campus. Just one of the many benefits of our electric cars!

With service costs of around £300 per car per year and CO2 savings in excess of 18,500 kg, the investment that Borders College made back in 2017 when they took delivery of two Nissan Leaf electric cars, is adding up as part of the response to the climate emergency and sustainability targets.

Staff travelling within a 90-mile range of Scottish Borders Campus are offered an electric car first, as a part of any request for a vehicle to carry out College business.

The average battery life of the cars is over 7 years and running costs are around 3p per mile, with a projected life expectancy being up to 20 years. It is hoped that the savings and benefits will continue to contribute to the carbon savings of the College for many years to come.

Electricity for the charging points at Scottish Borders Campus is generated from onsite Solar panels, which additionally help to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce running costs.

Borders College has installed a total of three charging points: two at Scottish Borders Campus and four at the Hawick Campus, which allow six cars to be charged simultaneously.

Facility Manager at Borders College, Robert Hewitt, said:

“Going forward, we aim to increase the fleet of electric cars when any leased car is at the end of its contract. This is all part of the College sustainability plan to reduce our carbon emissions, which have already seen a 34% reduction since 2014. Something we are extremely proud of at Borders College and was recognised when we won a Green Gown Award.”

Greg Steel, Head of Sustainable Construction at Borders College, commented:

"We need to fundamentally change our culture if we want to have a sustainable future. We need to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels across all sectors of society. Key areas to address include our built environment, our working lives and our transport and infrastructure.

“Our Sustainability Hub in Hawick, as part of the Green Energy Academy collaboration, has training courses available for upskilling and retraining on energy efficiency measures in the built environment, and training on the latest sustainable heating technologies.”

While conventional cars will always need fossil fuels, electric vehicles can (and increasingly do) run on renewable energy. In the UK, the carbon footprint of electricity is falling fast, and Greenpeace is campaigning for an 80% renewable grid by 2030. Every year this trend continues, electric cars increase their advantage.

By continually reviewing our day to day practices and providing staff with innovative and alternative solutions to everyday situations, we continue to play a leading role in positively influencing the behaviour of our staff in relation to the green economy.

Borders College is at the forefront of embracing the Green Economy, in aiding and working towards an alternative vision for growth and development that promotes benefits to businesses and the wider community alike; and, at the same time, sustains and advances economic, environmental and social wellbeing.

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