Living, learning and working in a special place. The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, a campus of the Trier University of Applied Sciences, is one of the special university campuses in Germany and offers students an interdisciplinary course of study at a unique "Zero Emission University", which, in addition to an ecological construction concept, also has a CO2-neutral energy and heat supply and state-of-the-art building and plant technology. Founded in 1996, the campus is one of the most successful conversion projects in Rhineland-Palatinate. A former reserve military hospital of the American armed forces was transformed into a university campus with exemplary environmental technology.
With the focus on "environment", students are offered a future-oriented education in the two fields of environmental planning/technology and environmental economy/law. The concept of environment and sustainability forms the thematic link within the study programmes and promotes intensive and interdisciplinary cooperation between individual disciplines. The networking of ecological, economic, technical and social concerns enables students to analyse and optimise complex systems in their later work. In the practice-oriented education, students have the opportunity to test their theoretical knowledge in regional companies as well as in one of the numerous research institutions at the Environmental Campus. The aim of the training at the Umwelt-Campus is to be close to practical experience and at the same time to combine the studies with innovative and research-related topics. The campus is internationally networked, with the strength of strong, regional roots. The students come from all over the world to Hoppstädten-Weiersbach - due to the groundbreaking and future-oriented education.
All people on campus are united by a special "we-feeling" that inspires teaching, learning and working. Over 750 dormitory places directly on the campus make the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld an academic village in which everybody knows each other. The campus thus offers a unique workplace for different areas such as research, teaching, administration and technology.
Environmental Campus Birkenfeld is a model for sustainability
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Commission for UNESCO have honoured the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld as an outstanding educational initiative for sustainable development.
The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld was honoured in the third round of the ESD-Learningort award with the award at Level 3, the highest level to be achieved. The jury sums up its decision as follows: "Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld manages to implement ESD in a structurally effective way in its courses with a focus on "Environment and Sustainability". The more than 2,500 students benefit from a particularly meaningful range of participation and design opportunities. They participate in a variety of ways in the development of the university, are systematically integrated into decision-making processes and can thus exert targeted influence."
In the current GreenMetric Ranking, the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld was the only Campus in Germany to establish itself among the top ten and finished in an excellent 10th place in the world ranking (2016: rank 21). Wageningen University in the Netherlands has the greenest campus worldwide, followed by the University of Nottingham in England and the University of California, Davis in the USA. Freie Universität Berlin took 21st place.
In the category "Energy and Climate," the Environmental Campus in Germany continues to lead the field and, as in 2016, is awarded a well-deserved first place. This category has the highest individual weight in the ranking and evaluates aspects such as energy efficiency, power consumption, building energy standards, use of renewable energy, and reduction of CO2 emissions.
Further information on the GreenMetric ranking can be found at: http://greenmetric.ui.ac.id/overall-ranking-2017/
Award for sustainable campus design
The ISCN network, the world's largest sustainability forum for colleges and universities, organises an annual conference to develop and promote the sustainability of university locations. In addition to the exchange of best practice through exemplary presentations and ideas from the participating universities, a Sustainability Prize is also awarded annually. The prize is awarded to universities that distinguish themselves through outstanding planning, design or teaching projects in the field of sustainability.
In 2017, the conference took place at the University of British Columbia UBC in Vancouver, Canada. Participants from 78 universities in a total of 31 countries exchanged ideas with each other.
The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld received the award for its zero-emission concept in the category "Campus Planning and Management Systems".
Awards in the other categories "Building and Innovative Infrastructure", "Innovative Collaboration" and "Student Leadership" went to the University of Singapore, Swarthmore College in Philadelphia/USA and the University of Chiba in Japan.
For the seventh time, Universitas Indonesia has carried out a worldwide sustainability ranking of universities. The results are based on an online questionnaire and evaluate the commitment of Universitas Indonesia to sustainability and environmental protection. The ranking is divided into six categories, which are weighted differently: Infrastructure (15%), energy and climate protection (21%), waste management (18%), water (10%), mobility (18%) and education (18%).
The results were published on 29.12.2016 (http://greenmetric.ui.ac.id). 516 universities from 74 countries took part in the latest ranking and the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld was able to establish itself as the second best German university in the overall ranking on an excellent 21st place among the greenest universities worldwide. From Germany, only Freie Universität Berlin ranked 20th.
Not only the overall result is excellent, but also the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld took first place in the category "Energy and Climate Protection"! This category has the highest individual weight in the ranking and evaluates aspects such as energy efficiency, power consumption, building energy standards, use of renewable energy, and reduction of CO2 emissions.
In 1993, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate made the forward-looking decision to establish the Environmental Campus in Birkenfeld/Neubrücke as a new location for the Trier University of Applied Sciences. Until 1992, the property of the Umwelt-Campus had served as a site for a reserve military hospital of the American armed forces in Germany. The campus model is based on the "residential campus" known from American universities, which combines living, learning and working in one place.
In 1994, the conversion work began, during which modern seminar rooms, lecture halls, laboratories and a comprehensive infrastructure were gradually created.
The success was not long in coming: instead of the expected 175 students, more than 550 students stormed the campus when it opened in 1996. The founding professors Prof. Dr. Eulenstein, Prof. Dr. Köhler and Prof. Dr. Bronder rightly believed that the campus would soon become something "special".
A special feature of the campus established itself very early on: the so-called "Flying Days". These introductory events for freshmen are held regularly to this day and make a major contribution to a flying start to your studies.
In 1998, the next construction phase began with the construction of the new central building, which was handed over in 2001 as the new central building and still bears the name today.
From the very beginning it became clear that communication is our strength. And we are constantly expanding it. Opened in 2012, the communication building offers generous space for a campus cinema and countless events - in other words, for everything our students can think of to have fun. The building concept blends seamlessly into the existing structure of the campus grounds. On the one hand, it is part of the entrance axis of the central new building, which houses most of the lecture rooms and the library. On the other hand, there is also a connection between the "Learning, Working and Living" areas on campus.
The newest building is the sports hall, which was inaugurated in January 2015 and has been in use since the winter semester 2016/2017. The Zweifeldhalle is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and is 50 metres long and 35 metres wide. The building is equipped with a photovoltaic system. Rainwater, grey water and yellow water are also separated and can be used for further purposes. The ultra-modern air-conditioning technology also serves the university for study purposes.
The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld is adequately fulfilling its pioneering role as the only "zero-emission campus" in Europe with the publication of the sustainability report. The Environmental Campus Birkenfeld thus strengthens its unique position in the German higher education landscape and encourages other universities to face up to their responsibility with regard to the three main aspects of sustainability "ecology, economy and social affairs" and, to this end, to make their teaching and research assignments more sustainable.
In addition to social topics such as the "Family-friendly University" and the promotion of gender equality, the Sustainability Report also deals with cultural topics such as the Green Hill Festival, which is known far beyond the borders of the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. Vivid examples provide insights into how fundamental aspects of sustainability are anchored in everyday university life and how they are put into practice.
Special thanks go to all those involved, especially the public relations work, the building services around Mr. Andreas Doll, the photographers of the pictures, the assistants of the professors, as well as the scientific staff, who always support us with words and deeds.
For questions and suggestions regarding the Sustainability Report, please contact Prof. Dr. Klaus Helling.
With the general aim of increasingly strengthening the sustainability factor at the university, the Green Office acts as a network point for students, teachers, employees and external stakeholders. The implementation takes place through bundled knowledge management and as an initiator of actions that are organized in the sense of sustainability. This is achieved through anchoring in the university and motivated and committed participants.
Since the winter semester 2017/18, various projects on sustainable topics have been implemented:
We are a small and young team of students and employees. We are always open for creative, committed people who want to help us realize our vision! During the lecture period there are regular meetings with the structure group, the project committers and all interested parties. Current information and dates are published promptly on the environmental pinboard between the lecture rooms ZN003 and ZN005.
The technical facilities that make the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld a unique campus are presented and explained in the technology brochure. Answers will be given, for example, on how the campus uses solar energy or where the campus gets its heat from.
All facilities and measures are aimed at implementing the Green Campus concept and zero-emission concept. Students and visitors should see how sustainability works. The measures on campus range from simple motion detectors to a sophisticated daylight system and from simple rainwater utilisation to waterless urinals. All around, all measures and facilities ensure that the campus can cover its basic energy supply 100% from renewable energies. The communication building, built in 2012, is a zero-emission building and therefore a special highlight, as this building regulates heat and air independently and thus serves as a technological showpiece.