The Reuse Project, One Year On

Illuminaries Ltd, a Sheffield company with a staff of three, celebrates the success of its web-based system that it designed to help the University of Leeds to re-use furniture, equipment and stationery, cut costs and reduce CO2 emissions. The Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds commissioned Illuminaries to turn its existing email-based re-use scheme into a simpler, more user-friendly and interactive website called reuse@leeds. Now the 7,543 University staff can add full descriptions of furniture they have available, search for items, reserve them ready for collection and receive alerts when furniture they want becomes available. Administration time has been reduced. Money and carbon emissions saved are calculated in real time and reports can be produced as needed. Since the scheme was launched in March 2011, cost savings have totalled almost £96,500 and 56.6 tonnes of carbon emissions avoided. In all, over 1500 items have been reused.

Illuminaries has delivered other IT systems to the Estates Department and was able to ensure the new website complied with University security protocols and brand identity. The whole system cost less than £10,000 to develop.

Michael Howroyd, re-use project leader and sustainability officer at the university said: “Our re-use scheme has really taken off since the launch of the Illuminaries-designed website. It has powerful functionality and is easy to navigate. We have saved thousands of pounds as many staff members re-use furniture rather than buy new. This model provides a sector leading example of what can be achieved with limited resources by saving money and carbon in the current economic climate”.

Mansoor Butt, IT Manager for Estate & Campus Support Services said: “Working with Illuminaries has been an easy process. Given our partnership on previous projects, we knew working with them would have been a simple process and they were able to meet our specification exactly and within agreed timescales”.

The re-use scheme was shortlisted for the Green Gown Awards in 2010 and 2011. Organised by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) these awards recognise the best sustainability initiatives in the UK’s higher education sector.

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