Green Gauge FAQ

 Q: What will be the outputs from the research?

A: Each participating university will receive a professionally designed final report summarising the research findings and recommendations arising from the results.  You will also be provided with the raw data from the research to allow you to conduct further analysis should you wish.

You will also have replicable surveys which can be used on an annual basis in order to track changes in attitudes and behaviour as your environmental initiatives and policies develop.  NUS also offer a discount for repeat purchases of Green Gauge.

Q: What incentives are on offer to encourage staff and students to complete the surveys?

A: All students from participating universities who complete the survey will be entered into a national prize draw with a first prize of £500 and ten runner up prizes of £50.   The prize draw will be made once the last participating university has completed the fieldwork period for their student survey.

There is no national prize draw for staff respondents however if you wish, you can incentivise the survey locally.  This also applies for the student survey.  Examples of prizes which have been offered include vouchers, rewards for the department with the most responses and university branded hoodies (student).

Q: Who will be involved in the research?

A: NUS recommend setting up a project steering group to provide input into the aims and objectives of the research and survey design.  You may wish to invite individuals from different departments across the university e.g. estates, accommodation services, academics, student’s union.  This will maximise the value of the research by ensuring it is relevant to a range of different parties.

Q: When will the surveys be run?

A: The staff and student surveys can be run at any point during the academic year, depending on what suits you best.  The staff and student surveys do not have to be run simultaneously.  We would suggest avoiding the holiday periods and term three for the student surveys as these periods are likely to result in lower response rates.  A month and a half is usually sufficient lead in period for the surveys, from project inception to launch.

Q: How will the surveys be distributed and promoted?

A: NUS will manage the research on a day to day basis, however one of the requirements of participating in Green Gauge is to develop a communications plan for both staff and student surveys.  It is a good idea to involve representatives from comms teams from the university and student’s union in the steering group to ensure their buy-in and assistance with the project. £500 is available from the research budget to fund communications activities developed by the students’ union at your university.   Reaching inboxes is key – therefore an all-student and all-staff email is a good starting point for promoting the survey.  NUS can also provide templates for press releases, posters and flyers if needed.

Q: What can I ask in my survey?

A: This package offers institutions insight into the environmentally-friendly attitudes and behaviours demonstrated by their students and staff, as well as feedback on existing university environmental schemes, impacts and longevity through surveys with staff and students.  Use the surveys to:

  • Canvass opinions on your university’s environmental initiatives
  • Maximize the effectiveness of communications by find out what channels staff and student tune into
  • Gain key information on Scope 3 carbon emissions
  • Gauge students’ and staff environmental awareness

Choose from a range of question modules, including ‘Energy behaviours’, ‘Waste behaviours’ and ‘Evaluating existing initiatives’.  In each module a core cassette of standard questions allows for national benchmarking, alongside the opportunity to develop bespoke research solutions, tailored to the objectives of each university.

Q: I want to find out about the effects of Green Impact at my university – can ERP help?

A: The question modules available for Green Gauge include an option to question staff and students about their awareness of and involvement with the sustainability initiatives running at your university including Green Impact.  The survey is not specifically targeted solely at Green Impact participants however so if you wish to focus in more detail on Green Impact then the monitoring and evaluation bolt-on for Green Impact which includes baseline and follow up surveys with staff members may be more appropriate.  Please contact Jo Kemp for more details on this option.

Q: How can Green Gauge help me develop my environmental communications and initiatives?

A: Green Gauge can help develop communications and initiatives in a number of ways.  Firstly, the values and attitudes questions will allow segmentation of both staff and student populations.  Using information on the characteristics of each segment will allow you to better target your communications, campaigns and initiatives.  The surveys can also be used to gain feedback from the university community on their awareness, knowledge and experience of the various initiatives running at the university; what communication channels they prefer to receive information through and the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for new initiatives they would like to see at the university.

Q: How can Green Gauge help me with my emissions calculations and reductions?

A: Green Gauge includes a number of different subject modules including energy behaviours and transport behaviours.  Understanding the individual energy behaviours of staff and students will help identify where action is currently located, and where there is room for improvement.  Travel related questions can also be framed to identify distances travelled and methods of transport to enable emissions calculations.

Q: Can NUS help if we want to carry out more research based on the ERP surveys?

A: In 2012-13 we are introducing a qualitative research bolt-on to the survey research.  This includes three focus groups with staff and/or students to investigate in more detail the findings that are of particular interest from the surveys.  Alternatively the focus groups can also be run as pre-cursor to the surveys to help formulate questions and identify areas for detailed questioning.

Q: How do I know that the quality of this research is guaranteed?

A: The Research Department at NUS Services are company partners to the Market Research Society (MRS) NUS Services are company partners to the Market Research Society (MRS) ensuring top-notch research and quality assurance through the MRS Code of Conduct.  Many of the questions used in the research package have been tested through previous research for clients including Defra and the Higher Education Academy (please visit for further details of our environmental research projects). 

Q: Can I compare the results at my university with other institutions?

A: Starting 2012-13, NUS Services will run an annual focus group for participating institutions as an opportunity to discuss their findings with each other and their experiences of the research in order to help develop the package and help institutions to plan their future research needs and approaches.

Q: How do I sign up to Green Gauge?

A: You can sign up to take part in the Environmental Research Package simply by completing the form attached to this years E & E rate card.