Copyright: Luca Kolenda. The illustration was created in collaboration with the Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V. (VCD, for the brochure "Nachhaltige Mobilität an Hochschulen".

Sustainable development – put into practice

The university follows a sustainability concept for its research, teaching and administration activities. The system of buildings on campus has been sustainable and eco-friendly right from the university’s foundation days in 1966. Its hilltop location provides views of fields, forests and the nearby lake. The close ties the campus has to its natural surroundings correspond to the university’s efforts to live in harmony with nature – from the very start.

Since the 1970s, for example, the water from Lake Constance has been used as a natural, energy-efficient and regenerative source of cooling for university facilities (e.g. KIM Basic Services, large equipment, the Library and lecture halls). Cold water from the lake is pumped to the university campus where it is used to cool university facilities and is afterwards returned to Lake Constance. Starting in the spring of 2021, the pipe system will be updated on campus – naturally with the goal of protecting the environment and following guidance from the respective public authorities. The new cooling water system will contain 1,500 metres of corrosion-resistant polyethylene pipes with a maximum flow of 700 cubic metres per hour. In upcoming years, the University of Konstanz will construct additional buildings on campus. The cooling needs of these buildings will also be satisfied by this water cooling system.

Another sustainable technical system is the university’s block heat and power plant. The block heat and power plant, along with the photovoltaic systems installed in 2019 on the university’s rooftops mean that the university leaves an environmentally-friendly CO2 footprint. The continued installation of additional solar energy systems will decrease this footprint even further. In March of 2019, a total of 1,216 solar modules covering almost 2,000 square metres was installed on eight rooftops at the university.

water pipe for renewable cooling system

All in all, over a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018, the university’s annual carbon emissions dropped from 20,640 tons to 6,331 tons.
Tasso Pick, responsible for energy management in the University of Konstanz’s Facility Management team