Utrecht Science Park
Utrecht, The Netherlands. 50.000 students, 20.000 employees, older buildings (oldest from 1968), next to University it also houses a large technical college hospital, botanical garden and great number of R&D institutes and companies. Some central facilities, but ample opportunities for further integration of functions. Utrecht University is owner of the land and most of the buildings, yet many strategic decisions are being addressed collectively with representatives of all users.
Sustainability strategy outline
Utrecht University and Utrecht Science Park share sustainability as a key overarching theme, both in its corporate management strategy as in its academic curriculum. Older building are being replaced by more efficient ones, providing opportunities for individual innovations and comprehensive system innovations at supra-building level. Water and energy are highlighted as a priority domain. The university has ambitious goals to reach sustainability targets. Functionality of the new situation is paramount, decisions and procurement are based on thorough understanding of underlying business cases. The campus cannot be converted into an experiment, yet there will be ample opportunity for science to learn and contribute to the process of achieving a more sustainable campus. Through its valorisation center and incubator local SME’s and start-ups will be motivated to benefit from and contribute to the process.
Innovations to be addressed
Water reuse & retention, energy saving, use of heat from waste water and cold from surface water and drinking water net will be integrated as a novel system innovation. Reuse of heat from data centers and computing facilities, improved heat and cold storage installations further complement closing of energy and water cycle . Monitoring and reporting of environmental performance will not only provide accurate and near real time status information, it will also bring about a mental turnaround of campus users.
Some older buildings will be refurbished, others will be rebuilt. The combined –staged- process will require an unprecedented business strategy, to be developed by all users. This novel business strategy, or system innovation will be the result of research carried out through the University in collaboration with other specialized users and external providers. Exchange of information and expertise with other university campuses will contribute to the robustness of the business case, but also to the visibility of sustainability ambitions of the University and campus.