Sustainable development at Aalto University in 2018
In 2018, the Aalto Sustainability Hub began its operations. The objectives of the network are to bring researchers from different fields together, facilitate the inclusion of sustainable development perspectives in teaching and to promote sustainable development as an extensive part of the university’s operation.
Teaching and research
- Aalto University's objective is to integrate sustainability into all teaching and learning. One of Aalto University’s long-term objectives is to integrate sustainable development perspectives into all teaching activities. This objective has been approached in various ways: integration of basic concepts, partial expertise and specialisation in specific areas.
- Sustainable development was the topic of 12% of all publications at Aalto in 2018.
- In addition, numerous research projects are linked to sustainability via e.g. the utilisation of research results.
Publications related to sustainable development 2018
Number and share of all publications
- Through its research and education, the university aims to respond to the big challenges society is facing, such as climate change and the growing inequality in society.
- Aalto University is an active member in a number of sustainable development university networks in Finland and abroad.
- In February 2018, Aalto University signed the international Sustainable Development Goals Accord for universities. By signing the document, Aalto became the first Finnish university to commit to advancing the UN goals for sustainable development as part of its teaching, research, innovation activities, and campus development.
- Operation of the UN’s first Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL) was launched at Aalto’s A Grid startup community in Otaniemi. The Lab’s operation focuses on circular economy, education, peace, safety and health. UNTIL labs form a global forum in which the UN, private sector operators, universities and civil society representatives can solve problems with the support of start-up companies.
Environmental impact of campuses
- Campuses operating in line with the principles of sustainable development are a key part of the university's campus strategy. The most significant environmental impacts of the campuses are related to energy consumption, transport and recycling.
- Investing in energy efficiency is an important part of campus planning. The use of geothermal heat and solar power is being incrementally expanded on a continual basis.
- The School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s building, Väre, was inaugurated in September 2018, and the shopping centre A Bloc, which was opened in the same block, was bustling with activity right from the start. The aim set for the Väre is to achieve energy class A, and the building’s heating system uses district heating only for the share of domestic water. The building has 90% self-sufficiency in heating and cooling, and the solar panels installed on its roof cover part of its energy requirements.
- Aalto University’s heat and power consumption have decreased within the past five years, but water consumption has increased slightly. The share of renewable energy production increased by 2.5% out of total consumption in 2018. The volume of greenhouse gas emissions has kept declining. In addition to maintaining a high recycling rate, the university aims to decrease the generation of waste.
Specific consumption of electricity and heat
Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (kWh/brm²)
Specific consumption of water
Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (l/brm²)