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Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 83;

True Green and Sustainable University Campuses? Toward a Clusters Approach

Interuniversity Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino and Università di Torino, Viale Mattioli, 39, 10125 Turin, Italy
Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI), Urban Studies Unit, Viale F. Crispi 7, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 31 December 2015 / Published: 15 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
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Campus greening is often the first step universities take towards sustainability. However, the diffusion of sustainability reporting methodologies and rankings is still at an early stage, and is biased in mainly measuring energy efficiency indicators while omitting basic features enabling meaningful comparisons among centers or addressing social (users) aspects related to long term sustainability transitions. This paper aims to introduce a critical perspective on sustainability university frameworks through: (i) a review of current Campus Sustainability Assessments (CSAs); (ii) performing and comparing the results obtained from the application of two internationally recognized CSAs (namely, Green Metric and ISCN) to two case studies (the Politecnico di Torino, in Italy, and the Hokkaido University, In Japan) and, finally, (iii) proposing a new CSA approach that encompasses clusters of homogeneous campus typologies for meaningful comparisons and university rankings. The proposed clusters regard universities’ morphological structures (campuses nested within city centers versus outside of a city compact ones), climatic zones and functions. At the micro scale, the paper introduces the need for indicators beyond measuring pure energy efficiency, but which are attentive to local and societal constraints and provide long-term tracking of outcomes. This, better than a sheer record of sustainability priority actions, can help in building homogenous university case studies to find similar and scalable success strategies and practices, and also in self-monitoring progress toward achieving truly sustainable university campuses. View Full-Text
Keywords: university campus; sustainability assessment frameworks; energy indicators university campus; sustainability assessment frameworks; energy indicators

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Sonetti, G.; Lombardi, P.; Chelleri, L. True Green and Sustainable University Campuses? Toward a Clusters Approach. Sustainability 2016, 8, 83.

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