Schools and universities are hubs of young minds and play a significant role in shaping the future of our planet. They are places where children play, make friends and acquire knowledge. However, educational institutions, alongside the home, are also where children slowly become grown-ups and learn to navigate a complex world. Part of our current reality is the need to decarbonise and aim for a greener future.
The importance of concepts such as net zero and decarbonisation are conversations we need to have with our kids at home and school. Educational institutions are uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of reaching our common net zero goals. They can do that by ensuring strong knowledge foundations and giving the appropriate information. Last but not least, they can encourage children and young adults to develop healthy and environmentally friendly habits, such as cycling, from a young age.
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of reducing carbon emissions for educational institutions and explore how effective bike storage solutions can help schools and universities achieve this.
What is net zero?
Net zero refers to the balance between the number of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Achieving net zero is critical to mitigating the effects of climate change and creating a sustainable future. Increasing numbers of businesses and institutions are making pledges to reduce their carbon footprints. There are calculators out there that help you determine your carbon footprint.
Net Zero and Educational Institutions
With an increasing focus on environmental sustainability, many institutions are setting ambitious goals to achieve net zero emissions. For most, the main contributing factors can be energy, water, waste disposal and recycling, and travel – for both business and commuting purposes. Here, we would like to focus on the last one – travel. One effective strategy for educational institutions to achieve their net zero goals is to encourage their staff and students to commute using alternative transport means such as cycling.
How can my school or university encourage more staff and students to cycle?
One of the most significant barriers people quote when asked why they aren’t already on a bike is the lack of safe and adequate bike storage at their final destination. Providing good bike storage, like bike stands, bike shelters, or bike lockers, is an inexpensive and efficient way to solve that problem. Any school or university can solve this relatively quickly and easily to encourage more staff and students to bike to work and school. And there are plenty of benefits to doing that.
Benefits of bike storage for educational institutions
Encouraging employees and students to cycle to school would help your institution to reduce its overall carbon footprint and promote sustainability. This is particularly important as many educational institutions are large consumers of energy and resources, and targeting other carbon-generating areas, like electricity or water consumption, may take more time, effort and investment. Targeting transportation, the next major contributor to carbon emissions, and promoting cycling as a viable option can help quickly reduce transport-related emissions. By providing safe and convenient bike storage solutions, educational institutions can encourage more students, staff, and visitors to cycle to your premises.
Installing bike storage and thus encouraging everyone to use alternative transport means and cycle to your school will also reduce short and single-occupancy vehicle trips, a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, this would impact traffic congestion in your area and reduce the ever-increasing parking demand most places face. Parking facilities are often a significant source of carbon emissions too. They require substantial amounts of energy to construct and continuously maintain. If you get more of your staff and students to hop on a bike and forgo their car, you would need fewer parking spaces and less energy expended on them, further promoting cleaner travel and sustainability.
There are also numerous physical benefits for your employees and students. According to NHS guidelines, school-age children and young people need at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity daily; adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity weekly. With busy lives, packed schedules and unpleasantly long amounts of time spent commuting, it can often be hard to achieve this. One of the most seamless ways to include more exercise into the daily routine is to encourage children and adults to stay active by cycling to destinations they need to go to anyway, like work, school or university. Staying active with cycling helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves motor skills, coordination and balance. Cycling is good for kids’ and adults’ mental health and reduces stress and anxiety while improving mood and self-esteem. This often means students and employees who are healthier, happier, more relaxed and ready to start their day.
Additionally, promoting cycling to school is a great way to speak to your students about the environment and how riding a bike is a greener way of moving around. This will introduce and aid children in developing an understanding of the importance of sustainability and why it is so vital we as a society reach our net zero goals.
Where to begin with implementing effective bike storage solutions
Investing in safe and useful bike storage is a great way to encourage more people to bike to and from your premises. This is important for promoting sustainable transportation, bringing down your carbon emissions and improving employee and student satisfaction and health. Here is where to start:
You can start by reading two of our other blog posts, which have a lot of helpful information. Here you can learn more about What you need to consider before investing in bike storage for your business – we discuss important considerations such as budgets, spaces and bike storage needs. And here, in our What are the best places to install bike storage on your premises? blog, we discuss more in-depth things like outdoor and indoor bicycle storage and the good practices for positioning bike storage solutions that will truly work for your employees and students.
If you are still trying to figure out where to start or what would be the best solution for your educational institution, contact us at Bike Dock Solutions to discuss safe and secure bike storage options for your school or university.