Politecnico di Torino (logo)

Pilosyan, Heghine

Assessment of university campus sustainability through environmental indicators and their efficacy.

Rel. Patrizia Lombardi, Eleonora Perotto. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura per il progetto sostenibile, 2014


In the contemporary world the exploitation of the term “sustainability” and “sustainable” tends to become rather overwhelming and unjustified, which somehow reduces its relevance. As numerous researches are being conducted, various approaches and definitions emerge, which, however fair and realistic they be, are always a matter of competences and views of each researcher, the time in which the research was conducted, and the place. The first major question emerging is: how to understand whether the given object can be labeled as sustainable or not? The obvious answer is the search of a system of common evaluation criteria. These searches led to the creation of sustainability development assessment frameworks, consisted of indicators and indexes. And of course the quality of assessment depends on the quality of indicators. But not only the selection of indicators is a challenge, but also the issues linked to their weighting and aggregation, which is a mathematical process that considerably influences the final results.

Every intended use of structure has its own requirements and peculiarities, specific to the function it performs. Naturally, the criteria of “good” and “bad” among two different uses may be opposite one another. Hence, the very first thing to take into consideration when assessing any structure is its function. That is why it is vital to establish unambiguous and representative definition of sustainability for every single intended use and every single field involved in the operation of that specific use. One of such uses is the university campus. Being a relatively young filed of sustainable development studies, the reports are quite recent and new tools of assessment are being actively elaborated.

As the universities become larger, occupying a vaster area, the impact they have on the sustainable performance of the city in whole increases. Thus certain restrictions and rules should be set. It is clear that the major sense of assessment process is not the mere collection of data regarding the performance of any given university. And although, the selection of criteria is mainly a matter of location and time, again, certain common requirements can be set.

As in every assessment process the sustainability in higher educational institutions has to permit a temporal and inter-university (or, on a smaller scale, inter-campus) comparisons, to track the performance alterations, in order to establish realistic targets and consistent policies. As it has been lately evidenced by the almost failed experience of the target referred to as “20-20-20” (Lombardi and Trossero, 2013) the adopted policies are not always feasible and the expectations are often overestimated.

The task becomes even more responsible due to the fact that as a higher educational institution the university is the core of formation of the future society. It is the place where future professionals are being shaped as a member of the society, which has to be conscious about sustainable way of development. Since, the classical definition of sustainability is being based on “three pillars” - environmental, economical and social - a system of trade-offs among these three fields should be elaborated to meet the requirements for the development of each of them.

The major question set by the author at the initial phase of this thesis was: what can I do as a present and future architect?

Taking into consideration the competences gained during the years of studies, the personal experience as of a full-time student spending hours inside the university campus and the researches already conducted, the answer is: to study and to implement the environmental elements of assessment frameworks with the aim of understanding of major policies and their future implementation in the improvement of campuses’ performance.

This in-depth analyses will be accomplished through the case study in the section 3 conducted for Politecnico di Torino and Politecnico di Milano, implementing the UNI-metrics system, which stands for Value Metrics and Policies for a Sustainable University Campus. It is a Eli project financed by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Program within the Marie Curie Actions IRSES-lnternational Research Staff Exchange Scheme (Grant agreement number PIRSES-GA-2010-269161) and coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino. The other three higher education institutions participating in this project are Cambridge University, Free University in Amsterdam and Hokkaido University. In this way the cooperation of four institutions, which share the common concept of sustainable development, will lead to a more sustainable university community through the metric-based assessment with cross-institutional experience exchange and policy development for more efficient performance.

Relatori: Patrizia Lombardi, Eleonora Perotto
Soggetti: A Architettura > AO Progettazione
S Scienze e Scienze Applicate > SE Ecologia
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura per il progetto sostenibile
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3581

1. Introduction

1.1. The problem definition

1.2 Objectives

1.3. Methodology

1.4. Thesis structure

2. Approaches to the campuses’ sustainable development

2.1. Definition of sustainable campus

2.2. The Triple Helix Model approach

2.3. Campus sustainability assessment frameworks

2.3.1 CSAF - Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework

2.3.2. GASU - Graphical Assessment of Sustainability in Universities

2.3.3. STARS - Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System

2.3.4. UNI-metrics - Value Metrics and Policies for a Sustainable University Campus

2.3. Indicator selection criteria

2.4. Weighting and aggregation: to do or not to do

3. Case study. Application of UNI-Metrics

3.1. Politecnico di Torino

3.2. Politecnico di Milano

3.3. Questionnaire elaboration principles adopted

3.3.1. Questionnaire results for PoliTo

3.3.2. Questionnaire results for PoliMi

3.4. Indicators’ calculation

4 Discussion

4.1. Observations on indicators

4.2. Assessment criteria of indicators

5 Conclusions





Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 2012 STARS Technical Manual version 1.2 (available on http://www.aashe.org/files/documents/STARS/stars_1.2_technical_manual.pdf)

Bohringer, C., Jochem, P.E.R, 2007. Measuring the immeasurable—A survey of sustainability indices. Ecological Economics

Custance, J., Hillier, H., 1998. Statistical issues in developing indicators of sustainable development. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society

Ebert, U., Welsch, H., 2004. Meaningful environmental indices: a social choice approach. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

Fadzil,Z.F. ,Hashim, H.S., Che-Ani, A.I., and Aziz.,S., 2012. Developing a Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework for the National University of Malaysia. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology

Global Reporting Initiatives, 2002. Sustainability reporting guidelines. GRI; 2002 (available on http://www.epeat.net/documents/EPEATreferences/GRIguidelines.pdf)

International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment. Protocollo ITACA 2011 - Edifici Scolastici. Version September 2012

Lombardi, P., Trossero, E., 2013. Beyond energy efficiency in evaluating sustainable development in planning and the built environment. Internal higher education: strengths, weaknesses, and implications for practice and theory. Higher Education Policy Sustainability

Etzkowitz, H.,1993, The Triple Helix: A North American Innovation Environment, British Columbia, Canada

Etzkowitz, H. and Leydesdorff, L., 1995. The Triple Helix: University - Industry - Government Relations A Laboratory for Knowledge Based Economic Development, EASST Review

Etzkowitz, H., & Leydesdorff, L., 2000. The Dynamics of Innovation: From National Systems and ‘Mode 2’ to a Triple Helix of University-industry- Government Relations. Research Policy

Etzkowitz,H.&Zhou,C.,2006, Triple helix twins: innovation and sustainability, Science and Public Policy

Kozloff, A., Mostow, D., Deeter, 2013, A., Analysis of Student Behaviors Impacting Carbon Emissions Through Community Based Social Marketing Research, Non-thesis Undergraduate Student Research, Oberlin College

Kreuzwieser, J., Harren, F. J. M., Laarhoven, L.J. J., Boamfa, I., Lintel- Hekkert, S., Scheerer, U., Huglin, C., and Rennenberg, H., 2001, Acetaldehyde emission by the leaves of trees - correlation with physiological and environmental parameters. Physiologic Planetarium 114

Pezzey, J., 1992. Sustainable Development Concepts—An Economic Analysis. World Bank, Washington DC.

Ramachandran, N., 2000. Monitoring Sustainability: Indices and Techniques of Analysis. Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi.

Turner E., 2013, Envisioning the Carbon-Neutral Campus Planning for Reduced Campus Energy Consumption at St. Olaf College, Partial fulfillment of the Master of Science, St. Olaf College

UN-Water 2008, Tackling a global crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008 (available on http://esa.un.org/iys/docs/IYS_flagship_web_small. pdf)


Caserini, S., Scolieri, S., Perotto, E., La stima delle emissioni di C02 delle università: il caso del Politecnico di Milano, Energia e Ambiente oggi “014, in press

Cole, L., 2003. Assessing Sustainability on Canadian University Campuses: Development of a Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework. B.Sc dissertation. Canada: Royal Roads University

De Miranda, F., Gnecchi Ruscone, E., 1986. Structures of the enlargement of the Milan Faculty of Architecture, Costruzioni metalliche 38(4) (available on http://www.demiranda.it/doc/ampliamento_architettura_del_Po- litecnico_di_Milano.pdf)

Dunnett, N., Swanwick, C., Woolley, H., 2002. Improving Urban Parks, Play Areas and Green Spaces. London: University of Sheffield

Leary, Mark R. 1995. Behavioral Research Methods. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company

Lozano, R., Llobet, J., and Tideswell, G., 2013, Developing a more holistic university sustainability report: Experiences from the University of Leeds, Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education Institutions

Lynch, Kevin, The Image of the City, MIT Press, Cambridge MA 1960

Mazzarella, L., 2012, Building EQ e Continuous Commissioning su Edifici Universitari del Politecnico di Milano. Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Energia (available on http://www.campus-sostenibile.polimi.it/documents/10516/24758/allegato+BEQ+-+LM_01 .pdf)

Mele. C., Origini e formazione del Politecnico di Torino: dagli esordi alla sua istituzione T9 luglio 1906, il convegno nazionale di storia dell’ingegneria, Cuzolin, Napoli 2006

Politecnico di Milano, Il Politecnico di Milano nella storia italiana 1914- 1963, Milano-Bari, Cariplo-Laterza, 1988

Ponti, G., Contributo alla modernizzazione delle scuole di architettura, in Atti del collegio regionale lombardo architetti, 1959

Pugno, G.,M., 1959, Storia del Politecnico di Torino, Stamperia artistica nazionale, Torino 1959

Raguseo, P., 2013. La valutazione del distretto universitario urbano: servizi e integrazione con il contesto. Il caso studio del Politecnico di Torino.

MSc disertation. Italy: Politecnico di Torino

Scolier, S., 2011, Stima dell’emissioni di C02 delle università: il caso del Politecnico di Milano - Campus Città Studi, in the framework of project Campus Sostenibile - Città Studi, Politecnico di Milano

Yang Y., 2011, Looking for a Framework for Analyzing Eco-innovation Dynamics: A Triple Helix Model of Innovation Perspective. In 9th Annual Triple Helix Conference at Stanford University, Jul. 11-14, 2011

Zielenbach, E., 2012, Barriers to Adoption of Campus Sustainable Development Policies, Non-thesis Graduate Student Research, Seton Hall University

Internet sources

Car Pooling Polmi, Politecnico di Milano, viewed 11 December 2013 http://carpooling.polimi.it/

Certificazione Energetica Degli Edific (CENED), Finlombarda SpA, viewed 15 December 2013, http://www.cened.it/home

Città studi Campus Sostenibile project, 2011, Città studi Campus Sostenibile, viewed 10 January 2014, http://www.campus-sostenibile.polimi. it

Città studi Campus Sostenibile project: Tavolo Accessibility, updated September 2013, Città studi Campus Sostenibile, viewed 29 September 2013, http://www.campus-sostenibile.polimi.it/web/tavolo-accessibility/ welcome

Code of Federal Regualtions: Definitions, Carnell University Law School: Legal Information Institute, viewed 10 November 2013, http://www.law. cornell.edu/cfr/text/36/62.2

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), viewed 15 November 2013, https://www. globalreporting.org

Howard Perlman, The World’s Water: “Water, Water, Everywhere....”, 2013, The USGS Water Science School, viewed 5 September 2013, http:// ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html

I fattori di emissione, Patto dei Sindaci, viewed 6 February 2014, http:// www.eumayors.eu/IMG/pdf/technical_annex_it.pdf

Iren Energia, Impianto di Integrazioen e Riserva Politecnico, Iren Energia, viewed 6 February 2014, http://www.irenenergia.it/ChiSiamo/Media/bro- chure/files/lren_Energia_Politecnico.pdf

James Randerson, Tree-planting projects may not be so green, December 2005, C02 Now, viewed 14 September 2013, http://www.theguard- ian.com/environment/2005/dec/23/frontpagenews.climatechange

Jeff Cooper, April 2011, Japan’s Waste Management Situation, Waste Management World, viewed August 2013, http://www.waste-manage¬ment-world.com/articles/print/volume-12/issue-2/regulars/iswa-com- ments/japans-waste-management-situation.html

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), viewed 15 December 2013, http://www.usgbc.org/ leed/whyleed

List of indicators systems and metrics for measuring sustainability at university level, 2012, UNI-metrics polito, viewed 12 February 2014, http:// www.uni-metrics.polito.it/documenti/D%201-1 %20indicator%20sys- tem%20and%20metrics%20FINAL.pdf

Mappe Interattive/MiBici, Provincia di Milano, viewed 29 September 2013, http://www.provincia.milano.it/mappe2/mibici

Progetto ‘‘Cittadella Politecnica”, Politecnico di Torino, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.cittadellapolitecnica.polito.it/

Smart and Green Building management services, Politecnico di Torino, viewed 20 December 2013, http://smartgreenbuilding.polito.it

Stazioni TOBike, TO Bike Sharing Torino, viewed 29 September 2013, http://www.tobike.it/frmLeStazioni.aspx

Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), 2013, STARS a project of aashe, viewed 10 January 2014, https://stars.aashe. org/

The 2020 climate and energy package, updated 2014. European Com¬mission: Climate Action, viewed 15 November 2013, http://ec.europa.eu/ clima/policies/package/

The First Locations: Collegio Elvetico and Palazzo della Canonica, Politecnico di Milano, viewed 15 November 2013, http://www.polimi.it/en/ university/history/historical-locations/

The World Bank, 2012, Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, Climate Change World Bank, viewed 12 September 2013, http://climatechange.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Turn_ Down_the_heat_Why_a_4_degree_centrigrade_warmer_world_must_be_avoided.pdf

UNI-metrics project, 2012, UNI-metrics polito, viewed 12 February 2014, http://www.uni-metrics.polito.it/

Urbanistica: PRG 1910, Comune di Milano, viewed 15 December 2013, http://www.comune.milano.it/sit2006/sit2006/ot/home/homesit. asp?amb=8&pro=69&aonly=#

Urbanistica: PRG 1953, Comune di Milano, viewed 15 December 2013, http://www.comune.milano.it/sit2006/sit2006/ot/home/homesit. asp?amb=8&pro=66&aonly=

What the world needs to watch: Global Carbon Emissions, 2013, C02 Now, viewed 12 September 2013, http://co2now.org/Current-C02/C02- Now/global-carbon-emissions.html

Modifica (riservato agli operatori) Modifica (riservato agli operatori)