Leading in Green Initiatives
In response to the strain placed on the environment — globally but especially within Lebanon — and in recognition of the university’s 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 for 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 install 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.
“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, which serve people with disabilities,” he adds.
Going one step further, LAU is taking action in conjunction with its affiliated medical center, LAU Medical Center - Rizk Hospital (LAUMC-RH) to dispose of hazardous waste and is seeking to collaborate with expert foreign partners for that purpose.
Moreover, 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 to face the challenges we have in our world,” says Roger Haddad, Director of the Physical Plant at the Beirut campus.
Recently, the fully-renovated Tohme-Rizk building on the Byblos campus was awarded the EDGE Certificate (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) by the World Bank affiliate 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.
Similarly, the Byblos Library and Central Administration Complex, which is currently under construction, is seeking prestigious LEED-Gold certification by 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 metering system will monitor energy and water consumption throughout the university. The results will be posted on the LAU website through a user-friendly graphic alerting users to their wasteful habits and encouraging 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.”
This article was published on the LAU website, on February 17, 2016.