EDHEC’s large Lille campus is renowned for its 8.5 hectares of wooded parkland and its modern architecture married with early twentieth-century buildings. It is a campus that combines research, learning, sports facilities, and residences. As part of EDHEC’s Green Future for Real Estate course, MSc in Global & Sustainable Business students were asked to come up with ways to enhance the student experience and decrease the campus’s carbon footprint. It was a class project that changed their perspective on the entire school!
Written on 22 January 2020.
All around the world, green buildings are becoming the norm. According to digital publications platform the Environment and Society Portal, “green building refers to practices that make buildings that are sustainable and resource-efficient throughout their life-cycles, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and destruction. ‘Green buildings’ are designed to reduce the overall impact on human health and the natural environment.” With this in mind, the students came up with numerous ideas to improve both the school’s footprint and their EDHEC experience.
Using local food providers, artificial intelligence-managed heating and lighting, motion sensors, additional plants and greenery across campus to boost energy efficiency and air purification, rainwater harvesting tanks, solar panels, environmentally friendly school merchandise and promo products, and reusable food and drink containers, composting, electricity-producing static exercise bikes, a power-generating carpark surface and geothermal power were among the suggestions. The MSc in Global & Sustainable Business students had to identify health-related and environmental issues, discuss them with users (students and staff members), learn about the topic, come up with an idea, cost it and set out a timeline for implementing it.
“It is essential to think about green solutions, especially in public spaces, due to stricter regulations and customer expectations,” says participant Anna Elleni. “It is also important to understand the changes that may occur in future before starting a project, as real-estate investments are long-term investments.”
Using methodology learnt in the classroom, the Italian student and her team conducted a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) sustainability evaluation to assess the potential impact of their chosen solution on natural resources and the environment before submitting their proposals for the school’s services building.
“The broad value approach we followed in the class is aimed at creating awareness,” says Professor Leo Hendriks. “It starts with considering day-to day experiences the students have. These insights can easily lead to improvements and they also provide a base for thinking about more profound interventions to achieve utmost sustainability. For every building on the campus a timeline is developed with interventions that can be done tomorrow, on short terms and on longer terms. Also a conceptual cost indication is delivered and first steps for a BREEAM benchmark are taken. I hope the results of this class will contribute to a long term vision on green real estate on the EDHEC campus.”
While digitalisation and artificial intelligence have the potential to better manage the heating and lighting of EDHEC’s buildings, students also saw them as a means to enhance their day-to-day experience. For example, they suggested using digital maps to find their way around campus, apps to pre-order meals and avoid food waste or to book rooms for individual or group work, and tablets to pay for lunch.
“These propositions help me in my job,” says Anne Zuccarelli, Associate Dean, Educational Experience & Operations. “Some ideas are very easy to implement and not so costly. Sustainability and students’ experience are key for us. We are developing a co-construction approach with our students, involving them in the thinking and design of our main projects.”