Sustainability education
The University of Plymouth has been shortlisted in two categories at this year’s Green Gown Awards – the national programme that recognises excellence in sustainability across higher and further education. 
The University is a finalist in the Benefitting Society category for its dental clinic for people experiencing homelessness. 
And it is shortlisted in the Research with Impact category for CobBauge – an international project exploring a traditional ‘cob’ building method with a view to constructing a new generation of ultra-low carbon energy-efficient homes.
The first project sees Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE), a not‐for‐profit organisation aligned to the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School, offer free dental treatment to people experiencing homelessness and other forms of social exclusion. 
PDSE winners Martha
Paisi, Post Doctoral researcher at the University of Plymouth, Lyndsey Withers
long-standing volunteer with The Salvation Army, Christina Worle, dentist at
PDSE, Colin Massey, Head of Patient Administration at PDSE and Rob Witton Chief
Executive at PDSE and Director of Social Engagement and Community-Based
Dentistry at University of Plymouth
The clinic was set up to help address the issue of such people being less likely to access treatment, despite tending to have poorer oral health and more acute general needs than the general population. 
The treatment is provided free-of-charge by a dentist, and referrals for this service are made through local residential homeless centres and GP outreach services. 
The initiative was also developed collaboratively with a range of partners, including people with lived experience of homelessness.
The second project, CobBauge, explores whether a building technique using a material called ‘cob’ – a mixture of subsoil and fibre – could have a place in the future of sustainable building. 
For centuries, people built their homes using the cob material, particularly in South-West England and Normandy, France, but it has fallen from favour due to its inability to comply with the thermal aspects of many building regulations across the world, and supplanted by more energy dependent materials such as masonry and concrete.
However, it’s estimated that 8% of the world’s carbon footprint is owed to concrete, while cob is an ultra-low carbon material; it comes from the Earth and can return there when the lifespan of the building is complete. 
This is the rationale behind CobBauge, a cross-Channel research project that has upgraded cob in the laboratory so that it now complies with regulations. 
A full-scale prototype building is now being monitored and evaluated in a single-storey ‘living laboratory’ on the Plymouth campus (pictured).
Both initiatives will find out whether they have won at the national Green Gown Awards ceremony taking place on 8 November 2022.
CobBauge Building

Read more information linked to this article

We're a leading, award-winning university for sustainability 

We have a strong strategy for sustainability, incorporating social economic and environmental principles that have been in place for nearly two decades. 

We aim to have a sustainable campus and enable learning to research solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. 

We also want to motivate the next generation of students to go out and tackle the sustainability challenges they'll find in their workplace.

Find out more about our sustainable University

University of Plymouth campus