Climate and Environmental Protection

Protecting the climate and the environment is a matter for us all. The University is making a contribution – as part of its responsibility to society and to future generations. The University of Tübingen has been a holder of the EMAS certificate since 2011 and was the first Baden-Württemberg higher education institution to gain the certification. EMAS, short for Eco Management and Audit Scheme, is the EU’s badge of quality environmental management. In an ongoing process, the University is implementing various measures for the protection of the environment.

What is the University doing towards climate and environmental protection?

Energy and building management, construction

The following measures are being implemented across the University:

  • We have been using only environmentally-friendly hydroelectric power since 2015.
  • We are phasing in energy-saving LED lighting in our buildings.
  • Heating, ventilation and lighting systems are being steadily upgraded for energy efficiency.
  • At night, on weekends and during the end-of-year break, temperatures are reduced to 18 degrees Celsius in building in which that is technically possible.
  • We are working to optimize the times ventilation systems run and the times they are in active use.
  • Server rooms are cooled only to the extent necessary for safe operation.
  • Hot water storage units operate on timers so that water is not heated outside of office hours.
  • With fixed thermostats on stairwell radiators, we keep the temperature there constant at 15 degrees Celsius.
  • We are successively replacing energy-intensive heating pumps with high-efficiency pumps.
  • We are gradually acquiring energy-efficient refrigerators to replace old models.
  • Since 2010, we have been recording and evaluating our buildings’ resource consumption and continuously initiating measures to further reduce it.

The following measures are being implemented in selected locations:

  • We renovate windows, doors and roofs and provide better sealing and insulation.
  • We also work together with external service providers to optimize energy use.
  • We are installing photovoltaic units.
  • Several buildings have green roofs.
  • A cistern is currently being installed in the Botanical Garden to collect and use rainwater.
  • We install nesting aids for birds on new and existing buildings.

Purchasing and finance management

  • Since 2010, we have purchased only recycled paper with “Blue Angel” certification.
  • With subsidies from our energy saving fund, we support the purchase of energy-efficient electrical appliances and other energy saving measures. 
  • Among other things, we are withdrawing investments in companies that operate in an ecologically unsound manner (divestment) and invest increasingly in sustainable investment products.
  • We are also revising our investment guidelines with regard to the environmental sustainability of our investments.

Transportation and mobility

  • We have introduced University pedelecs for short trips, and to replace motor scooters.
  • We commissioned a  mobility study to develop mobility management strategies.
  • There is a monthly state government subsidy on the purchase of a job ticket pass on the local public transport system.
  • A number of employees have signed voluntary commitments to avoid short-haul flights for work-related travel.

Waste management and recycling

  • We founded the “Low-waste Tübingen” initiative and are promoting the switch from disposable cups to multi-use cups with our  „Besser bechern“ campaign. Since December 2018, an additional 40 shops in Tübingen have been participating in the ReCup deposit system.
  • We purchase only environmentally-friendly cleaning products that do not generate waste because they are recycled ("cradle to cradle" products).
  • We have equipped the entire university with waste separation containers for paper, bio-waste, packaging and residual waste. We also collect CDs, pens, aluminum and mobile phones.
  • We equip various sanitary facilities with electric hand dryers instead of paper towels.

Student affairs and studies

Research and transfer

Success and Developments in Figures

  • Water consumption (per capita) fell by about 8 percent between 2012 and 2018.
  • Paper consumption (per capita) fell by about 43 percent between 2012 and 2018.
  • The amount of waste paper decreased by about 30 percent from 2012 to 2018 (also due to the digitalization of documents).
  • Total electricity consumption has not increased since 2012, although the university has grown in terms of space and staff. Total heat consumption has been reduced by about 6 percent.