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.


Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA (part 4): Women on campus

imagesBusiness schools around the world have taken a wide range of approaches when it comes to providing specific opportunities to promote and empower women in business. In the first blog we looked at range of resources on this topic and in the second post we looked at schools that provide a range of free certificate programmes through the 10,000 Women initiative. The third post looked at programmes being developed to empower women in the corporate world. Now, this post will consider the range of ways that schools are bringing up these issues to campus. 

Social Enterprise Week is an annual event where student clubs at the Graziadio School of Business and Management host a range of events to communicate the value of social and environmental responsibility, as well as sound ethical practices in business. During this week, the MBA Women Club, part of an international network dedicated to the advancement of business women as corporate leaders, held a panel discussion on Achieving the Feminine Triple Bottom Line.

A large number of signatory schools, such as Queen’s School of Business in Canada and London Business School in the UK, are also members of the Forte Foundation, a non profit consortium of major corporations and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education and opportunities. The schools provide, among other things, scholarships for women with high potential.

The Simmons School of Management has done extensive research around how gender is explored at a range of different business schools around the world. In 2012 they had an intensive, interdisciplinary student experience entitled the Simmons World Challenge where teams of students are invited to work with a small team of faculty over their winter break to develop creative solutions for major world problems.  The 2012 World Challenge theme was “At the Edge of Poverty:  Empowering Women to Change their Lives and their Worlds.” The MBA concentration in Organizational Leadership continues to have as its primary focus the success of women in organizations. As part of this, Simmons added a travel course to the UAE, including attendance and active participation in the 2012 Women as Global Leaders Conference (WAGL).

Villanova School of Business in the US has a Women in Business Advocacy Committee, dedicated to proposing measures that will enable all students to explore and understand issues that confront women as business leaders. They collaborate with the university-level Women’s Executive Leadership Program to ensure that the needs of VSB undergraduate and graduate students, VSB alumnae, and VSB corporate partners are best served.

The University of New South Wales in Australia has several programmes focused on women. The Academic Women’s Employment Strategy 2012- 2014 positions gender equity as a strategic priority for UNSW. In 2012 for the eighth consecutive year, it was recognised as an Employer of Choice for its initiatives to support and advance women in the workplace by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. Initiatives developed under UNSW’s gender equity program include the Academic Women in Leadership program, the Vice-Chancellor’s Childcare Support Fund for Women Researchers and the Career Advancement Fund. The school has an Academic Women in Leadership Program, designed for women seeking to develop leadership capability and includes themes such as authentic style, executive influence, adaptive leadership, thought leadership and one-to-one coaching. Their AGSM Women Indigenous Leaders Scholarship is provided yearly to Indigenous women entering the Women in Leadership Programme.

Go Green Awards – 5 Questions with Victoria Johnsen from Aston Business School

The Aston Go Green Awards were designed to give staff at Aston Business School the opportunity to get involved with efforts to improve environmental performance and awareness at the university. In its first year in 2010, 15 teams signed up on behalf of their departments, and the numbers have been growing ever since. Each year, departments create teams that receive a workbook for completion, which helps them focus on easy steps that they can take to improve sustainability in their department. These workbooks are then graded against a list of criteria, with Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes awarded. The Environment Team provides support for the teams along with a range of workshops. I recently had the chance to speak with Victoria Johnsen from the Environment Team about the project.

  1. Why did you decide to start the Awards, and how did you go about starting them?

We launched the awards because, whilst in the past we had run some successful student engagement projects, we hadn’t run any campaigns specifically aimed at staff. We wanted to do more to involve staff in our projects and to raise awareness of ‘green’ issues, and we felt that incentivising them would help to bring forward volunteers. At the beginning, we looked at other similar schemes in the sector and took inspiration from the ‘Green Impact’ awards, which is run by the National Union of Students (originally started as a student union campaign). We took the basic principles from this but adapted the scheme to fit in with Aston, drafting a series of criteria specific to our organisation and then promoting this heavily to encourage sign-ups.

  1. What were some of the challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge was in engaging staff, but we found that, by combining different communications (online, print and face-to-face) with direct requests from the University Executive team, we had a reasonable number of sign-ups. It was also challenging to maintain interest in the scheme, but we ran a series of workshops to try to make sure that staff remained engaged and, in the second year, launched an online ‘module’ so that staff could share ideas and pick up tips throughout the year.

  1. What have been some of your successes?

The awards have been well received, and we have recently been asked by the University Executive to extend the scheme to ensure that every department has its own champion, as they feel that this has proved to be an effective method of changing attitudes and behaviour. In general, feedback from the staff volunteers has been positive, and we have had the same volunteers signing up over both years, which has shown great commitment to the project.

  1. What are your plans/hopes for the programme moving forward?

We are now developing the scheme to ensure that there is a wider network of champions in place and that we offer them more support throughout the year. There will still be a ‘workbook’ of some description to complete, but there will be more events and training on offer and more social occasions for volunteers to get involved. We are also working on a series of ‘quick guides’ on topics like saving paper, heating FAQ’s, etc. that champions can share with their colleagues more easily.

  1. What would you recommend to other schools thinking of putting in place a similar programme?

Do it! Although the scheme has taken some time and effort to put in place, it has been well received and has really helped to raise awareness of ‘green’ issues, events and projects at the university. You need to be willing to put the time and investment in place to run the scheme actively, as volunteers need to feel that they are being offered support and that they are getting some benefits out of the scheme. It’s not always easy to engage people, so don’t expect the first year to be perfect but, with time, the scheme will grow and improve.

Creating a more Sustainable Campus: Water (part 2)

Water saving programmes at Griffith University

Griffith University

Water is one of the 7 critical issues being discussed at the upcoming Rio+20 summit in Brazil. According to the Rio+20 website, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.

In a previous blog, we looked at how a growing number of campuses are choosing to Ban Water Bottles on Campus. In part 2 of this two part series, we look more broadly at a range of initiatives that business schools are taking part in to reduce the amount of water used on campus and raise awareness about issues relating to water.

Reducing water consumption

Griffith University encourages students to report dripping taps and water leaks to facilities management. The University also monitors, records and reports its water usage for the purpose of benchmarking and as a way to identify water saving opportunities. One of their campuses has 12 rainwater tanks that store over 200,000 litres of water, another building harvests water condensate from air conditioning to use in irrigation. Rainwater is harvested and used for toilet flushing in all new buildings.

The new building that houses the Walter E. Heller College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University is designed around “green” principles and is LEED-certified, which verifies use of sustainability principles in key performance areas, including site selection, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and indoor air quality. Illinois State University has installed multiple stormwater management features on campus, including a rain garden, two bioswales (designed to remove silt and pollution from runoff water) and three parking lots with permeable concrete. Grenoble Ecole de Management is implementing a range of water saving measures, including the use of reclaimed water in the sewage waste system and timed water faucets. Kyung Hee University School of Management green management practices include water-efficient landscaping in and around business school buildings and a rain-saving system in the school’s newest building.

Through the curriculum and research

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater provides a range of courses in the MBA programme focused on water issues, including one called Blue and Green Marketing, which looks at the effective marketing of water and other sustainability products and services. Babson College provides a course focused on sustainable entrepreneurship in Norway that focuses on drivers of opportunity in the energy domain and examines ways that new ventures are applying technologies in wind, water, solar and alternative fuel.

A wide range of case studies and research with a focus on water have also been developed by business schools around the world. At ISAE/FGV, a case study on cultivating a good water programme looked at the Itaipu Binacional, the largest dam in the world, situated on the border of Brazil and Paraguay.

What is your campus doing to minimize the use of water? Share your projects in the comments area below.

Creating more sustainable campuses: Bikes on campus

Bikes are a common sight on business school campuses around the world and are very popular with both students and staff alike. In this edition of “creating more sustainable campuses,” we look at a variety of innovative ways that campuses and the cities that they are located in are becoming more bike friendly.

  • In 2011 the League of American Bicyclists awarded a range of campuses across the US Bike Friendly University Awards. University of California Davis, who was awarded gold, offers Summer Bicycle Storage and regular auctions on campus and on eBay to sell abandoned and unclaimed bicycles. Students also have access to courses on bike repair and maintenance on campus. Other winners included University of Wisconsin-Madison  University of Maryland, University of Colorado.
  • Stanford has over 12,000 bike racks on campus and maps showing bike paths on and off campus. Students also have access to a range of bike safety repair stands where they can make minor repairs and pump their tires for free as well as free rentals of folding bikes. All this is organized by Stanford’s campus bicycle coordinator.
  • The University of Oregon’s Outdoor Program’s Bike Program, which provides bike loans, a free shop, and education on campus, is entirely student funded and operated.
  • In a project designed to increase awareness about alternative modes of transportation, faculty and Staff at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France have access to electric bicycles 4 weeks each year (trial phase), which are reservable for a 24 hour period free of charge. The school also has over 100 covered car parking spaces that have been turned into bike parking for the growing number of bikes on campus.
  • A growing number of schools, including Winchester Business School, offer subsidies and/or interest free loans for staff interested in buying bicycles for their daily commute to campus.
  • Newcastle University in the UK has a self-service bike sharing system called WhipBikes. Faculty and students pay a one-time registration fee that enables them to use any of the 150 bikes scattered across campus. If they want to use a bike, they simply pick the one they want and text its number to WhipBikes, which replies with the lock code for that bike.
  • Cities around the world are putting in free public bike systems, which are being used extensively by students.  At John Molson School of Business, Concordia University students have access to Montreal’s extensive public bike system, which features over 5,000 bikes and 400 stations, many on/near campus. Similar systems can be found on campuses around the world, including in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and across Asia.
  • For students from Copenhagen Business School, Norwegian gas company Statoil has equipped five of its stations across the city with Cykelpleje centers dedicated to bicycle maintenance and repair. Students of Pamplin School of Business Administration, University of Portland travelling through Portland International Airport have a special bike repair section in the lower terminal, where they can take apart and reassemble their bikes, as well as several bike paths connecting the airport with the city.

Does your campus promote bike use in an innovative way? Please share your experiences and stories in the comments area below.

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