Leading in green initiatives
As part of its Strategic Plan, LAU undertakes measures to promote environmental protection and sustainability.
In response to the strain placed on the environment – globally but especially within Lebanon – and recognizing its moral obligation to strive for a sustainable future, LAU is implementing a series of eco-friendly practices on both campuses as set out in its Strategic Plan 2011-2016.
“We know how much waste is produced by an institution as big as LAU and it is our duty to minimize its impact on the environment,” says Georges Hamouche, assistant vice president for Facilities Management. “We want to become the leading institution in green initiatives.”
This visionary plan encompasses recycling schemes as well as sustainability and energy management. Under the banner of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,’ LAU will initiate its waste management procedures by installing recycling bins expressly shipped from the U.S. to ensure that waste is disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way. The waste included in the recycling plan and the resources needed for an efficient implementation strategy were determined by a facilities’ waste stream analysis conducted on both campuses.
“On the other end and in order to give sense to its recycling campaign, LAU scanned the Lebanese market in search for a nonprofit charity organization to take on the job,” says Hamouche. “We finally partnered with L’Ecoute, a green-oriented charity that uses recycling initiatives to auto-finance its projects that serve people with disabilities,” he adds.
Going one step further, LAU is taking action, in conjunction with its affiliated medical center (LAUMC-Rizk Hospital), to dispose of hazardous waste and is seeking the possibility of collaborating with expert foreign partners for that purpose.
As part of the Sustainability Initiative, LAU has undertaken to reduce energy and water consumption on its campuses by implementing its very own construction design guidelines to upgrade older structures and construct sustainable buildings. These pilot projects entail highly-effective measures to reduce consumption while protecting the environment and providing indoor environmental quality. Accordingly, “the LAU community is showing its social responsibility for the challenges we have in our world,” says Roger Haddad, director of the Physical Plant at the Beirut campus.
To date, one of the fully-renovated buildings on the Byblos campus, the Tohme-Rizk building, was awarded the EDGE Certificate (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) by a World Bank affiliate, the International Finance Corporation – the first office building to receive such a distinction in Lebanon. EDGE indicated that the Tohme-Rizk Building’s resource-efficient design will result in reductions of 41% in energy, 29% in water, and 34% in materials’ embodied energy compared to local benchmarks.
Similarly, the Byblos Library and Central Administration Complex, which is currently under construction, is seeking the most prominent LEED-Gold certification by USGBC (the U.S. Green Building Council).
To impress on the general public the importance of sustainability, LAU will install tools that facilitate the analysis and control of used resources to demonstrate the environmental impact of its consumption.
In addition to awareness posters disseminated across campuses and a video that has been shared on social media, a system of metering will monitor energy and water consumption throughout the university. The results will be posted on its website through a user-friendly graphic which alerts users to their wasteful habits and encourages them to be more careful.
“We cannot claim to be a leading university while we are polluting the environment,” says Ziad Haddad, director of the Physical Plant at the Byblos campus. “We simply cannot do without green initiatives.”
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