FROM WALLS made out of straw to cars which run on chip fat - don't tell the taxman - colleges are leading the way in going green.
A survey to mark the beginning of the Association of Colleges' "Green Colleges" initiative re-vealed some of the more bizarre methods by which further education is doing its bit for the environment.
With all campuses being modernised or replaced in a rolling programme funded by the Learning and Skills Council, there has been fresh impetus behind making buildings more energy-efficient.
The AoC survey found that 77 per cent of colleges encourage "green" travel arrangements; 70 per cent have carried out an audit of energy consumption; and 58 per cent have an environ-mental policy.
Other energy-saving approaches include a generator powered by cow excrement and the installation of waterless urinals.
As part of its campaign, the AoC is urging the LSC to provide a fund for green initiatives costing less than pound;100,000. Currently, it says colleges can only get cash for pro-jects costing more than this amount.
Colleges' efforts to protect the environment are being supported by Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall.
John Brennan, chief executive of the AoC, said: "Colleges are playing a critical role in developing environmental curricula to equip young people and adults with specialist skills and knowledge.
"Many others are already delivering on the environmental agenda by, for example, incorporating innovative sustainable features in new buildings, introducing recycling stations or implementing greener transport policies.
"But more can always be done - and this is the reason AoC is working to showcase college best practice to exemplify that sus-ceptibility is achievable and to help colleges access the advice, guidance and funding that is available to support sustainable development."
GREEN INITIATIVES THAT LEAD THE WAY
Somerset College, Taunton
Newspaper, wood and denims used for layers in walls, and toilet basins made from recycled yoghurt pots.
Walford and North Shropshire College
A generator run on cow slurry con-verted into methane gas for energy.
Duchy College (part of Cornwall College)
Four cars and a minibus which are run on fuel made from chip fat.
City College, Plymouth
The college has two wind turbines on its roof and its urinals use special chemicals which remove the need to use water to flush the waste away.