Not Zero, Net Zero: Universities, Institutes Work to Reduce Carbon Trail on Campuses – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Universities and institutes across the country are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, from buying power from “green generators” to allowing only solar-powered vehicles to transport on campus and setting up waste treatment plants on their premises.

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Vice-Chancellors of 12 top universities and institutions of higher learning pledged a single-minded voluntary pledge to develop a roadmap aimed at making their campuses carbon neutral.


Since then, more than 250 universities and institutions have joined the initiative.


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In a pioneering way, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has become the first centrally funded technical institute whose carbon footprint has been reduced by more than 50 per cent.

“Achieving green energy through open access is an important initiative that we have taken in recent times to share our responsibility towards a clean climate. Through many such initiatives, we are making good progress in achieving plans to expand our green energy procurement portfolio. In the near future,” IIT Delhi said. Director V Rampopal Rao said.


“The free access provisions in the Power Act 2003 have made it possible for large power consumers like IIT Delhi to purchase power from generators of their choice through bilateral contracts or power exchanges. We have used these provisions to facilitate the involvement of PTC India. ‘Green’ identifies energy sources. Ltd. as a trader. Purchasing 2 MW of electricity exclusively from ‘green’ generators is equivalent to stopping about 14,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year, ”he added.

According to Rajendra Shender, chairman of the Territorial Policy Center, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has declared in its latest ‘Emission Gap Report’ that the commitments made by countries under the Paris Climate Agreement 2015 are not enough to achieve their goals.

“Therefore, it is imperative that countries achieve ‘net zero emissions’ in the next 30-40 years. Net zero emissions do not mean that emissions from human activities will be completely eliminated. Instead, they mean human-related emissions -” vehicles, agriculture, Fuel production, and the like – will be reduced to such a low level that they can remove emissions from the atmosphere and otherwise emit emissions, for example by planting trees, ”he said.


Shende said the Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN) is a project of the Universities Network, Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment (TRRE) Policy Center.

Joining the league, IIT Mandi has an active green committee that conducts green activities on campus.

“As a second-generation IIT, a decade-old, environmental protection and reduced emissions were already part of the campus plan. The following steps have already been taken to reduce carbon footprint. As a technology and research institute of national importance, we see large numbers of people at home and abroad. PI; operation of both faculty and students as well as high-energy receiving research instruments.

“So we understand that it is difficult to achieve complete carbon neutrality. However, efforts are being made to offset the carbon footprint through renewable energy sources as well as other activities,” said CS Yadav, chairman of IIT Mandi, chair and green committee, associate professor.


At IIT Madras, the campus has a fully-automated centralized sewage treatment plant (SBR technology + UF + ozonation) with a capacity of four million liters (MLD) per day to treat 100% of the sewage produced.

Treatment Cool water is recyclable for sewage flushing, gardening, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems and for lake recharging. Surplus medical sewage is being sold at IIT Madras Research Park.

“Organic wastes and biodegradable wastes are made using composting facilities and some of them are treated with dome-type bio-digesters. The recycled solid wastes are recycled and sold to local vendors, while dewatered ST As fertilizer for gardening on campus, ”said Ligi Philippe, Dean (Planning) of IIT Madras.


Philip said each family on campus has been provided with a triple dustbin to separate biodegradable and inorganic waste and an exclusive dustbin for sanitary waste disposal.

“We have installed as many solar panels as possible on the roof (about half of our time requirement). This directly reduces the use of thermal power by the same amount,” said Bhaskar Rammurthy, director, IIT Madras.

“We have about 45,000 trees on campus. But we didn’t calculate how much they compensate for our electricity use and fuel consumption from the grid, since the students don’t provide fuel – powered vehicles,” he added.


IIT Guwahati has banned the use of single-use plastic on campus and residents are increasingly using bicycles as a means of transportation.

“Green battery-powered zero-emission shared taxi services are available to call on campus to transport more than one-third of the campus’s solar energy needs, thus transferring green energy to low-office incandescent lights,” said an institute spokesman.


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