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Bristol landmarks go green as the European spotlight falls on city

The Victoria Rooms, where the official launch of European Green Capital 2015 was held

The Wills Memorial Building, which will be lit green in the evening throughout 2015

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson at the European Green Capital 2015 launch

Press release issued: 26 January 2015

Two of Bristol’s best-known landmarks were aglow with green as the city launched its year in the spotlight as European Green Capital 2015.

The Wills Memorial Building and the Victoria Rooms were lit up to coincide with the official opening ceremony and celebratory events at the weekend.

To mark the special year, the University of Bristol will be lighting the gothic exterior of the Wills Memorial Building green for the remainder of 2015.

The eye-catching beacon of light is created thanks to green filters being placed over the low energy LED lights which illuminate the historic building at night as it towers 68 metres above Park Street.

Bristol also welcomed special visitors from across Europe to the Victoria Rooms, home to the University of Bristol’s music department on Queens Road, where the European Commission officially opened Bristol 2015: European Green Capital on Friday [23 January].

Among the dignitaries to be welcomed by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson were Karl Falkenberg, Director General for the Environment at the European Commission.

Morten Kabell, Mayor for Technical and Environmental Affairs in Copenhagen, represented the previous European Green Capital alongside Zoran Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana - the city which will take up the reins in 2016.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol and board member of Bristol 2015, said: “Events at the weekend marked the beginning of an exciting year for Bristol and it’s fitting that the Wills Memorial Building will be a visual reminder of the city’s Green Capital activities throughout 2015.

“It’s been inspiring to see organisations from across Bristol come together to share a wealth of knowledge and experience. The University’s involvement reflects our commitment to creating a greener, healthier and happier city in which to live, study and work as an enduring legacy of 2015, and also in contributing towards research at a global level that will address the sustainability and resilience challenges facing society in general.”

Professor Judith Squires, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Chair of the University of Bristol’s Sustainability Steering Group, said: “The University of Bristol is proud that the launch of this landmark initiative took place in the University's Victoria Rooms, placing us at the heart of the city's celebrations.

“Bristol’s year as European Green Capital is a key opportunity for the University to accelerate its progress in sustainable practice and enable staff and students to contribute culturally, environmentally and economically to Bristol and the South West.”

Watch ITV West's video of the two buildings being lit up green.

The University of Bristol and European Green Capital

As part of the Bristol European Green Capital 2015 activities, the University of Bristol has made a number of pledges to ensure the legacy of the year continues.

These include become a net carbon neutral campus by 2030; decreasing the University’s transport footprint; and ensuring that its students have the opportunity to undertake education for sustainable development.

As part of the Bristol European Green Capital 2015 activities, the University and its Cabot Institute will host or co-host over 100 public events across the city, including major conferences, seminars, debates, art installations and hackathons. These will showcase the work of a variety of people from world experts to local innovators.

The University of Bristol’s Students’ Union (UBU) Get Green, which has so far inspired over 800 students to take part in environmental projects and has £7,000 available to support student-led sustainability projects in 2015.

More information about the University’s involvement in European Green Capital is available online.

Further information

About the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol

The Cabot Institute carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment. It drives new research in the interconnected areas of climate change, natural hazards, water and food security, low carbon energy, and future cities. Its research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. It seeks to engage wider society by listening to, exploring with, and challenging its stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges.

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