We are doing more about sustainability than you think

What is The Hague University of Applied Sciences actually doing about sustainability? Is THUAS doing enough? Why, for example, is there no separate waste collection in the public areas of the main campus? These were the questions students brought to Maria Toko, student member of the General Council. She discussed them with the Executive Board at THUAS and it seems: “We do more than most people know.”

Who is aware that we use a heating network to heat the main campus, for which the heat is supplied by industrial waste heat? Or that in 2009 the Delft campus won the Net-Trofee award for the most sustainable university of applied sciences building? Or that the Zuiderpark Sport Campus is extremely energy efficient with an EPC 40 per cent lower than the standards require? That all these three campuses use Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) for cooling and heating, whereby heat and cold can be stored in groundwater and reused?

Updated

The above information will be new to most students and staff. As it also was to Maria Toko and fellow student council member Chelsea Takeu. They were updated by council member Hans Camps and Henri van de Brug (director of Facilities & IT) about what THUAS is doing about sustainability and what more is possible.

Not visible

Maria: “It was a good discussion and we will continue to meet up regularly with Henri and Hans to keep our fingers on the pulse when it comes to sustainability. It seems THUAS does a lot about sustainability that we didn’t know anything about. This often regards technical solutions that are not visible. One of our decisions was therefore to improve the provision of information on this.”

Vegetarian

Students put the question to Maria about whether it was possible to have a bigger selection of vegetarian and healthy products. “That isn’t possible at the moment because of the existing contract with the caterer and the agreements with the suppliers. But this will be included in the following tender, which will take place in 2019.” THUAS will involve students in the request for and decision regarding the new caterer.

Waste separation

Many, in particular foreign, students are shocked that there is no possibility for separate waste collection in THUAS’ public spaces. Currently, old paper is collected from the lecturer and staff members’ offices and the restaurant collects glass and biodegradable waste separately. But this can be improved. There are plans for collecting plastic waste separately. Regarding further waste separation: previous tests have shown that students do not separate enough waste to make it successful. Just as with the choice of caterer, THUAS will involve students in the tendering process for a new waste processing company this year.

Increasing sustainability

Maria Toko is optimistic about further increasing sustainability at THUAS. “From the discussion with the Executive Board there seems to be the will to tackle sustainability further. Various degree programmes are working on sustainability and the students are involved. As such, a Spatial Development and Climate Management student, Farheen Husna Abdulrahman, has proposed to see if THUAS’ Ecosia can be set up as a search engine whereby each search query leads to planting trees. One of the agreements we have made is that Facilities will look into this.”

 

Sustainability: this is what THUAS has done so far

– We have signed the Multiannual Agreement on Energy Efficiency and have entered agreements with the government about our energy saving and CO2 reduction.
– Solar panels on the Delft campus roof (a study is underway about the possibilities for installing solar panels at the main campus).
– Installed revolving doors at the main campus (reduced heat loss).
– Installed energy-efficient air handling units with thermal wheels.
– Disposal of own data servers and use of cloud solutions (energy saving)
– Heat and cold storage at Delft campus, Zuiderpark Sports Campus and main campus
– Heating network (main campus)
– Purchase of green electricity and green gas.