The University has always been swift to encourage environment-friendly attitudes, by making its students and staff aware of the issue by the use of ‘good practice’: green and environment-friendly projects and study assignments that aim to reduce our environmental footprint – the impact that our human activities have on the balance of the earth’s ecosystem.
The very fact that Unicusano University is an on-line institution means that it was ‘born green’ by nature; all the lessons take place on line in digital form, and the provision of interactive video lessons, slides, tests and e-books mean that students can study without the need for materials printed on paper. This eco-friendly set-up means a significant reduction in the use of paper, as well as a reduced consumption of water and energy used in producing and distributing paper materials, and in this way Unicusano id first and foremost a green, environment-friendly university.
Reduction of the consumptions of the paper
We apply this policy of reduction in the consumption of paper on campus by using only the latest models of photocopiers with built-in scanners, so that documents can be sent directly to the pc’s concerned without the need for paper copies.
This best practice, alongside the recent creation of the Edicusano publishing house, encourages a reduction in paper waste, thanks to an increased use of digital materials.
Our organic canteen
Even our canteen on campus makes its contribution to our commitment to sustainability. As far as the food itself is concerned, the university applies its “green philosophy” by providing its “green canteen” with many 100% bio-products “at zero kilometres”; in fact, at a short distance from the campus is our “university market-garden“, where we grow our own vegetables organically; these are served in the canteen to students and staff. By supplying our own fresh, seasonal products direct from the vegetable garden to the table, we cut down on the pollution involved in transporting and packaging.
The canteen is also equipped with hygienic dispensers of mineral water which not only make no alterations to the natural properties of the water, but also reduce the impact on the environmentproduced by the use of plastic bottles. Here again Unicusano is following a policy of ecological responsibility; the marked reduction in the use of plastic bottles by using manually-operated water dispensers avoids wastage due to production, transport and disposal.
Unicusano has also made great strides in the field of environment-friendly transportation which go far beyond the already widespread use of ideas such as car-pooling. Our green university provides its students with a free shuttle-bus service between the campus and the nearest bus and underground stations, which reduces the need to use their own cars or motorcycles; this in turn saves money on transport and cuts down on car exhaust pollution, in keeping with our Green Philosophy.
Some of our on-going environmental projects
1. The Hi-Quad project
Niccolò Cusano University has developed a project of electric powertrains, in partnership with other investors in the research and development of new sustainable technologies.This is a new high-tech environment-friendly road vehicle that can cover short distances at minimum expense and minimum environmental impact: the Hi-Quad. It is designed to be a roadworthy four-wheel drive vehicle with a low-consumption low- emission hybrid engine, build with new materials, comfortable and in compliance with all road safety standards.
2. The Carbon footprint calculator project
Another area of research involves the reduction of CO² emissions, and the university has set up the project of a carbon footprint calculator to measure the levels of CO² produced during a normal working day on campus, such as the use of electricity, transportation, meals provision and the purchasing of goods and services that produce CO² emissions.
3. Study groups
In tandem with the development of a carbon footprint calculator on the part of our Department of Engineering, Unicusano is setting up study groups to research ecological solutions for reducing the impact on the environment of all the factors so far identified, and to make a detailed analysis on energy saving and efficiency.
An education in sustainability: a course in Environmental Law
In order to encourage studies in the field of ecology and sustainability, Unicusano has given its students the possibility of taking exams in this area by offering a course in Environmental Law within the degree courses in Law and in Economics. The topic of environmental sustainability is supplemented by a series of national and international study projects carried out by our researchers. This work is of a standard worthy of being published in major international journals such as the Fordham Urban Law Journal and legal research databases like HeinOnline, in collaboration with New York University.
Sources of alternative energy
As far as regards medium- and long-term environmental programmes, Unicusano intends to focus on investment in sources of alternative energy based on natural resources, thus reducing recourse to the use of fossil fuels which cause CO2 emissions dangerous to both people and to the ecosystem. Thanks to the rapidly developing field of eco-friendly technologies, one of the principal projects under study is that of solar power; this an energy source that can be efficiently transformed into thermal energy in a completely environment-friendly fashion.
Also with the aim of reducing Energy consumption the University is gradually replacing the existing lighting system in the corridors and classrooms campus with cutting-edge Led lighting, which will involve less consumption of electricity and thus a reduction in its environmental impact.
The personal computers we use daily consume an enormous amount of electricity, polluting the planet when they are fully in use and even when they are switched off. A normal computer on average uses about 300 Watts, or 0.3 KW, which, multiplied by the hours in one day, the days in a year and the average cost of 0.25 euro per KWh, means that it consumes on average 900 KWh a year, for an annual cost of around 225 euro. Here at Unicusano we are well aware of the problem, and we have taken the decision to replace our personal computers with others that have a low energy consumption. These new computers have operating systems that are easily updated, thus avoiding their replacement after only a few years in use. The MSI micro PC’s have a wattage of only 40W and consume only 120 KWh a year, with an annual cost of 30 euro. In this way, the university can cut down on its energy consumption and thus not only gain a substantial saving in economic terms, but also avoid damaging the environment.
Also with the aim of reducing Energy consumption, the University is gradually replacing the existing lighting system in the corridors and classrooms Campus with cutting-edge Led lighting, which will involve less consumption of electricity and thus a reduction in its environmental impact.