Green Campus and Living Labs

You will learn how your individual actions and collective efforts can contribute to the sustainable development of your campus and beyond.


What is a green campus and why is it important?
Green campus is an educational institution that actively engages in promoting sustainability through its operations, curriculum, research, and
outreach. You will come to understand why having a green campus is important, including the benefits such as a reduced environmental footprint,
cost savings, improved student engagement, and preparation of students for a sustainability-focused future.

What are living labs and their relevance to sustainability?

Living labs are real-life settings where users are involved in innovation processes, helping to create, prototype, validate, and test new technologies,
services, products, and systems in real-life contexts. The relevance of living labs to sustainability will be discussed, emphasizing their role in
fostering innovative solutions to environmental challenges, enhancing campus sustainability, and promoting experiential learning.

What to expect in this module?
Key topics to be covered are green campus, living labs, sustainability strategy development, green activism, and others. The learning
objectives and expected outcomes will be discussed, helping you to understand what you will gain from the module. You will also get insights into
the format of the module, including lectures, group work, presentations, and feedback sessions, and what is expected from the students in terms of
participation and engagement.

The role of universities in sustainable development
The role of universities in promoting sustainable development will be discussed. You will learn how universities, through their teaching, research,
and operations, can contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They can influence sustainable practices not only on
campus but also in the wider community and beyond. The instructor will share examples of universities that are leading the way in sustainability,
showcasing their initiatives in reducing waste, conserving energy, promoting social equity, and integrating sustainability into their curricula.

Learning Objectives

Skills and Knowledge to be acquired from this module
- Understand and define the concept of a green campus and living labs.
- Identify the components of a sustainable university campus.
- Apply the principles of living labs to real-world sustainability scenarios.
- Develop and propose a comprehensive sustainability strategy for a university campus.
- Act as a green activist on campus by raising awareness, forming teams, and advocating for sustainability.
- Effectively present a green campus strategy, providing and accepting constructive feedback.

Connection to Overall Sustainability Efforts
You will learn how your individual actions and collective efforts can contribute to the sustainable development
of your campus and beyond. The module helps you realize your potential as change agents, empowering you
to take ownership of your environment and make a positive impact. The content of the module, the skills
acquired, and the actions taken can all contribute towards the university’s sustainability efforts, aligning with
environmental goals, and fostering a culture of sustainability. There will be examples of how student-led
initiatives have sparked meaningful changes on campuses around the world.


Documentary: Sustainable Campus

Introduction to Green Campus & Living Labs

What is Green Campus?

A green campus, often called a sustainable campus, refers to a university or college campus that focuses on
sustainability in various aspects of its operations. This includes areas like energy use, waste management,
transportation, food, and water use. Key components of a green campus might include:

- Energy-efficient buildings and use of renewable energy
- Comprehensive recycling and composting programs
- Green transportation options, such as bike shares or electric vehicle charging stations
- Local, organic, or plant-based food options
- Water conservation measures

The benefits of a green campus extend beyond environmental impact. They can also lead to financial savings,
healthier and happier students and staff, and enhanced reputation.


Documentary: Creating a Sustainable Campus

Understanding Living Labs

Living labs are user-centered, open innovation ecosystems often operating in a territorial context (e.g., city, agglomeration, region), integrating concurrent research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership. In a university setting, living labs enable the integration of research, education, and real-world problem-solving. They provide an opportunity for students to apply what they're learning to actual issues on campus, testing ideas, and refining solutions. This not only enhances learning but also contributes to campus sustainability.


What is a Living Lab?


University of British Columbia (UBC)
The University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada uses its campus as a living lab for sustainability, integrating
academic and operational sustainability. For instance, UBC's Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility is a
clean energy project that also serves as a research platform for bioenergy production.

University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley has a variety of green initiatives, including a comprehensive recycling program,
a cogeneration plant that provides efficient heating and electricity, and a strategic plan for zero waste by 2020.

University of Groningen (NL)
In Europe, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has implemented various sustainable measures including
energy-efficient buildings, a large bike park, and an on-campus supermarket that promotes sustainable products.

These examples demonstrate how universities can be innovative in implementing sustainability measures. As
we go through these case studies, think about how the strategies employed by these universities could be
applied to our own campus.

Elements of a Green Campus

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Energy efficiency refers to the use of less energy to perform the same task. On a green campus,
this might involve the use of energy-efficient appliances, efficient lighting systems, and green
building designs that optimize natural light and heat. Renewable energy, on the other hand, is
energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and water. Solar panels and wind
turbines are examples of how a campus might generate its own renewable energy. Some
universities have even made commitments to become 100% powered by renewable energy.


Energy Efficient Campus

Waste Reduction and Management

Waste reduction and management on a green campus can involve a variety of strategies, from
comprehensive recycling programs to composting initiatives. Many green campuses also focus on
reducing food waste, both by minimizing waste in cafeterias and by educating students about food
waste. Some universities have introduced innovative programs such as food recovery networks,
which redistribute unused food to people in need.


Zero Waste Campus

Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable transportation aims to reduce carbon emissions by promoting alternatives to
single-occupancy vehicles. On a green campus, this might include bike-sharing programs, shuttle
services, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and charging stations for electric vehicles. Some
campuses even offer incentives to encourage students and staff to use green transportation
options, such as discounted transit passes or prime parking spots for carpoolers.


Future of Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable Food and Water Systems

Sustainable food systems on a green campus might involve offering local, organic, or plant-based
food options in cafeterias. Some campuses have their own gardens or farms where they grow food
for their dining halls. In terms of water conservation, campuses can implement a variety of
measures, from low-flow faucets and showers to rainwater harvesting systems. Education plays a
crucial role in these initiatives, as students and staff must be aware of why these measures are
important and how they can contribute.


Sustainable Campus Food Policies

Living Building Tool

Understanding the Living Building Concept

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program that defines the most
advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. It goes beyond 'doing less harm' to
create a positive, regenerative impact on the environment. Living buildings produce more energy
than they use, treat all water on site, and are built using non-toxic, locally-sourced materials. These
buildings aim to promote the well-being of the people who inhabit them and the ecosystems around


A Living Building Story

Exploring the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is organized into seven performance areas, or 'Petals': Place, Water,
Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. Each Petal is subdivided into
Imperatives, which address specific aspects of green building. For example, the Water Petal's
imperatives include Net Positive Water, which requires 100% of the project’s water needs to be
supplied by captured precipitation or other natural closed-loop water systems. Through case
studies, we'll explore how these principles have been applied in real-world projects.


The Living Building Challenge

Applying the Living Building Tool to Campus Design

In this activity, you'll have the chance to apply what you've learned about the Living Building
Challenge to your own campus. Working in groups, you'll select a building or space on campus and
discuss how you could retrofit or design it according to the living building principles. This is a
chance to be creative and think critically about how these principles can be applied in practice. The
goal is not to create a perfect plan, but rather to deepen your understanding of the living building
concept and consider its feasibility and impact.


(Drawing up Strategies for a green campus)

  • Identify sustainability challenges specific to your campus
  • Propose and discuss potential solutions and interventions
  • Develop implementation strategies considering the human, financial, andlogistical aspects
  • Draft a comprehensive sustainability strategy including specific actions,responsible parties, timelines, and success metrics

Identify Campus-Specific Sustainability Challenges

  • Discuss and list current sustainability challenges on your campus.
  • Identify the sources and causes of these challenges.
  • Analyze the impacts and severity of each issue.

In this activity, you will work in groups to identify and list the current sustainability challenges on
your campus. These could be related to energy use, waste management, water conservation,
transportation, or any other relevant aspect. You should also analyze the sources and causes of
these challenges, as well as their impacts on the environment and campus community. An
instructor can facilitate this discussion, guiding you to consider both obvious and less visible
sustainability issues. However, you can also do this on your own or within your group.

Brainstorming Potential Solutions and Interventions

  • Students brainstorm potential solutions for each identified challenge.
  • Discussing the feasibility and potential impact of each solution.
  • Prioritizing solutions based on impact and feasibility.

Once the challenges have been identified, you will brainstorm potential solutions for each one.
Consider the feasibility and potential impact of each solution, taking into account the specific
conditions and constraints of your campus. Solutions could involve changes to campus operations,
infrastructure improvements, policy changes, education and awareness initiatives, or any other
relevant interventions. Prioritize the solutions based on their potential impact and feasibility.

Developing Implementation Strategies

  • Developing step-by-step action plans for the prioritized solutions.
  • Considering the human, financial, and logistical aspects of implementation.
  • Identifying potential hurdles and strategies to overcome them.

For each of the prioritized solutions, a detailed action plan should be developed. This should
include the specific steps required for implementation, considering the human resources needed,
the financial implications, and any logistical aspects. Identify any potential hurdles or obstacles to
implementation and propose strategies to overcome them.

Drafting a Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy

  • Consolidate your work into a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
  • The strategy should detail specific actions, responsible parties, timelines, and success metrics.

Finally, consolidate your work into a comprehensive sustainability strategy for their campus. This
should be a clear, actionable document that details the specific actions to be taken, the parties
responsible for each action, the timelines for implementation, and the metrics for measuring
success. Present your strategy to the class, receive feedback from the instructor and your peers.
This activity will empower you to take concrete action towards creating a more sustainable campus.

Becoming a Campus Green Activist


From the Lives of 9 young activists

Understanding Advocacy and Activism in Sustainability

  • Discussing the role and importance of advocacy and activism in achieving sustainability goals.
  • Sharing examples of successful green activism in educational institutions.

The concept of green activism and its crucial role in the path towards sustainability. Individuals andgroups can influence public attitudes and policies, promoting greener practices and behaviours.Through some of the examples here, you will understand the impact that passionate, dedicatedactivism can have in transforming university campuses and beyond.


Advocacy and Activism

Techniques for Raising Awareness About Sustainability Issues

  • Strategies for organizing events to promote sustainability.
  • Using social media platforms to spread the word and gather support.
  • Collaborating with campus media to reach a larger audience.


6 Ways to Raise Awareness about Environmental Issues

Forming and Managing Effective Sustainability Teams

  • Discussing the steps to create a sustainability team on campus.
  • Exploring how to manage teams effectively to achieve sustainability goals.

You will learn the steps to form a sustainability team on campus, such as gathering like-mindedindividuals, setting clear objectives, and assigning roles based on skills and interests. Discuss howto keep the team motivated, handle team dynamics, and ensure effective communication.Emphasize the importance of an inclusive, collaborative, and goal-oriented approach to managingteams.


Strategies for Building a Sustainability Team

Dealing with Resistance and Criticism

  • Introducing negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Sharing strategies for dealing with resistance and criticism constructively.

You will learn about negotiation and conflict resolution skills, helping you navigate any resistance orcriticism that you may face in your activism. This includes active listening, empatheticunderstanding, assertive communication, and finding win-win solutions. You will learn how to viewcriticism constructively, using it as a catalyst for improvement and greater inclusivity. Role-playscenarios can be useful as hands-on experience in applying these skills.

Presentation of Green Campus Strategy

Group Presentations of Drafted Sustainability Strategies

  • Each group presents their drafted sustainability strategy to the class.
  • Emphasis on clear communication of their proposed solutions, implementation plans, andexpected outcomes.

Each group will have a set amount of time to present their drafted sustainability strategy to theclass. They should clearly communicate their identified challenges, proposed solutions,implementation plans, and expected outcomes. Effective visual aids and articulate speech shouldbe encouraged to enhance the quality of the presentations.

Peer and Instructor Feedback

  • Instructor and peers provide constructive feedback on each presented strategy.
  • Discussion focuses on feasibility, comprehensiveness, creativity, and potential impact of thestrategies.

Following each presentation, both the instructor and peers will provide constructive feedback onthe strategy. The feedback should focus on the feasibility of the proposed solutions, thecomprehensiveness of the strategy, the creativity of the ideas, and the potential impact of theimplementation. Feedback forms or digital tools can be used to streamline this process and ensurethat all important aspects are covered.

Discussion and Comparison of Different Strategies

  • A facilitated discussion comparing different strategies, identifying common themes, uniqueideas, strengths, and areas of improvement.

After all groups have presented, the instructor will facilitate a discussion comparing and contrastingthe different strategies. This will allow students to see a variety of approaches to the samechallenges, encouraging them to learn from each other. The discussion should identify commonthemes, unique ideas, strengths, and areas for improvement across the strategies.


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Green Campus and Living Labs

Green Campus and Living Labs

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