10 December 2014
New green strategy puts UCPH in the sustainability Champions League
The University of Copenhagen has set out ambitious new targets for sustainability designed to make UCPH one of the world’s most sustainable universities. With “Green Campus 2020: A Strategy for Resource Efficiency and Sustainability” the University has taken a big step towards meeting new environmental goals, including specific targets for energy and CO2 reductions.
“Our main task is to carry out world-class research and teaching, but we also have a responsibility to ensure that we do so with ever-decreasing environmental impact. Fortunately, energy and resource efficiency often results in financial savings thereby freeing up resources for the University’s core activities,” says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen.
The University of Copenhagen’s green accounting shows that, since 2006, it has reduced its CO2 emissions by 28.8% and its energy consumption by 20.4% per employee and student. This reduced energy consumption will result in annual savings of nearly DKK 35 million – money that will be spent on research and education at the faculties where the energy is saved. In other words, it also makes good business sense to become even greener.
“The goal of the University’s ambitious new sustainability strategy is to reduce CO2 emissions by 65% per full-time equivalent and energy consumption by 50% per full-time equivalent in the period leading up to 2020. We will also aim to reduce waste by 20% and ensure that half the waste is recycled,” says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen. He also stresses that UCPH would have even better opportunities to improve resource efficiency if it assumed full responsibility for the University’s buildings, which are currently rented from the Danish Building and Property Agency.
The University of Copenhagen is in dialogue with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science about how the University can acquire ownership of the buildings. A freehold of the buildings will make it easier to meet the various requirements for the facilities in a competitive international research and student environment.
The University’s staff and students play a key role in achieving the new sustainability targets. The strategy includes specific efforts to motivate staff and students to practice sustainable behaviour in their day-to-day lives at the University:
“Staff and students should experience the daily benefits of a sustainably run university and have lots of opportunities to help realise the Green Campus 2020 strategy. Knowledge and new solutions are key to making everyday life more sustainable at the University,” says Green Campus team leader Tomas Refslund Poulsen.
The University currently has 100 so-called green ambassadors among the staff who work to promote energy-efficient habits in laboratories and offices. There are especially big energy and environmental savings to be made in laboratory buildings, as they consume the most energy and have the biggest environmental impact. For example, major savings can be made by ensuring heat recovery in ventilation and adapting the operation of the ventilation and heating systems to meet the actual needs of the users.
The students can also look forward to experiencing greater sustainability in their day-to-day life at the University. There will be various offers for students who want to take active part in creating new solutions. These activities will include promoting energy-efficient habits, improving recycling and developing more sustainable canteen meals.
Tomas Refslund Poulsen, Green Campus team leader
Phone: +45 3070 4109