Promising signs for AU’s green transition

In recent years, Aarhus University has successfully launched a number of initiatives to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and encourage green development. AU’s chair of the board, Connie Hedegaard, is pleased with the promising signs and underlines the importance of continuing with this important task.

Aarhus University is well underway with its green transition. At this week’s meeting of the university board, a status report was given on the university’s climate efforts and results based on climate action plans and the greenhouse gas emissions report. Chair of the board Connie Hedegaard is pleased with the results: 

“The university has focused on the green agenda in recent years – both on a structural and a more operational level, and our efforts are now beginning to show results. It’s really good to see these positive outcomes. It means that students and employees have welcomed our green initiatives and that people have generally engaged in the question of how we can all contribute to reducing AU’s climate footprint.”

Corona-related fall in emissions

AU’s latest greenhouse gas emissions report shows that the university’s CO2 emissions fell by 44% from 2019 to 2020. This extraordinary decline can be explained, among other things, by the coronavirus lockdown and reduced travel activity, and Connie Hedegaard thus anticipates that it will be difficult to maintain such a rate of reduction once the level of activity on campus and in society more generally resumes.

“However, I am convinced that we now have the right mindset and that, by drawing on the positive experiences we gained during lockdown, when we reduced our travel activity and held more virtual meetings, we have become very aware of when and how much we travel. With the university’s climate target and society’s climate ambitions, we do not have the option of returning to our pre-pandemic travel habits,” she says.

34 new green activities in 2022

In 2022, the university’s green transition will be helped by 34 CO2-reducing activities that will be implemented across AU. These include a number of energy-saving initiatives in AU’s buildings, such as an energy optimisation of the ventilation system at Nat and Tech as well as a Living Lab project that focuses on sustainable renovation in the University City. In addition, the university will release an updated version of its travel policy with more climate-friendly guidelines, and it will offer a training course to staff and students so that they can learn more about climate issues and how they as individuals can contribute to AU’s green transition.

The university is also continuing to work on many other activities launched in 2021. In the coming year, the plan is to involve more experts, committees and boards for students and staff to ensure that AU reaches its climate strategy target of a CO2 reduction of 35% by 2025 and of 57% by 2030 (compared with 2018). 

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