NUI Galway has launched a new sustainability initiative which aims to make the campus one of the greenest, smartest, healthiest and community-focused 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 about sustainability, analyses building performance and campus operations to live more sustainability, and connects to broader society to lead in translating sustainability to the wider community.
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. This ambitious initiative also includes a ‘Battle of the Buildings’ energy-efficiency competition and a new website to showcase sustainability teaching and research and to engage the campus community.
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. After my appointment in early 2014 as Registrar and Deputy President, I initiated a university-wide discussion on the future of NUI Galway among senior academics and senior administrators. 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. ”
Professor Ó Dochartaigh continued: “The SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities Network is timely and fits very well with strategic developments in NUI Galway. For example, the NUI Galway Strategic Plan 2015-2020, Vision 2020 embraces the ideas of ‘creating a sustainable campus where all resources are used efficiently and where facilities are managed and services consolidated as efficiently as possible’ and recognises the need for ‘external engagement with an openness to partnership and a spirit of collaboration to define the NUI Galway approach’.”
The Sustainable Energy Communities 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. 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.