On September 19th, 2013 the Venetian Gothic palace overlooking the Grand Canal - headquarters of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice - has officially earned the LEED certification becoming the oldest “green” building on the planet.
The goal reached by Ca’ Foscari, the first one among Italian universities in terms of sustainability, is result of the partnership with Habitech, consulting body for sustainable redevelopment of existing buildings and Coster, a company operating in the energy control sector.
LEED certification for existing building is called LEED EB: O&M, an acronym for Existing Building: Operation & Management.
The LEED certification, promoted by US Green Building Council, attests the sustainability level of a building regarding operations, maintenance and management.
The protocol favours minimally invasive and low-cost measures, actions focused on everyday practices and on the behaviour of people living the building, energetic audit and building sustainability performances measurements.
Ca’ Foscari is now an emblematic case study of the potential of LEED certification, which proves that also a palace built in 1453 can be “green” as evidence that bulldozing the existing buildings to replace them with ultra green structures is not necessary.
The challenge for the future is to spread the know how and to apply the energy efficiency criteria of LEED certification to other italian historical buildings.
The hope is that this experience will lead other similar structures to think about the real necessity of an overall energy savings.
Habitech and Coster have planned and realised measures to the exsiting structure. The areas considered by the Green Building Council and the Ca' Foscari actions are listed below.
The water consumption has been reduced of 28% in a year thanks to focus interventions. The water saved is equivalent to a medium consumption of 31 habitants of Venice province (Istat datas).
The reduce of energy consumptions has been possible thanks to the use of low energy lamps, interventions to regulate the system and the installation of new high efficiency heat generator. Ca’ Foscari joined the Consip agreement “Energia elettrica 10” which expect the use of 100% of energy from renewable resources for all campuses. Ca’ Foscari monitors continually the consumptions to plan new strategies of reduction.
60% of the cleaner products used in Ca’ Foscari is Ecolabel certified, the European brand that certified the low environmental impact of products or services offered.
More than 90% of students and staff use alternative transfer instead of a private car.
Since 2010 Ca’ Foscari activated the recycling in all university campuses with the Ra.Di.Ca. project. In order to use less paper, all traditional questionnaires – 60,000 per year – were replaced with
online surveys (- 300 kg of paper per year) and the student record books were replaced with digital ones (- 80,000 € per year). thanks to the existing policies and the implementation of Green Procurement, the 80% of the volume of waste will be separated. Ca’ Foscari chooses suppliers having a program of recycling or reuse of materials.
In Ca’ Foscari the 60% of purchases is “green”, both for consumer goods (stationary, paper, toner, batteries, etc.) and durable goods (computers, printers, photocopier, furniture, etc.). The bulbs used are energy saving and the majority mercury-free.