Facilities vision of innovation and sustainability in education

Friday 19 March 2021
NHL Stenden presents three best practices in webinar during CSU Innovation Boost

How can a facilities department in an educational institute make a difference? How can you include sustainability aims in the services you provide and continue to innovate? Director of Facility Management Mathijs Rutten and three students (Danielle Bijsterbosch, Nathnael Nigus and Carlotte Roncoli) recently held during the CSU Innovation Boost a webinar on the subject and gave us a facilities view of innovation and sustainability in education. During the week-long, online event, CSU, our partner in cleaning, took facilities professionals, university researchers, product designers and other partners on a journey through the fast-changing working field of facilities. The aim was to provide practical insights and tips for today and tomorrow.

Our university of applied sciences provided examples of its innovation and sustainability by presenting three best practices that also involved full student participation:

  1. The Green Wave. This movement was initiated by staff and students with an aim to contributing towards a sustainable university. They promote Green Thinking as a way of making each step, however small, a step towards a more sustainable world for the next generation. Practical tips on how to get a sustainable Christmas tree and a #coronawastechallenge that calls for people to clean up face masks littering the streets, are examples of the initiatives launched by the ambassadors. You can join the Green Wave, please send an email to the Green Wave.
  2. The technologies and innovations put in place in the renovated Notiz Hotel and Restaurant Wannee. Each decision made in the hotel and restaurant is based on the four principles that contribute to a better environment and future-proof climate, namely quality, sustainability, innovation and culture. For instance, Notiz Hotel has installed water-saving shower heads and taps, and the coffee is sourced from the only coffee refinery in the Netherlands that produces 100% certified coffee and is fully climate neutral. In addition, the Dutch Cuisine principle is applied in the kitchens, which means vegetables take the lead in dishes and ingredients are local and seasonal. The dishes have a less damaging effect on the environment as food miles are limited and there is less use of fish and meat. It’s probably why Notiz Hotel has been awarded the Golden Green Key standard of excellence for the ninth time in a row, the highest possible international certification for sustainable companies.
  3. The most amazing innovative and sustainable creations form the X-Lab. The X-Lab is where the X-Honours students come together outside their studies to work on innovative solutions to real-life issues from real clients. Take for instance the solar taxi for the Welcome to the Village festival, or the interactive game to get young people active. The X-Honours programme also has access to a 3D printer and this too has its sustainable nature: it uses ink that is made up of over 90% renewable resources!

“In facility services, we create a framework and challenge students to get started together. Innovation can be in the smallest things, so be bold, just get started and try things out together, discover and learn!” says Mathijs. Watch the webinar here.