The properties used by the University of Oulu are owned by Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy (SYK). SYK is an important cooperator considering premises-related sustainability operations. The property owner is responsible for municipal waste management and for supplying the university with heat and water. In addition to the university's guidelines, companies that provide cleaning and restaurant services also have their own environmental and quality programs. The tendering of services always considers the aspect of sustainable development.
University of Oulu has an environmental program considering the premises. Environmental program has been in use since 2006 and in the 2016 update, the program was designed to meet the requirements of the Green Office certification. The main building of the University of Oulu has been Green Office -certified since 2014.
The owner of the properties, SYK, supplies the university with heat and water. SYK has been a member of Energy Efficiency Agreement for Property Sector (TETS) since 2006. SYK has enabled energy management service, the purpose of which is to develop the energy efficiency of properties continuously and in long-term. Reports of previous month's electricity, heat and water consumption data are delivered also for the University. The electricity purchased by the university is 100% renewable energy (Hansel) and the heat is district heat produced by Oulun Energia.
On the roof of the Linnanmaa campus, a total of 210 kWp solar power (photovoltaic) system is under construction. The system can replace small part of the electricity purchased and some of the solar panels are used not only for power generation but also for research. Solar electricity production will start up in May- June 2020.
The University's carbon footprint is made up of several different components. Carbon footprint calculating project will start in 2020. The project will be utilizing the University's own experts as well as students. SYK as a property owner will also be a collaborator in the project.
Most of the teaching and activities of Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK) will move to Linnanmaa campus by August 2020. The merging will make Linnanmaa the largest campus in Finland, where the activities of both higher education institutions will be in the same premises. A total of about 23,000 people study and work in the area every day. During the year 2020 higher education institutions shall cooperate in developing a joint Action Plan of which the objective is to give each of the higher education community member tangible means to act sustainably in their everyday lives. The goal is to draw up the Action Plan in a transparent manner and with the involvement of students and staff so that everyone can influence the content. Implementation of the Action Plan will start in 2021.
As the Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK) moves to Linnanmaa, the number of campus users increases significantly. University is developing a well serving public transport (bus connections) in cooperation with the City of Oulu and SYK. The Linnanmaa cycling route (Linnanmaan baana), built by the City of Oulu, was completed in 2019. In this route, cycling and pedestrian traffic are separated, the fairway is widened, and lighting is improved. The University wants to encourage the cycling of staff and students by increasing dressing room facilities and improving the equipment of bike parks. Leasing of electric cars for joint use is planned.
Property owner SYK has the responsibility to arrange the waste management of municipal waste (excluding bio-waste) and the maintenance of outdoor recycling points. The University is responsible for the indoors sorting facilities. University’s separately collected bio-waste is utilized locally in biogas production process. Biogas is completely renewable fuel replacing fossil fuels in transport. Through service providers, University of Oulu arranges the material re-use of other operational waste, for example, WEEE, used furniture and scrap metals. Also, hazardous waste management services are provided by an external service provider. Separate collection of consumer plastics starts in campuses at the beginning of 2020.
The environmental aspect is considered in university procurement and service tendering by requiring that service or product provider has certified environmental program or other or other equivalent system. The environmental performance of products is evaluated through a life cycle assessment of the product. Unnecessary procurement is avoided, and furniture and equipment are recycled within the university. The University has a Hansel framework agreement in which sustainable development is an important criterion for procurement.
Social sustainability is taken into account in the University's operations, and the University has a gender equality and equal opportunities plan. Equality work is visibly carried out by Equality contact persons, working groups and the Equality Opportunities Committee.
The university as an operating environment enables the implementation of unique pilot projects utilizing interdisciplinary expertise, business cooperation and high technology. Pilot projects can combine the promotion of sustainable campus life with scientific research and studies. A pilot run concerning resource efficient parking in Linnanmaa campus is to be implemented in 2020.