Understanding the importance of sustainability practices, colleges and universities around the world introduce new initiatives to help people become environmentally responsible citizens. They are looking for ways to reduce resource consumption and make campus life sustainable for their students. Let’s look at institutions that have been successful at environmental conservation.
Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has implemented several successful initiatives that help to make the institution more sustainable. They have significant achievements already. During the last 10 years, they managed to reduce carbon emissions by more than 50%. Additionally, WUR encourages eco-conscious commuting and catering. The campus has natural gardens and green areas for eco-friendly meetings.
Besides, WUR has switched to the use of renewable energy sources. As a result, 80% of the energy it uses comes from wind turbines. The thermal storage, biomass, and solar energy constitute the remaining 20%. As for water use, the university eliminates wastage by utilizing greywater and spring water whenever it is possible. Heat and Cold Storage applies an underground layer of sand. It can regulate the temperature in campus buildings during both hot and cold seasons.
In 2019, the university was ranked No. 1 in environmental science by the U.S. News & World Report Ranking. The UI GreenMetric also recognizes the efforts of WUR towards a sustainable future. The institution has been leading the list of green universities 3 years in a row.
Aalto University, Finland
Aalto University considers sustainability as one of the fundamental principles. The institution is a part of sustainability networks and projects, including the European Climate KIC, the Nordic Sustainable Campus Network, Climate University, etc. To work on new initiatives, the university organizes Aalto Sustainability Hub. It suggests new ideas for a campus life that support zero waste and sustainability.
The local campus development is characterized by a particular emphasis on sustainable energy and eco transport. Aalto University has a 40% decrease in carbon footprint. The institution has developed a solution to reach carbon neutrality in 10 years. Therefore, all buildings use renewable electricity sources (wind turbines and solar panels) and geo-energy. The project also entails applying centralized air-to-water heat pumps for heating and cooling.
The institution has impressive graduate environmental programs and minor studies. Some of the most popular options are Creative Sustainability, Advanced Materials for Innovation and Sustainability, Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, and many others.
Arizona State University, USA
Arizona State University (ASU) is the first institution in the USA that opened the School of Sustainability. It is focused on research and development of solutions that can minimize human impact on the environment. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for those who care about our planet. ASU takes up an interdisciplinary approach because sustainability transformation is challenging and requires the collaboration of experts in different subject areas.
Apart from advancing sustainability research on the global level, ASU has several efficient local initiatives that help the institution to minimize resource consumption. The university uses renewable energy sources across its four buildings. It is engaged in a solar program and has wind turbines located on the Global Institute of Sustainability building. The local temperature guidelines allow reducing the consumption of energy. Besides, zero waste is another objective of ASU.
The university encourages its students and staff to use alternative transportation options. For instance, they get free intercampus shuttles, ride-matching services, and bicycle sharing. Moreover, students can enjoy discounts on public transport and bicycle accessories.
Nottingham Trent University, UK
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is globally recognized for its significant achievements in sustainable development. The Green Academy team of the university helps to incorporate sustainability into all local practices and initiatives. The institution also has the NTU Green Rewards program. It means that students and staff can download an app where they share sustainability actions and get rewarded with vouchers.
NTU has outstanding green areas. As experts from essayservice.com note, such locations for recreation can improve students’ overall wellness and contribute to better academic performance. At NTU, the local green wall improves the quality of air. Green roofs cover about 2,500 square meters and allow students to relax and enjoy views in roof gardens.
NTU developed a number of policies focused on sustainability awareness. They refer to biodiversity, carbon reduction, energy and water consumption, transportation, waste, etc. The university aims to create a Zero Carbon culture. The staff goes towards this goal, using renewable energy. The local campus buildings have hundreds of solar panels. NTU also provides Carbon Literacy Training to raise awareness and inspire people to lead a more sustainable life.
To Sum Up
The achievements of these green universities empower people to address current environmental challenges. These are the leaders that show sustainability in action. Their insights in education and research, as well as effective campus operations, inspire communities to make sustainability a priority.