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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Transport & Construction | Universidad Iberoamericana

Building blocks to mitigation

Universidad Iberoamericana

Universidad Iberoamericana campus

Aware of the responsibility of the construction industry in addressing climate change, in 2005, the Department of Architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana (Ibero), in México City adapted its remit on all fronts so it now drives home the need for young and mid-professionals to be both responsible and innovative designers.

This is being achieved by the steps below.

  1. Integrating the new philosophy into undergraduate architecture and graduate urban development study programmes;

  2. Preparing full-time and part-time teachers on integrated design process through over 30 scholarships to conferences, seminars and workshops to date;

  3. Offering continuous education on sustainability to mid- professionals through in-house certificate courses on Sustainable Design and Construction, Design of Sustainable Communities, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) workshops, Biomimicry workshops, from which over 500 students have emerged;

  4. Creating and strengthening ties between Ibero and other national and international higher education institutions and organisations committed to sustainability. This includes the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction (as Associate University since 2006, Ibero represents Latin America in sustainable construction projects); the Biomimicry Institute from Montana (as part of their Affiliate Programme since 2009); as members of the US Green Building Council since 2007 and of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education since 2008;

  5. Registering a line of research of Sustainable Design with the on-going project on Green Materials in México: a Guide to Sustainable Urban Development; and,

  6. Editing text books and classroom materials for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as mid-professionals. The book Sustainable Design and Construction will be released shortly.

The Department of Architecture, together with the Ibero Environmental Programme, gave rise to the Ibero Green Campus Initiative, which incorporates a sustainability approach to all significant functions of the University: teaching, research and knowledge propagation, as well as campus management. All the university’s activities, processes and decisions consider natural resource conservation, environmental protection and quality of life improvement.

In its first stage, the project aims to integrate the sustainability criteria in the administration of the México City campus through an environmental management system (EMS). In 2009, the Dean of the University presented a Three-Year Action Plan, which includes 45 actions in ten strategic areas: water; energy; purchasing; buildings; open spaces; solid waste; toxic materials and waste; campus safety; food and cafeterias; and transportation and parking facilities. This Action Plan was the result of diagnostics compiled by a collaborative group of full-time academic specialists, students and administrative personnel.

Among the most relevant actions achieved to date is the retrofitting of all lamps and light and movement sensors in classrooms, laboratories and administrative areas with which the University reduced its energy consumption by 18.6%, avoiding the emission of 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Furthermore, 60 solar energy collectors were installed in the gym and sports areas, which will allow a savings of 20,000 litres of LP gas a year, avoiding the emission of approximately 31 tonnes of CO2.

As part of its Green Campus Initiative, the University has also edited a better practices construction manual for major renovations on campus. It has constructed a roof-top hydroponia green house for growing vegetables that is integrating special needs students as a sustainability learning process. The campus also has its own potable water treatment plant so students and staff no longer need to buy bottles of water.

Universidad Iberoamericana México City is determined to foster an interdisciplinary and collaborative work place committed to reducing its ecological footprint now and in the future.

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Universidad Iberoamericana

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