Group 1: Bagasse

  • Members: Bas, Solange, Juraj, Joost and Alexia
  • Contact person: Merijn Smelt
  • Teacher: Li Shen
  • Course: ‘Science and Technology for Sustainable Development’ at Utrecht University

The company Selecta annually supplies 1.5 million cups for the 200 coffee machines in Utrecht University’s campus. The recycling of these cups, made of polystyrene, turns out to be difficult That is the reason why both Green Office and the Facilitair Service Centrum’s manager liked to explore a new option for use in the coffee machines: bagasse cups. This new alternative is compared to the current options: PS single-use cups and reusable ceramic mugs. The main question answered during this research is “Which type of material for cups is the most optimal to use in coffee machines within Utrecht University from environmental point of view and how to promote a better waste management of these single-use coffee cups?”. 

 

Group 2: Nudging towards sustainability

  • Member: Max Weghorst
  • Contact person: -
  • Teacher: Jeroen Benjamins
  • Course: Master Thesis Applied Cognitive Psychology at Utrecht University

This study focused on the question whether nudging could be used as a tool to elicit pro-environmental behaviour in a context where people have to choose between taking the stairs and taking the elevator. Stair use was stimulated by a combination of green footprints on the floor, leading to the stairwell, and posters with salient injunctive norms accompanied by stair-use-stimulating messages in the elevator and stairwell area. The main findings showed a significant and stable increase (6.3-8.7%) in stair use when comparing the preintervention period with the 4-week intervention period. An expected moderating group effect was not found. Although the increase in stair use was significant, it did not lead to a decrease in the number of elevators per person, which implies that no energy was saved by this intervention. The tested nudges are, however, a cheap and reasonably efficient tool for health-promotion.

 

Group 3: BREEAM

  • Members: Thomas, Gabriel, Jan, Atakan and Nikiforos
  • Contact persons: Femke Kamp and Iris Wijsman
  • Teachers: Prof. dr. Ernst Worrell and Dr. Jesus Rosales Carreon
  • Course: ‘Energy and Material Efficiency’ at Utrecht University

The real estate sector of the UU aims to develop and implement sustainable solutions concerning the construction of new institutional buildings and want to achieve the BREEAM-NL “Excellent” score (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). In this research the team tried to answer the research question: “How can the process of comparing and deciding between different design options for new sustainable institutional buildings be improved for the UU?”.

 

Group 4: Duurzame catering

  • Members: Cathelijne, Bernike, Bobby, Eke, Briede, Rianne en Lisette
  • Contact person: Merijn Smelt
  • Teacher: Jerry van Dijk
  • Course: ‘Environmental advisory project’ at Utrecht University

This advisory report is written in line with the sustainable image of UU. As it turns out, with the current caterer the sustainability goals of the UU aren’t met. This lead to the following research question: “How could the University offer more sustainable food within the catering.” In this matter, the concept of sustainability is defined as; taking into account the economic, social and ecological aspects, and being aware of the time-aspect; taking into account long-term consequences for future generations when making choices now.