Building projects have a direct impact on the environment. It is for this reason that Wageningen University & Research factors in sustainability in its new-build projects and in all matters concerning existing buildings. Sustainability is important not only during the construction phase, but also when buildings are delivered and are in use.

Campus = 70% climate neutral

Wageningen University & Research uses the GreenCalc+ method to calculate the sustainability of buildings. The target for new-builds and renovations is 215 but it is far exceeded in practice; for example, Orion scores 480, Forum scores 360, and Helix scores 520.

Our sustainability ambitions stretch beyond the building and embrace the interior as well. We make a conscious choice to re-use old furniture. General & Technical Support Services are applying the New World of Work philosophy in Actio and have managed to reduce the workplaces and square metres of office space to 70% and 80% respectively compared with the previous situation. In addition, far less paper is being used because people have upped the amount of work they do digitally. Optimal use can be made of daylight, along with natural ventilation and cooling provided the building is suitable.

Water consumption is being reduced in various ways on Wageningen Campus. In Gaia and Lumen, a ‘grey water’ circuit is in operation to cut down on the use of drinking-quality water in cases in which this is unnecessary. RIKILT has adapted the air-conditioning system, which is now using much less water than before, and water-saving taps have been fitted in the buildings. Water is pumped up in some places as an alternative to tap water. Centralisation to Wageningen Campus has raised the water efficiency. On the Annual Introduction Days and Sustainability Day, the Green Man helps to draw extra attention to drinking tap water (rather than bottled water) and to refilling bottles.

As education and research are becoming ever more concentrated on Wageningen Campus, we are determined to utilise space as efficiently as possible. We can report a 28% reduction in the number of square metres used, despite a steep rise in student numbers and staff.

Sustainability plays an equally important role on the terrain of Wageningen Campus. The wide, open central area, unlike the edges, is more reminiscent of a park, with trees planted in the grass and large artificial ponds. The area is composed of grass, water, and trees with open perspectives – a place where students and academic staff can meet. The design focused, amongst other things, on ecological green structures (hedgerows, green and ecological corridors), and on sustainable water management, which enables Wageningen’s historic city canals to be flushed clean. Biodiversity is another hot issue at Wageningen UR, so much so that it forms the basis of the Flora and Fauna policy on Wageningen Campus.

Wageningen Campus pursues an integrated approach to pest control, based on prevention combined with sustainability. In the past, chemicals were used to lure and kill pests. The Integrated Pest Management System (IPM) combats pests in a sustainable manner; the aim is to prevent nuisance by ensuring that buildings are well maintained and expert monitoring is in place to detect pests. At the start of 2013, more than 20 pest prevention workers were trained to recognise incipient and existing pest nuisance in and around buildings and to advise on ways of combating it.

In short, Wageningen University & Research is mindful of the needs of flora, fauna, and human beings on the campus. As a result, Wageningen Campus is 78% climate-neutral and one of the most sustainable knowledge campuses in the world.