Leading a change towards a sustainable economic and energy model at ESCI-UPF

ESCI-UPF strengthens its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond required by legislation through the Catalan Government’s Voluntary Agreement Programme.

The school and its UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change are one of the 154 institutions recognised as an adhered organisation for leadership on climate change action.

Voluntary Agreement Programme

Voluntary Agreement Programme for the reduction of GHG emissions.

The Catalan Office for Climate Change has published the 2017 annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory of ESCI-UPF and the measures proposed and implemented in 2018 to reduce its emissions beyond required by legislation, within the framework of the Voluntary Agreement Programme for the reduction of GHG emissions signed by the institution in 2012. The signing of this agreement was done in the Catalan Government facilities and involved Nacho Dualde, managing director at ESCI-UPF, and Pere Fullana i Palmer, director at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change. This tool creates the technical and institutional framework to assist the 154 organisations, groups and entities recognised for leadership on climate change action, including ESCI-UPF. By the agreement, “we commit to monitor our GHG emissions annually and establish measures to reduce them,” stresses Fullana i Palmer.

Through the Voluntary Agreement Programme, the Catalan Office for Climate Change (OCCC, in its catalan acronym) fosters and supports the establishment of voluntary agreements with organisations, companies, entities and groups in Catalonia so that they can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and its dependency on fossil fuels, and diminish its exposure to related price increases. This programme aims to become a key instrument in the series of public policies for climate change mitigation and provide a rigorous, credible and effective institutional response to the significant number of voluntary reduction and offsetting initiatives.

 

Implemented measures

The annual GHG emissions inventory of ESCI-UPF for 2017 takes into account emissions associated with electricity consumption and measures that the organisation considers to reduce emissions, among others. As shown in the inventory for 2016-2017, “electricity consumption has decreased by 1% despite the increase in the number of users. However, the electrical mix—CO2 emissions associated to the electricity generation that is consumed— has increased, which has led to an increase in GHG emissions of 26% in this period of time,” explains Jaume Albertí, leader of the Sustainable Construction and Energy Research Line at the Chair and responsible for calculating emissions. “Despite emissions increase, we are proud to have achieved our goal and reduced energy consumption through efficiency improvements in the areas we can control, which is not the case of the national electricity mix,” highlights Albertí.

The inventory also includes the proposal and implementation of the following measures, among others: the installation of natural light and presence sensors in common areas and the configuration of lighting set points to use natural lighting whenever possible for the development of the activities in a concrete area; and the installation of curtains aimed at reducing the overall energy consumption of buildings by lowering air-conditioning demand, reducing the greenhouse effect in the building.

According to Fullana i Palmer, “once again, the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF seeks to support and boost the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in our host institution with the goal to improve climate change mitigation actions, while sharing experiences and best practices.” The Chair started working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 to increase awareness of the great potential for collective action about this issue.

 

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