True Green and Sustainable University Campuses? Toward a Clusters Approach

Sustainability Journal, 2016

23 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016

See all articles by Giulia Sonetti

Giulia Sonetti

Polytechnic University of Turin

Patrizia Lombardi

Polytechnic University of Turin

Lorenzo Chelleri

Gran Sasso Science Institute, GSSI Cities

Date Written: December 15, 2015

Abstract

Campus greening is often the first step universities take towards sustainability. However, the diffusion of sustainability reporting methodologies and rankings is still at an early stage, and is biased in mainly measuring energy efficiency indicators while omitting basic features enabling meaningful comparisons among centers or addressing social (users) aspects related to long term sustainability transitions. This paper aims to introduce a critical perspective on sustainability university frameworks through: (i) a review of current Campus Sustainability Assessments (CSAs); (ii) performing and comparing the results obtained from the application of two internationally recognized CSAs (namely, Green Metric and ISCN) to two case studies (the Politecnico di Torino, in Italy, and the Hokkaido University, In Japan) and, finally, (iii) proposing a new CSA approach that encompasses clusters of homogeneous campus typologies for meaningful comparisons and university rankings. The proposed clusters regard universities’ morphological structures (campuses nested within city centers versus outside of a city compact ones), climatic zones and functions. At the micro scale, the paper introduces the need for indicators beyond measuring pure energy efficiency, but which are attentive to local and societal constraints and provide long-term tracking of outcomes. This, better than a sheer record of sustainability priority actions, can help in building homogenous university case studies to find similar and scalable success strategies and practices, and also in self-monitoring progress toward achieving truly sustainable university campuses.

Keywords: university campus, sustainability assessment frameworks, energy indicators

JEL Classification: D12, Q20, Q41

Suggested Citation

Sonetti, Giulia and Lombardi, Patrizia and Chelleri, Lorenzo, True Green and Sustainable University Campuses? Toward a Clusters Approach (December 15, 2015). Sustainability Journal, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2718241

Giulia Sonetti (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Turin ( email )

Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
Torino, Torino 10129
Italy

Patrizia Lombardi

Polytechnic University of Turin ( email )

Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24
Torino, Torino 10129
Italy

Lorenzo Chelleri

Gran Sasso Science Institute, GSSI Cities ( email )

viale Francesco Crispi, 7
L'Aquila, 67100
Italy

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