“Will it help us in the sustainability rankings?”

Last week the TU Delft Sustainability Community hosted a lunch lecture on how sustainable the TU Delft campus is. After all, the university talks the talk, but do they walk the walk?

From the data presented by Industrial Ecology student Siebe Trompert it became clear that the TU Delft has a long way to go in improving its practices in energy use, emissions, and building occupancy (1/3rd of buildings are vacant but still heated!?), while water usage on the other hand scored pretty high. There were a bunch of 5’s, 6’s and one 7 in there, but of the eight different themes that were scored, none were overwhelmingly spectacular. The framework developed by Siebe and his colleagues to gather and frame the data into scores from 1-10 seemed pretty solid, but they still need more data to complete the overview. And of course they want it to be reproduced every year, so we can see if and how the TU Delft improves itself. (Please add to the data yourself by filling out their student+staff survey).

After Siebe’s presentation, Mart Lubben, chairman of the national student sustainability organization ‘Studenten voor Morgen explained the “Sustainabul” ranking system through which Dutch universities are scored on their sustainability. Out of around 20 participating universities, ours scored very near the bottom. Ouch.

Luckily, this wake up call did not fall on deaf ears.

Two elderly gentlemen were present in the crowd and said they were heading up a new outfit at the TU Delft that will monitor and introduce new measures for making the campus more sustainable (Sustainability Manager?). Great move!
It just seems a shame that their first question to the speakers was, “Will following this framework for sustainability scores get us higher up in the ranking?” Asking whether the framework will actually make the university more sustainable in its practices would seem like a less cynical way of going about improving the university. But those are the signs of the times.


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