Earthy words from the College’s carbon reducing champion

“I totally bought into it. When the College committed to a sustainable future, I really found my mojo”.

What do you see when you meet Billy Grace? First and foremost it’s the big smile, then you see the passion and commitment to a cause that has all but consumed him for the past ten years.

As Head of Estates at Dundee and Angus College he runs a big beast that services three campuses, 1,000 employees and around 12,500 students, looking after hundreds of thousands of pounds of real estate and infrastructure.  That’s a lot to think about right there, not to mention the potential toll that such a large organisation could have on the environment. Despite this Billy has been determined, with his colleague Jackie Beresford, to spearhead the College’s award-winning drive to be net zero by 2040.

‘I was so focused on sustainability when I interviewed for the job in 2011, I made the bonkers commitment to win a prestigious Green Gown Award for carbon reduction within three years. Well, I’m delighted to say that we not only did it, but we also won it again.’ In fact, over the last decade the College’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment has been recognised with a range of national awards and can genuinely be described as sector leading.

So, what’s the secret? ‘You have to get everyone to  ‘walk the walk’ if you’re going to succeed. Young people are more savvy than ever and if we’re to take them on this journey we have to be making legitimate progress’.

Since 2011, the College has taken a whole raft of carbon reducing measures including investing in a range of sustainable technologies, installing recycled plastic roads on campus, achieving zero food waste on our campuses, drastically reducing our use of single use plastic, campaigning to end period poverty with sustainable options, introducing water stations, and become the first college in Scotland to participate in a pilot to develop professional learning support in ‘Learning for Sustainability for College Teaching Staff’. This means that not only are we practicing sustainability around our campuses, we are endeavouring to embed it in every aspect of our curriculum and college life. As Billy says,

‘At the end of 2021 we launched our Climate Emergency Action Plan plotting our PATH TO NET ZERO by 2040.   Within our plan is a commitment to achieve net zero for our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030 which requires us to continue to introduce sustainable technologies as we develop our estate rather than reconnecting to the gas network.  Our new build Hair and Beauty facility currently under construction will be heated via air-source heat pumps. Our College has also made the conscious decision from the 1st of April 2022 to have all of our electrical energy supplied from renewable sources.

It’s brilliant to be at the heart of D&As commitment to achieving net zero, and I truly believe we can achieve this, but we need everyone to playing their part in saving our planet  - that is the least we can do for our future generations.’