Association of College & University
Housing Officers – International
South African Chapter

More info on the Green Campus Initiative

The next Annual Green Campuses Initiative Conference will take place : July 28th-30th, 2017 at the University of Western Cape, Bellville

GCI Focus Areas
Although the first round of intervention focused mainly on educational awareness and behaviour change, AGCI have identified other key areas of intervention that are important for the successful implementation of a sustainable Green Campus programs and projects. By definition, a green campus is a higher education community that is improving energy efficiency, conserving resources and enhancing environmental quality by educating for sustainability and creating healthy living and learning environments. 
Awareness and Behaviour Change Programs: 
The first phase of the AGCI intervention was to focus on the creation of educational awareness amongst campus communities about climate change and capacity building on identifying the practical green campus programs that can be initiated at campus level to mitigate against the impact of climate change. While changes to campus infrastructure are needed to conserve energy and other resources, human behaviour is a potentially large contributor to a smaller campus
footprint. Students across the country are actively engaged in teaching and influencing members of the campus community about how individual behaviours contribute to climate change—and about the opportunity for making a positive difference collectively. Through various outreach campaigns and pledges, students are targeting behaviours ranging from waste reduction to energy conservation.
Energy Conservation and Efficiency: 
With rising fuel and electricity costs, schools are increasingly turning to conservation and efficiency measures to save energy and much-needed money. While many campus energy managers have made huge strides in this realm, students often have played a part in helping identify new places to save energy. Many have assisted facilities staff with energy audits and greenhouse gas inventories and have helped investigate the availability and costs of alternative practices and technologies. Examples of the many possible actions in this area include lightbulb swaps, heat recovery projects and energy metering and feedback systems.
Renewable Energy: 
Campuses everywhere are making significant contributions to the renewable energy field, with students often providing much of the research in areas of policy, promotion and demonstration of real-time projects. The emissions-reduction payoff for installing renewables makes them especially valuable. By definition, technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass are carbon neutral, and thus they hold the promise of making real cuts in the campus carbon footprint. There is a need to invest in the installation of wind, solar or geothermal power. Encourage the use of bio-fuels. Purchase clean energy from power utilities. Purchase offsets (which decrease steadily as campus “footprints” decreases). 
Food and Dining: 
The sustainable foods movement resonates deeply in many student communities. From urging campus dining services to serve more local and organic foods to actually growing it themselves, students are helping change the way campuses eat, and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the many steps required to bring food from field to plate.
Green Buildings: 
“Green” is one of the most widely used terms associated with campus sustainability projects. Generally meaning environmentally responsible or environmentally  preferred, green building is an area where campuses have the opportunity to invest their funds to work in ways that help promote a clean, sustainable economy. Colleges and universities need to be encouraged towards implementing policies for healthy, energy efficient,  high-performing buildings. 
Green Purchasing: 
Buy local, buy recycle, buy sustainable goods. Colleges and  universities are major purchasers of goods and services, which include custodial chemicals, food service supplies, office products and furnishings, bookstore merchandise, laboratory and research equipment, fleet vehicles, maintenance supplies and much more. In all of these areas, greener options are becoming more widely available as well as more cost-competitive. Copy paper with 100% post-consumer recycled content, for example, is now on par with virgin paper in both quality and cost. While individual purchases can be made with sustainability in mind, the preferred approach is for green products and purchasing to be required across the board in campus policies and contracts. 
Habitat Management and Restoration: 
Students can play an important role by helping protect, restore and manage both the landscaped and natural environments on and near their campuses—places that, among many other benefits, offer homes and shelter for wildlife. It will cover sustainable landscaping, natural areas management and restoration, green roofs, stormwater management, campus farms and local foods, and carbon sequestration.
Recycling and Waste Reduction: 
Although solid waste contributes only a minor part of a campus carbon footprint (only a few percent of the total), waste reduction and
recycling can help reduce those emissions, plus they save energy and can even increase carbon sequestration by leaving forest resources intact. Students have been key players in launching recycling and composting programs across the country for the past three decades; and they continue to help waste management staff find ways to improve, such as hosting zero waste events, move-out collections, and by going “trayless” in dining halls. Students are also asking campuses to remember the first of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) by reducing waste at the source, as in the case of water bottles, coffee cups and other disposable items.
Water Conservation: 
As the daily news brings more frequent stories of droughts and water shortages from around the world, the wise management of potable water is likely to become a growing issue for campuses too—especially in the more arid parts of the country. Recognizing this inevitable future, students are taking action on water conservation initiatives in a wide range of areas, including some of the ways described above such as in Eco-Reps
programs, residence hall competitions and behavior-change outreach. Perhaps most important, students are helping to influence and create sustainability-minded campus water policies and studies—and doing the legwork to collect data and identify key places where water can be conserved.
Student Residences: 
While students attend college and university primarily for the coursework, those who live on campus spend more time in their living quarters than they do in classrooms. These student residences, not surprisingly, have become learning laboratories for many campus sustainability actions; often all it takes is one or two motivated students with a bright idea to get something started. From peer outreach programs to inter-hall energy competitions to model dorm rooms, students have been engaging with one another and with campus faculty and staff to reduce waste, conserve resources and spread the word about sustainability. And beyond improving the performance of traditional dorm buildings, students have also been active in creating.
Single-occupant vehicles are a notoriously wasteful means of transportation in terms of pollution per passenger mile. Especially at commuter schools, the daily drive of students and staff can be among the largest sources of campus greenhouse gas emissions, which also has significant implications for community health and safety. In response, students have initiated many actions to help lessen the impact of transportation,
including mass transit, alternative fuels and bicycle programs. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, these alternatives also cut campus transportation management costs.
Investment in Climate Solutions: 
Dedicate funds for Green Campus initiatives. Use endowment to support climate innovation, discourage negative impacts.
Research and Development: 
Invest in new energy technologies, new systems design and adaptation measurers. 
Teach Climate Science: 
Teach climate change science, develop climate change policy and educate the campus community. Educate the campus community about climate change solutions. 
Smart Partnerships to Share Climate Change Expertise: 
Create partnerships with campus communities and share climate expertise.

ACUHO-I is committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in all its
policies, practices, and opportunities afforded to members and staff.