Taras Verkhoglyad
Sales Development Representative, Arloid Automation

Universities: The road to net-zero

More universities are making commitments to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and transforming their impact on nature, including the new Green Universities initiative. Every month, universities around the world sign up for the UN’s “Race to Zero” campaign, pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. The initiative was led by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and Second Nature, with support from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Universities around the world have made commitments and will now try to fulfill them. For example, the University of Glasgow, which set a zero target for 2030, was the first university in the UK to announce it would phase out fossil fuels within a decade. The University of Toronto has committed to developing a low-carbon action plan by 2030 with several activities planned.

Nigel Topping, UK High-Level Climate Action Champion, said: “Higher education institutions have the power to reshape the future. Universities, colleges, and schools are not only committed to ambitious decarbonization plans; these institutions also have the capacity – and even the responsibility – to support and educate our leaders of tomorrow.” It’s fantastic to see so many institutions of higher education joining Race to Zero and I encourage those who haven’t stepped into the action now.”

How can universities achieve Net-zero?

Set both net zero and absolute zero emission commitments.

These commitments should include target dates and work towards eventual emissions coverage. Achieving absolute zero emissions may not be realistic on a global scale, many individual institutions may be much more ambitious, and absolute zero commitment will avoid over-reliance on offsets.

Run an eco-friendlier university system

An eco-friendly school system can be established if certain things are taken into consideration. This is done by encouraging students and even teachers and staff to walk or cycle to or from school, if possible, instead of driving. Carbon footprints can be reduced if walking buses can be introduced.

Reduce energy waste.

If you would like to improve the insulation in your university building to lower the quantity of heating required, you can make use of motion sensor lighting. You can effectively reduce the electric energy used especially when light bulbs are left on in the classrooms without making use of them.

Use the air conditioner and the heater wisely.

Anytime you use an air conditioner or the heater to either cool or heat your classroom, you should always make sure that the windows of the class are closed. If you’d like to get some fresh air, then turn off the air conditioner or heater just before you open the window.

Switch off your computer when you’re not using it.

A computer can consume up to 65% of energy when it is left on. So, make sure you switch them off completely when you’re done using them. Keep in mind that when electronics are not in power, they can still make use of energy.

Recycling

Recycling is a very important aspect of reducing carbon footprint in universities. Teach your students how to separate waste. This would be very helpful as a significant amount of the things they use can berecycled.

Susan Gardner, Director of the UNEP Ecosystems Division, said: “The higher education system controls significant resources in human and financial capital, and how they deploy it can have a real impact on the planet. It is encouraging to see that universities are playing a positive role in moving their institutions to net zero. Young people want to attend universities that advance an environmental agenda – now the challenge is to scale this big job from a few progressive ones to a standard procedure for all”

Universities play an important role in the net zero emission race regardless of their activities. Through their internal research, teaching, and advocacy activities, they have a transformative impact on society. Universities around the world have begun working with governments and corporations to help them understand and control their emissions and ultimately reach their zero targets.

Universities also have an important mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow so that they understand what is meant by environmental sustainability and how it can be achieved. Universities are a critical sector in the global machine when it comes to tackling the biggest humanitarian challenges – both now and in the future.

Arloid’s AI can help universities achieve net-zero faster, by allowing them to reduce and optimize their HVAC usage, which will also save money on universities maintenance. To start your net-zero journey, simply contact us by email or go through test calculations in the configurator on our website, where you can calculate how much you can save with Arloid.

Our office will be happy to answer any questions and tell you more about how your company can work towards your net-zero goals! Let’s take another step towards a greener future!

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