2015 is the International Year of Light – Sustainable Energy (Part 1)

Every year the UN chooses one or two themes that are celebrated throughout the year by governments, local organisations, businesses and educational institutions. This year was proclaimed the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, and focuses on the topic of light science and its applications with the aim of recognising the importance of light-based technologies, promoting sustainable development and providing solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Additionally, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is Goal 7 of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. In celebration of the International Year of Light, the following week will focus on sustainable energy and feature a range of initiatives and programmes implemented on the topic at universities internationally.

Many academic institutions provide support for entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable energy. The Sustainable Renewable Energy Business Incubator Initiative at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, in Trinidad and Tobago, aims to grow and nurture companies operating within the emerging sustainable energy sector, through the provision of business support, facilitation of access to markets, and access to finance as well as technology transfer and joint ventures. Some of the projects to be included in this initiative include a project involving photo voltaic panels for solar generated electricity, recycling and proper tyre disposal used for generation of supplemental fuel substitute and a project involving power generation using tidal power.

There is an increase in courses and electives with a focus on energy. For example, fourth semester BSc students in Business Administration and Information Technology at Copenhagen Business School, in Denmark, use a case called Smart City. In this case, which covers three courses, students work to facilitate sustainable and energy efficient lifestyles through the use of information technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City case enables students to apply new ideas using technology to better curb high energy consumption. This includes exploration of how cities, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to the market.

The University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, in Switzerland, is part of a research consortium of four different universities investigating the future of Swiss hydropower. The research will be based on local case studies with industry partners and local stakeholders. Students at the school have also been engaged in sustainable energy projects. A group of students recently produced a short video clip called “2048” that envisions the future of energy production as a private activity. The video won the 2014 Sustainability Award of the Swiss Foundation Consumer forum. The University also has a Masters in advanced studies in energy economics. The school has also recently installed energy efficient lighting schemes and is installing a new control system for energy consumption that provides real time data.

At Boston University, in the USA, Clean Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative (CEESI) was established to engage university resources to help prepare for a world where increasing demand for energy resources must be balanced with environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Boston University’s approach is interdisciplinary, with CEESI involving faculty and staff from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and School of Management to coordinate a university-wide vision for research and academic programmes relating to this challenge. CEESI is responsible for new education and research programmes in energy-related areas, the Presidential Lecture Series and other events, coordination with campus-wide activities, general operating policy, communications, and related matters affecting Boston University’s sustainable energy objectives.

At the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, the Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies is an industry-sponsored chair focused on developing a competence centre for research and teaching in the fields of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The position focuses on innovative business models and committed entrepreneurship. The chair investigates how the shift towards renewable energies can be accelerated through the interaction between private investments, consumer behaviour and effective energy policies.

Beginning of a Journey – Jonkoping International Business School Sweden

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 10.07.08Academic institutions are all at different stages of their journey of integrating responsible management education. In Sweden, Jonkoping International Business School, a new PRME signatory, has just recently begun what they call “the beginning of a long journey” to educate students who can generate sustainable value for businesses and society.

I spoke with Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas, Assistant Professor and PRME Project Manager at Jonkoping International Business School (JIBS) about their first steps in embedding these topics into their institution’s culture. 

Introduce JIBS’ approach to sustainability and responsible management.

During 2012-2013, JIBS renewed its strategy and guiding principles to find a way to support an inclusive and sustainable global economy. JIBS added the guiding principle “Responsible in Action” to the two already existing principles (“International at Heart” and “Entrepreneurial in Mind”). Our new principle recognised responsibility as part of JIBS’ “DNA.”

Recognising that JIBS needed to be more explicit in our social responsibility activities, our Dean, Johan Ross, introduced PRME to JIBS. In March 2013, our management team decided for JIBS to join PRME. As a result, JIBS focused on embracing the principle “Responsible in Action” in a more systematic manner across our Business School. “Responsible in Action” pertains to JIBS people—students, faculty, and staffbut also to our processes, activities and educational curricula. Our sincere commitment to a more focused and transparent approach to responsibility was demonstrated by appointing a faculty member, myself, to be our PRME project manager in 2013. Twenty percent of my time is allocated to coordinating the PRME effort moving forward.

How are you working to embed this into the culture of the school?

For the past couple of years we have focused on raising awareness of PRME and sustainability topics among JIBS faculty and students. We have done this in part by putting in place a number of arenas where students and staff can discuss these topics and take action to help move the school forward with its new mission. The Brown Bag Faculty Lunch Seminar is an arena for faculty to exchange ideas and build a stronger foundation on ethics, responsibility and sustainability. In 2013, myself, together with one of our students, Anika Rosski, started the Responsible in Action Student Board (RE-ACT) as a way to promote sustainability and empower students to become change-makers. The board, with 15 students, defined as its vision “to be a role model amongst students and student organisations in stimulating actions and shaping the mind sets of future global leaders to contribute to a more responsible and sustainable society.” The new board transformed RE-ACT into a full fledge student club. The student club, together with other JIBS student associations like JU-Talk, have been key actors inspiring our student community to engage in making an impact in society. We also launched another key arena, the “Responsibility in Action Day” aimed at a wider audience to link students, faculty and practitioners. We organised a new sustainability network for faculty, staff and students in partnership with our sister schools at Jonkoping University including the School of Education, School of Engineering and the School of Health Science. But, as we said, we are just at the beginning!

What have been some of the challenges along your journey so far and how are you planning to or already dealing with them? 

There are three main challenges in our journey with PRME. The first challenge is creating an understanding of PRME across the organisation. When an institution creates a position such as “The PRME Project Manager” as JIBS has done, this sends a strong signal across the organisation. However this signal can be misinterpreted and we do not want students, staff and faculty thinking that PRME is limited to the job of one person, but more importantly the task of every individual on campus. Since “Responsible in Action” is a JIBS guiding principle, PRME pertains to all JIBS people, processes and activities.

The second challenge is my work as PRME Project Manager. I need to continuously find ways to build credibility around PRME and collaborate with institutional intrapreneurs working with sustainability. JIBS has several institutional intrapreneurs working with sustainability. They provide JIBS with unique resources. For instance PhD candidates Duncan Levinsohn defends his dissertation on social entrepreneurship; PhD candidate Matthias Waldkirch works with responsible leadership; PhD candidate Veronika Pereseina specialises in sustainability in the supply chain; and PhD candidate Khizran Zehra, studies informal and formal entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Additionally, it is important for me to embrace the responsible student leadership of the students, including former student Anika Rosski, and current students like Nickie Exellie and Tetiana Grytsaieva. Organising joint activities with Gabriel Bake, JIBS Doctoral Student Coordinator and Board member of the Swedish United Nations Association, will be an enormous opportunity for JIBS. Thus, it was and is important for me to identify leaders and intrapreneurs, support their ideas and/or build new joint projects.

The third challenge is the limited resources available to work with on these topics. We are a small business school with around 1700 students and 132 collaborators. Thus, we continuously need to find creative ways to stimulate social change out of nothing.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

If you want to become a Business Schools that engages in and works to build a sustainable society, do not hesitate. Start today! A few pieces of advice for moving forward:

  • Resource scarcity is not a limitation, it is an opportunity to become better in what you do
  • Find those institutional intrapreneurs at your Business School that are already committed to responsible leadership and sustainability. Embrace their work!
  • If you want to make a difference, people at your school are the best resource
  • Your students will be inspired when you take a stance. They will become an important resource to make an impact in the student community

What is next for JIBS?

We believe that everything the school does has direct and indirect societal implications and that it must better balance our actions to develop local and global social responsibility and sustainability. Our challenge moving forward is to continually incorporate these topics into our activities, processes, education curricula and research, and thereby contribute to develop responsible leaders. We are looking to establish collaborations with relevant partners to stimulate knowledge exchange on practices and to develop our research in this area. We are just starting with our journey, but looking forward to moving this project forward.


For more information on Jonkoping International Business Schools approach to responsible management education click here to read their first SIP report.

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – USA, India and Australia

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.34.06As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.

In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from the USA, India and Australia.

Judy O’Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, USA

Nike, Inc. supports sustainability in manufacturing and impact areas of waste, energy, climate, labour, chemistry, water and community. They are constantly looking for ways to drive “performance up and waste down.” Nike, Inc. is also committed to creating positive social change through the Nike Foundation and other engagements of social responsibility.

MercyCorps Northwest is a non-profit organisation located in Portland, Oregon. Its vision is that “everyone should have the opportunity to improve their life regardless of their background. By investing in those without ready access to resources, existing economic disparities will become more equitable and motivated, hard working individuals and families will have opportunities to break intergenerational cycles of poverty for good.” MercyCorps Northwest serves low-income populations by supporting entrepreneurship, small business development, community integration and transitions through microloans, classes, and counseling.

Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) is a non-partisan, membership based, non-profit organisation that works to support a healthy environment in Oregon. They work collaboratively with individuals, businesses, farmers, and elected officials to support and create innovative change. The OEC has created and implemented a unique “Emerging Leaders Board” of young professionals under the age of 40 who serve as an advisory board for the OEC.

Intel supports environmental, social and economic sustainability. Programmes include a pursuit of a conflict-free supply chain, designing products with the environment in mind, education and empowerment. Intel has been named the most philanthropic organisation in Oregon 5 times by the Portland Business Journal. The Portland Business Journal has also named the company the most admired large organisation in the state.

Click here to learn more about the MBA for Life Programme at Atkinson.
Arulsamy. S, General Manager of the Karma Yoga Leadership Experiential Project, Great Lakes Institution of Management, India

ITC TC is one of India’s foremost multi-business enterprises with a market capitalisation of US $45 billion and a turnover of US $7 billion. Under its CSR strategy, the company is engaged in affirmative action interventions such as skill building and vocational training to enhance employability and generate livelihoods for persons from disadvantaged sections of society.

Grundfos India is a 100% subsidiary of Grundfos – Denmark. Grundfos is a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology. Grundfos runs its business in a responsible and ever more sustainable way. We make products and solutions that help our customers save natural resources and reduce climate impact.

Click here to learn more about the Great Lakes Institute of Management’s work with local communities.

Belinda Gibbons, Faculty of Business, University of Wollongong, Australia

The Flagstaff Group is a social enterprise, applying market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose for the good of the community. Formed in 1966 to provide employment for people with a disability, today, the organisation is located in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions, employing over 350 people, of whom 275 are people with disabilities. The Group invests in skills development and training programmes to ensure that all employees are given opportunities to develop to their full potential.

Westpac’s vision commits to taking a long-term view on the issues that will impact future prosperity at a local and national level. An example of this is a 10-year contract with CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship programme to recruit at least 40 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander university student interns each year for the next decade. This is the largest commitment to the CareerTrackers programme by an Australian corporate. This initiative was part of the Group’s plans to create meaningful career opportunities for Indigenous Australians, as outlined in its 2014-17 Reconciliation Action Plan.

Click here to learn more about the work the University is merging two approaches to responsible management education

Merging Two Approaches to Responsible Management Education- University of Wollongong

WollongongMany academic institutions take a merger as a unique opportunity to further build responsible leadership and sustainability into the curriculum. This is what happened at the University of Wollongong when the Faculty of Commerce and Sydney Business School merged in 2013. I recently spoke with Belinda Gibbons from the new University of Wollongong Faculty of Business (UOW) in Australia about the merger and how it reignited their commitment to responsible management education, in particular through an extensive curriculum review.

Introduce the new Faculty of Business and your approach to Sustainability/Responsible Leadership.

Prior to the merger the Faculty of Commerce was signatory to the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). Changing the PRME signatory status to the new Faculty of Business was a priority for the new executive and reflected the commitment to ensure the Six Principles of PRME remained engrained in the new structure. Both faculties prior to the merger were committed to ensuring students become future generators of sustainable value, but each approached responsible management education (RME) slightly differently: the Faculty of Commerce embedded PRME in two fundamental core subjects, COMM101 Principles of Responsible Commerce in first year, and COMM331/333 a mountaintop capstone in the final year; while the Sydney Business School endeavoured to integrated RME throughout all coursework programmes.

A new executive and school structure saw the endorsement of a new Faculty of Business Vision, Mission and Values statement. The mission clearly recognises the importance of sustainable and responsible leadership and education: “to advance business-related knowledge internationally through innovative research, quality teaching and the promotion of responsible leadership and sustainable business practices. In so doing, our aim is to contribute to a better society and stronger economy.”

Who has led this process?

In 2014, the executive nominated a PRME Faculty Coordinator with a PRME working group established to raise awareness of PRME and evaluate PRME inclusion in all curricula programmes. The aim is to gain a greater understanding of our student’s RME journey, and look for opportunities, success stories and practices to share. To begin raising awareness, each month the PRME Faculty Coordinator sends a PRME update to all faculty staff with a link to the PRME monthly newsletter, information updates on the Australia/New Zealand PRME working group and other PRME initiatives occurring in the faculty. The PRME Faculty Coordinator was also made a member of the Faculty Education Committee, ensuring that any subject/major updates are updated on the PRME curriculum map.

How did you integrate the two approaches to responsible leadership into one?

One of the first priorities in embedding the new Vision, Mission and Values statement into the fabric of the Faculty in a real and meaningful manner was a curriculum review evaluating all coursework programmes. Undergraduate programmes were reviewed in 2014. Executive level support was essential in ensuring PRME received high-level attention during the curriculum review. The executive ensured PRME was on the checklist for each subject and major during the review with the key driver to integrate the two schools approaches to PRME—keep the core fundamental PRME subjects, but also further embed RME throughout the students learning journey irrespective of degree/major.

To get a feel for how PRME was embedded, each subject/major representative was interviewed. The interviews used open-ended questions in a conversation style that ensured a relaxed non-threatening atmosphere. Discussions addressed the academics understanding of PRME and if the subject/major covered the PRME principles in the learning outcomes, content and/or assessments.

What were some of the lessons learnt through the curriculum review and what impact did these have?

The outcome of the interviews presented many realities of RME teaching and learning. Most prominent was the fact that RME comprises so many areas and each subject/major naturally had different opinions and thoughts that reflected in their teaching and learning style and content material. Another outcome was observing just how passionate and committed the academics are to responsible management education.

Presenting this information proved challenging. A PRME curriculum map was designed and developed which visually represents a student’s PRME learning journey throughout their degree/s in the Faculty of Business. Each major and subject was colour coded to reflect levels of responsible management education (blue=high focus on RME assured via learning outcomes, pink=assessments focused on RME, yellow=RME content throughout, grey=low level of RME focus). Based on the PRME curriculum map, recommendations are currently being approved for improvements to subjects and majors in regards to RME.

During discussions it also became apparent that the students’ responsible management learning journey at UOW is larger than just Faculty of Business experiences. Many academics discussed other initiatives in the university that they embed in their teaching and learning such as discussions around Earth Hour and the UOW Global Corporate Challenge. A PRME “rubric cube” was designed to provide a holistic visual representation of students’ RME interactions at UOW.

What have been some of the challenges and successes? 

The time required to engage in discussion with each subject/major representative is consuming, but very worthwhile. Querying teaching and learning content at times appeared intimidating, especially when a number of changes were occurring in the work environment. It was important to have a process in place that was transparent and open, and an atmosphere that was conversational rather than a formal interview style.

In terms of successes, these discussions have enabled a greater relationship between each subject/major area and the Faculty PRME coordinator. The PRME curriculum map and PRME rubric cube are now important tools that can be used to visually represent a student’s responsible management learning journey. These tools are being used to raise awareness of PRME internally and externally. The awareness of RME is rising in the Faculty with academics already emailing stories, projects, content and assessments in preparation for the 2015 Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) report.

What advice would you have for other schools?

Executive support is essential to ensuring priority is given to those involved in the process of reviewing RME throughout a business school. Having the PRME Faculty Coordinator on prominent teaching and learning committees raises awareness and ensures the areas of responsible management education remain a focus after the evaluation is completed.

What’s next?

In 2015, the postgraduate programmes will be reviewed and a PRME curriculum map developed to ensure RME is integrated throughout all postgraduate coursework programmes. To date the Faculty has mainly focused on the purpose, values and the method principles of PRME. We plan to move our attention to understanding what is occurring in research, partnerships and dialogue in the near future.

Students Take a Role in Strengthening Local Communities – Great Lakes Institute of Management India

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.03.23Experiential learning provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in responsible leadership topics outside of the classroom. Students at the Great Lakes Institute of Management in India have a required experiential learning project called “Karma Yoga” where students work with a number of local villages adopted by the business school. I recently spoke with Arulsamy. S, the General Manager of the Karma Yoga Leadership Experiential Project, about the school’s approach and the impact the project has had.

What is Karma Yoga and how did it come about?

Dr. Bala V. Balachandran founded Great Lakes Institute of Management with the goal of providing world-class management education at an affordable cost, to the best and the brightest students from across our country. In the past 10 years, Great Lakes has become one of the top 10 business schools in India, respected not only for the education we give, but also for creating young managers and leaders of competence and character.

We have a mission towards our students to make them more responsible towards the society in committing themselves to inclusive growth and development. This is the foundation for creating the unique experiential leadership development cum social value creation programme called “Karma Yoga”. The Karma Yoga project provides a unique way for students to connect with on-the-ground realities and experientially learn transformational leadership.

Why is it important for the students at Great Lakes Institute of Management? What impact does it have on them?

The main objective of Karma Yoga is to connect the students with on-the-ground realities and experientially learn transformational leadership, with a mission to enhance the self-esteem and self-efficacy of the local communities to enable them to lead a better quality of life through this empowerment.

It is an opportunity to practice leadership roles that entail collective action, where the learner has some responsibility for outcomes that matters to others. The field experiences have greater developmental impact than others in shaping the students’ effectiveness as a leader. Through observing and analysing the conditions of the disadvantaged rural communities, they examine the ways in which such communities can gain power and improve their situation.

How does this Experiential Learning Project work in practice?

Ever since Great Lakes came to the present platinum-rated green campus at Manamai, we have embraced the community we exist in and have adopted the neighboring twenty villages that form our immediate community for the Karma Yoga programme. Over six hundred students have been serving for the social, economic, and cultural growth of the community through a variety of successful initiatives. The students visit these villages regularly on Sundays throughout the year. Initially they conduct the participatory rural appraisal to incorporate the knowledge and wisdom of the local people, before guiding them in to take up development initiatives.

The class is divided into teams and each team is assigned one village or a part of a village. The project involves each student visiting the assigned village and spending time to build a relationship with a group of people in the assigned village. The objective is to enhance their self-efficacy and self-esteem (i.e. empower them) and to bring about enduring change in their lives by addressing their real needs. Every village will have one student as Village Coordinator, one first-year student as Village Associate and one second-year student as Village Representative.

All students are required to take part in this project during their first term. In the second term the project is optional, but students can choose to continue working on their projects for at least 10 hours a month for additional credits. Those who complete this additional work will be awarded a separate certificate of holistic development upon graduation.

Students contribute blogs about their work and keep a website regularly updated with a summary of their activities in the different villages. They also submit a video about their work that is part of a Karma Yoga community video festival.

What are some of the projects that students are involved in?

Our students are engaged with different projects through participatory approaches and methods to make communities and individuals healthy, employable and enterprising. They are creating awareness on health, literacy, vocational skills and entrepreneurial abilities through teaching, training, health and sanitation camps, kitchen gardening, games & sports meets, environmental awareness campaigns and entrepreneurship workshops.

One group on a recent trip to their village did a clean up of the village temple area. They found the need for more dustbins and regular garbage collection, and are currently speaking with the local municipality to arrange this. Another team of students, who adopted a settlement known as Perumal cheery colony, conducted a health camp where more than 90 people got a health checkup. It is a poor neighborhood where there is no primary health care system and they cannot afford to pay for treatment at private hospitals. Our students also organised an eight-day workshop in a village known as Lingapuram, where they trained students in the basics of Microsoft office.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes? 

The major challenge is the time that the students have to plan and execute projects within the stipulated time. As sometimes the curriculum schedules clash with their timings of village visits, they find alternative timings on their own and reach out to the communities to plan and implement activities. The other major challenge is the language barrier, when they do not speak the vernacular of the local people, since the students come from all over India. We make sure that each village team will have one or more students who can speak the local language.

The major success of the Karma Yoga project is that it has brought positive change among communities through the leadership of the students. The students are trying to identify a new order with new voices and new leaders, propagating values of accountability, transparency, fair competition, social justice and economic empowerment among the communities. Each village visit strengthens the bonding relationship between the students and the communities, and creates an opportunity to experience the on-the-ground challenges and to find a way forward in helping those who are in need of a change.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

Schools should come forward to integrate such programmes as part of their curriculum with a focus on sustainable development. Development perspectives should be encouraged rather than charity based programmes. Students should be given a democratic space to observe, plan and execute programmes without any force from the school authorities. The spirit of voluntarism with commitment should be the guiding principle of socially responsible management education.

What is next for Karma Yoga?

The next level for Karma Yoga is to share the information with the rest of the business schools in India, and network among them to create a common platform to strengthen responsible management education.


To read Great Lakes Institute of Institute of Management’s first SIP report click here.


Sustainable Buildings on Campus (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 15.55.33Engaging in sustainability and responsible leaders goes beyond the classroom curriculum. It must also be engrained into the business school itself on its campus. A growing number of business schools and universities are not just putting in place strategies to ‘green’ their buildings on campus, but certifying these buildings through different national and international schemes.

There has been a significant rise in a mix of voluntary certification and mandatory requirements for both new buildings and existing constructions that are changing the way University campuses look around the globe. These standards provide guidance on creating more sustainable buildings through a wide range of topics including, but not limited to site selection, energy efficiency and sourcing, materials, construction practices, water efficiency and use, the design of the space and landscaping. In Part 1 we looked at LEED certified campuses (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) across the US. Here in Part 2, we look at a number of Sustainable Buildings around the world.

The John Molson School of Business building at Concordia University in Canada is LEED Silver certified. The 37,000 square metre, 15-storey building incorporates bright atriums, modern classrooms, and several auditoriums and amphitheatres. The low-flow plumbing fixtures throughout the building reduced water consumption by 45%, and a green roof on the fourth floor has a seating area with a garden to promote cultivation projects. The building’s southwest wall is considered the first even ‘solar wall’ in the world with solar panels stretching the length of the wall covering a surface of approximately 300 square metres. The photovoltaic panels will generate up to 25 kW of electricity and 75 kW of heat—that’s enough energy to turn on 1,250 CFL light bulbs, and provide heat for seven Canadian homes throughout the year. The greening project was funded by the NSERC Solar Buildings Research Network, based at Concordia University, which brings together twenty-six Canadian researchers from eleven universities to develop the solar optimised homes and commercial buildings of the future.

CEIBS became the first business school in China to have a LEED Gold certified building. This is thanks to an initiative started in 2007 by a handful of MBA students. Over the years other students continued their work in the initiative, and by 2010 one of the major goals was ensuring that the end result of a planned campus expansion project would be a green building. The building relies heavily on innovative wastewater technology to maintain pools of water that surround the campus. An on site treatment facility converts 180 tonnes of waste water per day and through that the school saves 54,000 tones of potable water each year.

In India the Great Lakes Institute’s 27-acre campus is LEED Platinum certified. It uses natural daylight and maintains further energy efficiency through solar energy and solar water heaters used throughout the building. Rainwater is harvested through percolation ponds and tanks across campus and greywater is produced on campus and reused in different ways such as for lavatories and gardening. An organic herbal garden including native vegetation promotes biodiversity on campus.

Porto Business School in Portugal earned LEED Gold certification on their new facilities in 2014, the first building in Portugal to receive this level of certification. Three artificial lakes that collect rainwater are partly used for lavatories and irrigation. The buildings have efficient air conditioning and lighting systems, and the intensity of the light is automatically adjusted by daylight and space occupancy in a room. A wide variety of recycled and non-toxic materials were used in the construction of the building.

LEED is of course by no means the only green building standard. Many countries have their own standards. The University of Bradford’s ‘The Green’ received the highest rating from BREEAM, a UK design and assessment method for sustainable buildings used internationally. ‘The Green,’ the student accommodation on the university’s main campus, is a ten-block student residential village with 1,026 bedrooms. Hot water is pre-heated by solar thermal panels and food waste is quickly composted on site. Landscaping includes vegetable beds and orchards for students to use—only planted with indigenous plants—as well as beehives. The aim of the building is to promote a sense of community among the students

In Australia, the Green Building Council of Australia awards Green Star certifications. For example, Curtin University received a Green Star rating for their plans to transform 114 hectares of one of their campuses through urban regeneration over a 20-year period that supports an urban economy based on education, business, technology, housing, public transportation, the arts and recreation. Monash University has a number of Green Star certified buildings. One of their buildings has a 1-megawatt co-generation plant that generates electricity and heating for the building and the wider campus, lights with sensors that adjust to daylight levels and occupancy, and basement tanks that hold harvested storm water and rainwater for use in toilet flushing, landscape irrigation and the building’s cooling system. Another building used for low cost student housing features the largest residential solar installation in Australia, as well as greywater treatment onsite, which is stored along with rainwater, for flushing, washing machines and irrigation.

The Australian Catholic University also has a Green Star building. Here the heating and cooling system is designed to adapt to the natural seasons, weather cycles and the general flow of people in the building. An under floor vent system helps keep the temperature at 21-25 degrees all year round. When the temperature hits 25, cool air flushes through vents integrated into the carpet tiles, and the vents pump warm air out when the temperature drops to 21. Floor to ceiling windows and unusually high ceilings let in enough natural light that artificial light is rarely needed.

The Green Building Council of South Africa also has a Green Star system similar to Australia. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School’s new building is the first in South Africa to receive a green design rating from this programme. Though the school found that doing the certification added up to 20% on initial building costs, they expect to recover those costs over the first year, through efficient lighting, solar energy and water use. The building uses 60% less energy than similar buildings and 75% less water due to low flow fittings.


Sustainable Buildings on Campus (Part 1)

Concordia UniversityEngaging in sustainability and responsible leaders goes beyond the classroom curriculum. It must also be engrained into the business school itself on its campus. A growing number of business schools and universities are not just putting in place strategies to ‘green’ their buildings on campus, but certifying these buildings through different national and international schemes. Although several say that this increases the upfront costs of the renovations or building projects, many also say that they recuperate much of that through lower operation costs. At the same time this creates more efficient and interesting buildings that create a sense of community beyond the campus.

There has been a significant rise in a mix of voluntary certification and mandatory requirements for both new buildings and existing constructions that are changing the way University campuses look around the globe. These standards provide guidance on creating more sustainable buildings through a wide range of topics including, but not limited to site selection, energy efficiency and sourcing, materials, construction practices, water efficiency and use, the design of the space and landscaping. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one set of sustainable building standards based in the US. It is a voluntary certification programme that verifies use of sustainability practices in key performance areas including siding selection, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and indoor air quality, and awards buildings certified, silver, gold or platinum.

Roosevelt University’s 32-storey skyscraper is the ninth largest university building in the world and is LEED Gold certified. Nearly 8,000 square feet of green roof on 5 floors reduces the city’s heat island effect and provides a rooftop vegetable garden. There is an advanced recycling system on every floor that automatically sorts trash and self cleans. A food pulper system uses recycled water and rescues 80% of solid food waste that is then composted and added to the soil at the campus community garden. The building has plenty of indoor bike parking, as well as easy access to showers for riders. The carpets throughout the buildings are made from 60% recycled plastic containers and even the façade of the building is built with ‘visual noise’ to protect birds from colliding with the reflective surface.

These certifications don’t only apply to new buildings but to renovated older buildings as well. Thunderbird School of Management’s home, a renovated World War II-era building that served as an air traffic control tower, has LEED Silver certification. The tower has an energy efficient roof and windows, water efficient plumbing fixtures, maximised daylight and minimised construction waste. Select furniture was made from recycled or reclaimed materials, and the ceilings were constructed with materials salvaged during the renovations.

The University of California Berkeley campus currently has fourteen LEED certified building projects and 6 more underway, representing over 10% of the total square footage of the campus. Major projects are designed to achieve Gold certification, and required at a minimum to achieve Silver. This is part of the university’s overall green building strategy, which includes a no net increase energy goal, meaning the proposed project would not result in an increase in the building’s metered energy. New building and renovation projects are required to outperform local energy codes by at least 30%. The Maximino Martinez Commons building on their campus is powered in part by 10,000 therms of solar water heating.

The University of California Santa Cruz Student Health Centre building has received Gold certification—the project was started by a student of environmental studies and economics, who graduated in 2009. The entire $17 million project was funded by students through several bond measures and an agreement to a new compulsory fee of $5.20 per quarter per student. Among the changes were waterless urinals and more efficient flush toilets, planter boxes to capture storm water, reinforced turf instead of pavement in a turnaround area for service vehicles, recycled and other green building materials, and the use of FSC certified wood.

Maharishi University of Management’s Sustainable Living Centre is a carbon neutral building, creating more energy than it uses. Rooms are designed to harness the different qualities of sunlight at different times of the day to support different types of activity. The building is completely off the grid and has a wind tower and solar voltaic arrays with a power capacity of 20kW. Some months the building generates twice as much energy as it needs, and the excess is used to power other buildings across campus. It obtained the highest LEED certification level, Platinum. The website for the building allows anyone interested to see in real time the amount of energy being used and generated by the building.

A growing number of schools are putting in place green building standards for all new buildings on campus. All new buildings at Fordham University School of Business are being designed to achieve LEED Silver rating, ensuring that all new properties are environmentally responsible. They have been exceeding this goal in some construction, achieving the LEED Gold standard where possible. Bentley University has also established a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least LEED Silver or beyond.

Does your campus have a green building policy? Are your buildings certified by a national or international scheme? Share your stories in the comments below.



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