2024 Jan/11

EU-CONEXUS presents Green Campus best practices

As a term, ‘Green campus’ is used for describing universities that employ environmentally friendly practices with a conscious intention to limit their impact on the environment. These practices may include – but are not limited to – the installation and upgrade of energy efficient equipment and initiatives aimed at driving behavioural changes.

Work Package 16 (Green Campus), led by Frederick University, is conducting a study that investigates and maps the best sustainability practices implemented across the campuses of EU-CONEXUS partner universities. The study involves comparative approaches across various thematic areas, regarding the fact that methods employed in different regions vary.

For the purposes of the study, each University provided information on the level of success in implementing sustainability practices related to natural resource matters such as energy and water, waste management, and general circular economy topics. Obtained information also concerned other matters, such as transportation, on-site comfort practices, environmental aspects of organizations, and other related green practices. Both top-down (driven by the governing body of the organisation) and bottom-up (driven by the practices of students) approaches have been taken into consideration while detailing the different decision-making procedures that take place on the campuses of EU-CONEXUS partner universities.  

The findings from this study will serve as a guide for creating an operational framework for the implementation of green initiatives and tackling specific SDGs. Successful initiatives can drive positive change in campuses across the EU, efficiently reaching towards the goal to reduce carbon emissions and, ultimately, establish a strong standard of green campuses.

Best practises presented in the study include:

  • Frederick University implemented Smart Energy Meters and a Digital Twins Network to enhance sustainability and energy efficiency on campus.
  • The University of Rostock conducted a voluntary Greenhouse Gas accounting pilot project to monitor and gradually reduce its carbon emissions.
  • La Rochelle Université conducted an analysis to assess various elements that contribute to the university’s carbon footprint (travel, purchases, and energy consumption).
  • The Catholic University of Valencia upgraded a 5000m² former monastery that houses university buildings to reduce electricity consumption.
  • The Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest plans to create a 2,400m² sustainable urban garden for outdoor work, leisure, and cultivation.
  • The Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) reduced energy consumption by building upgrades, replacing consumptive elements and integrating renewable energy systems.
  • The University of Zadar introduced larger bins for collecting various categories of waste and a waste recycling program, which has replaced landfill disposal for general waste.
  • Klaipeda University installed a geothermal power plant and a real-time building management system to achieve a more efficient and rational use of resources and energy.
  • The South East Technological University undertook a comprehensive deep fabric retrofit of its Business School with the primary goal of minimizing thermal energy consumption.

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