NUI Galway has launched a new sustainability initiative which aims to make the university one of the most eco-friendly campuses in the world.
The initiative is based on a ‘Learn, Live, Lead’ approach where NUI Galway focuses on its core strength in teaching and research to learn more about sustainability, analyses building performance and campus operations to live more sustainably, and connects with students and staff enabling them to lead the way and practice sustainability in a wider community context.
Commenting at the launch, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, registrar and deputy president of NUI Galway, said, “We are delighted to be the first university in Ireland to sign up for this initiative.
“One of the key themes identified in this process was to move the university towards the greenest, smartest, healthiest, and community-focused third-level campus in Ireland with an ambition to be internationally recognised by 2025 for its culture and practice of sustainability.”
As part of the initiative, NUI Galway becomes the first university in Ireland to join the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI ) Sustainable Energy Communities Network. The ambitious initiative also includes a ‘Battle of the Buildings’ energy-efficiency competition.
The first departments to face off will be the engineering, nursing, and business, which are all located in the north of the Newcastle campus.
Details of daily energy use of buildings will be available online as well as on dashboards throughout campus.
An energy training and awareness campaign will encourage students, academics, and staff to make informed decisions about energy use that will reduce energy costs.
“This is a fantastic initiative where we can see a real partnership between students, staff, and indeed, the external community,” said Phelim Kelly, president of the Students’ Union.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in their efforts to make people more consciously aware of the environment. It is brilliant to see staff and students collaborate with an aim to see a healthier, green, campus, and in doing so giving the university and wider communities an insight into the value of sustainable technologies.”
The SEC network embraces an inclusive and community approach, across all sectors, to develop a sustainable energy system.
To achieve this goal, SECs aim to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible, and to develop decentralised energy supplies.
Professor Colin Brown, director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said, “We have made great progress over the last 10 years in introducing clean and green systems into our buildings and thanks to the leadership of the Buildings Office, we are becoming much more efficient in how we use energy and what types of energies we use.”
By joining the SEC Network, NUI Galway commits to knowledge sharing with SEC members and to developing and implementing energy-saving initiatives.
Membership of the SEC network offers many benefits to the university and its community partners, including the potential for energy and financial savings, community building through a partnership approach, and developing renewable energy technologies.
For more details on sustainability at NUI Galway, visit www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability