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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Planet Inspired: Sustainability arrives on Campus

Credit: Planet Inspired
Smart Campus Milano Planet Inspired

For more than a year, the Università degli Studi of Milan and the Politecnico of Milan have been cooperating on an ambitious project: the creation of a common sustainable campus.

For more than a year, the Università degli Studi of Milan and the Politecnico of Milan have been cooperating on an ambitious project: the creation of a common sustainable campus.

Through residents, renewable energy, and the environment, Milan is working to build a sustainable campus. At the Politecnico, they have installed dumpsters that measure the weight and volume of the material that is placed in the dumpsters, and send the data online via GPRS for the monitoring and management of waste collection. The idea is also being experimented with in Beijing.

But even Italian universities are going through an important transition: they are striving to turn themselves into centers of excellence, not only for the teaching quality and level of research, but also for the university life of their students, one that is increasingly based on eco-sustainability.

The Università degli Studi of Milan and the Politecnico of Milan, for example, are working in synergy to convert their sites into a single "sustainable campus"; thus, making the Città Studi area of Milan an example of student life that has a low environmental impact.
Everyone can make their contribution - those who are studying, those who are working and those who live in the area - and the proposals are collected on the portal. Four themes are at the center of the discussion launched on the portal: residents, energy, environment and accessibility.

Every day more than 34,000 students and nearly 4000 people including teachers, researchers and staff frequent the Campus and the sustainable campus project is becoming a reality thanks to everyone’s suggestions.
The “Smart Campus” project is within the framework of the European call for proposals CIP-ICT-PSP-2011-5 (Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings) and intends to develop ICT services aimed at transforming the behavior of Campus users. Many experiments are already underway. They range from the mapping of all bicycle parking spaces (that have been increased) posted online to the design of smart dumpsters.

The Infrastructures and Services Management Area and the Department of Mechanics, Robotics Laboratory, have designed dumpsters that measure the weight and volume of the material that is placed in the dumpsters, sending the data online via GPRS for the monitoring and management of waste collection and disposal. At the Politecnico’s Chancellery, there are two of the dumpsters built for Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Furthermore, "smart" systems for the recycle collection of plastic and aluminum have been specially built for the Sustainable Campus project at the University’s ecological area. The idea is to build a collection system analogous to the one the Politecnico is implementing in the Chaoyang District in Beijing, with 150 smart dumpsters.

Alessandro Balducci, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Politecnico of Milan, believes strongly in this ambitious project: “Making the University a laboratory for sustainability has the primary aim of improving the quality of life of the community in which we live, experimenting not only the application of technical solutions that make the buildings and areas producers of environmental quality, but also fostering, among students, the development of awareness regarding the consumption of resources, waste production and responsible mobility.”

From this project' s social utility point of view, “making the University a laboratory also means providing the city, administration and businesses a place for experimenting solutions that may be extended and applied to the entire city, whether they be electric cars, reorganizing food-service to favor direct marketing or solutions for the decentralized generation of energy.”

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