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68 new climate initiatives will pave the way for a greener university

A green year has begun. At least at AU, where 68 new climate initiatives will contribute to the university’s green transition.

The climate action plan for 2021 contains 68 ambitious activities that the faculties have developed based on Aarhus University's climate strategy 2020-2025, and that will contribute to the university's green transition.

A reduction of the university's power consumption by servers and other IT equipment. A research energy park in Foulum that can cover parts of Aarhus University's electricity consumption during daylight hours using solar energy and contribute to research. A new climate-friendly travel policy and a way to collect separated waste.

These are just a few of the 68 ambitious activities that are a part of a new action plan that the faculties have developed based on Aarhus University's climate strategy 2020-2025, and that will contribute to the university's green transition.

The action plan has been approved by the senior management team, and University Director Arnold Boon is happy to see the breadth and the significance of the activities that are being launched in 2021.

“These are important strategic initiatives that involve the entire organisation. The planned activities hold the potential to give AU’s climate footprint a huge push in the right direction and to contribute to the green agenda becoming even more integrated into the university's daily operations in 2021,” says Arnold Boon

The 68 new activities are in addition to the 44 CO2 reduction activities launched in 2020.

Dedicated to green efforts at AU

Arnold Boon emphasises that the good work with the 2020 activities can pave the way for efforts in the coming years, and he looks forward to building on the determination and interest that have characterised the attitude among AU staff and students.

“2020 was a transitional year, and I'm proud of the activities we've already launched. For example, we’ve already introduced a rule that all newly purchased cars must run on climate-friendly fuel, and we’ve come a lot closer to having our own fleet of cars at faculty level. In the long term, this will reduce the university’s need for cars. We’ve also launched waste separation trials and significantly increased our focus on climate considerations in our tendering processes and our procurement. This was particularly evident in our call for tenders for a new canteen supplier, which was completed in late 2020.”

Arnold Boon emphasises that both students and staff deserve to be recognised for their commitment and for supporting AU’s climate initiatives.

“To get a good start on implementing the new activities and achieving our goal of significantly reducing CO2 emissions from university operations, it’s important that we work together – both internally and across the faculty. And it’s crucial that we continue to be open to the new initiatives that are being launched – also when they challenge our habits, for example in relation to transport and separating waste.”

At the beginning of 2022, we will follow up on the 2021 activities, and new activities will be launched.

Activities in the 2021 climate action plan

Below are a few of the 68 planned activities included in the action plan for Aarhus University’s 2021 climate strategy.

  • Establish a research energy park in Foulum that can cover up to 60% of AU’s electricity consumption during daylight hours using solar energy.
  • Compare energy consumption in the university’s buildings to identify potential reductions. 
  • Prepare a new, optimal printing system with possible savings with regard to CO?, time and money.
  • Implement smart technology to reduce CO2 consumption, e.g. increase the number of laboratories that can shut down at night.
  • Identify the need for outdoor and indoor bicycle parking on campus areas with a view to meeting parking needs. 
  • Prepare a nudging campaign that focuses on cycling to and from campus.
  • Prepare a new travel policy to reduce air travel, and make use of new virtual meeting tools.
  • Establish a furniture-exchange at AU.
  • Assess and incorporate relevant labelling schemes when launching prioritised tender projects.
  • Explore options for a deposit system for food packaging in AU’s own canteens.
  • Conduct tenders for waste collection, where the waste is handled separately in the sorted fractions.
  • Expand the pilot project for the composting of green waste in the Greenhouses, so that green waste is also composted and used in the University Park.

Facts about AU’s climate action plans

  • AU’s Climate Strategy 2020-2025 contains goals, sub-goals and a number of specific initiatives that will contribute to promoting climate-friendly developments in the operation of the university.
  • In continuation of the climate strategy, an action plan will be developed every year that includes contributions from both the faculties and the administration.
  • The action plan includes a description of a number of activities that pave the way for significant CO? reductions in the university's operations.
  • As a general rule, the unit/division responsible for an activity will bear the costs associated with the activity.
  • Annual follow-up of the activities for the previous year will be carried out, and the activities for the coming year will also be scheduled. This will help ensure progress and transparency, as well as local anchoring and ownership of the climate strategy and activities.

Further information