Green Campus encourages a partnership approach to environmental education, management, and action in third-level institutions and is internationally accredited by the Foundation for Environmental Education. To secure Green Campus status long-term commitment to continuous improvement from the campus community needs to be demonstrated.
Since first achieving Green Campus accreditation for Energy, Biodiversity and Travel and Transport in 2015, the Buildings and Estates department together with its many supporters amongst the campus community has been working resolutely to retain it. Every three years Green Campus accredited institutions are required to undergo a full reaccreditation assessment in order to maintain their Green Campus accreditation. In 2018 UL successfully underwent a full reaccreditation assessment as well as adding Waste and Green ICT to their list of accredited themes. Achieving the Green ICT accreditation saw Buildings and Estates partnering primarily with academia and ITD to refine the processes and procedures to safely dispose of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in addition to making energy savings in server rooms. Achieving Green Campus accreditation for Waste saw amongst other things the establishment of a Waste Management group within Buildings and Estates, the roll-out of initiatives aimed at preventing waste (e.g. installation of fit-for-purpose water bottle refill stations), improvements to waste collection and segregation processes, and improved data collection on waste.
The Buildings and Estates department is committed to maintaining Green Campus status for UL and welcomes your support, participation, and ideas.
UL participates in the Green Metric World University Ranking each year. This ranking measures a third level institution’s sustainability by evaluating their performance under a number of headings namely: energy and climate change; waste; water; transportation; education, and, setting and infrastructure. In recognition of its efforts to improve its sustainability UL’s overall Green Metric ranking has improved from 58th (out of 215) in 2012 to 20th (out of 719) in 2017.
The Buildings and Estates Department has teamed up with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to roll out their Optimising Power @ Work energy behaviour change campaign. Using Optimising Power @ Work initiative the OPW has achieved energy savings of 18% across 275 of its buildings. As part of Buildings and Estates’ service level agreement with the OPW, the OPW will provide a range of supports including the installation of energy monitoring and targeting equipment appointment of an energy conservation specialist to assist in rolling out the programme and issue monthly and annual progress reports.
As part of the University’s drive to reduce single-use plastics on campus, water bottle filling stations that deliver chilled and filtered mains water are being deployed in student-friendly locations across campus (see picture below). View all the locations available across campus.
Water is fed to the campus via both the East and West gates from the Limerick County Council water main. Water consumption on campus is metered and the university is billed twice annually for water used. The University is also charged for effluent discharge based on Water In = Effluent Out. The cost of water and effluent discharge to the University has increased sixfold in the last 10 years making it a major recurrent cost.
More information on the techniques used to conserve water - "An introduction to water conservation at UL"
The Buildings and Estates Department uses an Energy Monitoring and Targeting (EM&T) system to actively manage its energy consumption.
The campus uses energy in two forms:
- Electricity for lighting, motive power, etc.
- Natural gas for space heating, water heating, laboratory use, etc.
Electricity is delivered to and distributed throughout the Campus at 10,000 volts and is transformed down to useable levels (240/380 volts) within each building. The University purchases energy on a Maximum Demand Tariff. This means that, unlike flat-rate domestic or commercial tariffs, the cost per unit (kWh) of electricity is a function of the maximum rate (kW) at which electricity is consumed during the billing period (month). This generally occurs between 12h30 and 13h30 each day: turning off unnecessary appliances, lights, etc., especially during this period, can greatly contribute to reducing overall electricity costs. The Maximum Demand Tariff reflects the significance of the University's load on the national electrical distribution network.
Natural gas enters the Campus at high pressure and is reduced down to useable levels at the campus perimeter. UL has one of the largest privately-owned natural gas distribution networks in the country.
The Buildings and Estates Department uses a sophisticated computerised Building Management System to control energy usage throughout the campus. View heating schedules by building
Read further information on protecting critical equipment against power outages.
Please read "Notes for EM&T Dashboard Users" for guidance on what to expect when viewing information on the Dashboard.
To establish the efficacy of environmental initiatives on campus, Buildings and Estates measures and monitors various key indicators. The below graphs provide historical information on some key parameters UL are measuring including:
- Year-on-Year Waste by Category
- Relative percentage of Year-on-Year waste by Category
- Year-on-Year modal split of Staff Commuting
- Year-on-Year modal split of Student Commuting
Due to the pandemic, there was a hiatus in measuring modal split on campus as the campus was only partially occupied and so the results would not be meaningful. Modal split surveys for staff and students will resume in 2023.