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Sustainable operational management

From eco-conscious printing to movement sensors, the UvA is working to make its operations sustainable. We’ve adopted a sustainable approach to construction, building management, energy management, transportation, purchasing and consumption.

Green roof at Science Park
Green roof and solar panels at Amsterdam Science Park. (Photo: Teska Overbeeke)

Students and staff are eager to work sustainably. It is the UvA's job to create the conditions that will foster sustainable behaviour within the academic community and help us realise key objectives such as CO2 reduction.

Sustainability policies and targets

As a public institution, we need to lead by example. We have set out a number of key sustainability targets that fit with our institutional profile as a university. The emphasis is on responsible consumption of energy and paper, and sustainable construction and renovations.

Key objectives in terms of environmental policies and operational management include:

  • a 2% annual reduction in energy consumption (relative to 2005)
  • a 3% annual reduction in the CO2-emissions from UvA buildings (relative to 2010)

Energy efficiency

We aim to achieve a 20% improvement in energy efficiency in 2020, compared to 2005. Over the 2005-2016 period, our primary energy consumption per student dropped by 31 %, a major improvement.

We’re also reducing energy use by improving the energy characteristics of our buildings during maintenance, renovations and new construction efforts. All renovation and new construction work aims at energy efficiency levels that exceed mandatory targets by 10%.

Energy generation

In terms of generating our own sustainable energy supply, we have installed solar panels on buildings at the Amsterdam Business School, the Faculty of Science and Amsterdam University College, among others.

Reducing CO2 emissions

By 2020, we aim to reduce our CO₂ emissions per student by 85% compared to 2010. Reductions have already been achieved through various energy efficiency measures including transitioning to 100% Dutch wind power.

Sustainable procurement

We are working to apply government criteria for sustainable procurement, including social procurement, and we regularly exchange information on sustainable procurement with other higher education institutions.

Sustainable waste separation

The waste produced on the UvA campuses is recycled as much as possible. We turn it into new raw materials such as biogas, or a new product such as a bench in the park. Read about how we separate waste here.

Campus development and infrastructure

Our campuses serve as a testing ground for sustainable innovations. Working with local government and businesses, the UvA is carrying out an original and ambitious series of sustainability projects. Some examples:

  • From 1 January 2020, all utility buildings in the Netherlands must meet the requirements for ‘nearly Zero Energy Buildings’. The UvA strives to meet or surpass these requirements in its new buildings and renovation work. For example, at Amsterdam Science Park, the UvA is constructing a new, energy-neutral building to house Informatics.
  • A logistics hub has been set up for efficient, sustainable delivery of supplies to UvA and AUAS buildings.
  • We are working with the municipality to develop an underground heat and cold storage system that will reduce CO2 emissions by the University and its urban partners.
Sketch of the new building at Amsterdam Science Park.
In 2021, Informatics will be housed in an ultra-sustainable building at Amsterdam Science Park. The building will be realised with a minimum of raw materials and waste streams, and will itself generate energy. It will be optimally positioned with respect to the sun, and heating and cooling will be adapted to the building use.

Environmental report

The Environmental Barometer (Milieubarometer) is an annual report that makes an organization’s environmental performance easily accessible through tables and graphs.