Green strategy puts UCPH in top league

The University of Copenhagen plans ambitious targets for sustainability to make it one of the greenest universities in the world

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,” said 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.

“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,” Rector Ralf Hemmingsen added.

Day-to-day sustainability

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,” continued 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.


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