About us | Sustainability

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We think green!

Everybody talks about it, we act: Sustainability gets more and more important for Studierendenwerk Aachen. Against the backdrop of economical, ecological and social sustainability we regularly examine our offers and projects. We act with environmental awareness and deal with raw materials and energy in an economical way.

Dining Services: Regional, seasonal and resource-efficient

It is important to us to offer sustainable hot drinks. In our coffee bars we serve coffee made from fair trade beans. The cocoa and tea we serve in our dining halls and cafeterias are bioproducts.

Buns, cakes, pretzels - all bakery produces in our cafeterias and coffee bars are supplied by regional bakeries: In Aachen, the facilities get the pastries from "Kickartz", in Jülich they come from "Mainz-Weitz". Thanks to these regional cooperations, transport distances remain short.

Leftovers of our cafeterias and coffee bars are collected by members of the association „Foodsharing“ every day. The Foodsavers take buns, wraps and pastries that are still fine to eat to distribution sites (“Fairteiler”-Stationen) all over the city. Thanks to this cooperation we can reduce waste and support sustainable handling of food.

As often as possible we cook with seasonal ingredients: In the asparagus season we serve fresh German asparagus, in the winter kale is on the menu and in the autumn we offer dishes with pumpkin from regional producers. We buy fresh meat from local butchers.

Disposable products can hardly be avoided in dining halls or cafeterias. In order to make a contribution to the environment here as well, we rely on articles produced in a resource-saving manner:

  • The napkins and paper plates used in the dining halls are made of recycled and unbleached paper.
  • The burger wrapping paper is biodegradable and compostable.
  • In Mensa Academica, the french fries are sold in boxes that are made from sustainably produced wood and are certified according to PEFC standards. The burger paper is biodegradable and can be composted.
  • We do not use plastic straws and mixing tools in any of our facilities. Upon request, guests can receive a more environmentally friendly drinking straw as an alternative. In the cafeterias and coffee bars, we use wooden mixing tools.
  • The cups at the soft drink dispensers are made from degradable cornstarch.

 

Relevo reusable dishes
Environmental protection should be as simple as possible. Since November 2021, we have therefore been providing all of our dining facilities with deposit-free reusable take away dishes from Relevo, which can be used conveniently and easily via an app. Read more here

Reuse of coffee grounds
With the motto "Coffee grounds - anything but waste", we would like to take another step towards sustainability. After all, tons of coffee grounds end up in the trash every year, and these come not only from private households, but of course also from dining establishments. We recycle the brown powder: The coffee grounds can be collected free of charge by students of the Aachen universities at the AcademiCaffè of Mensa Academica. Read more here


Construction and Housing: Energy effiviency and resource saving

Studierendenwerk conscientiously performs the task of nature conservation and environmental protection in all its areas.

  • Our new residence halls Hainbuchenstraße, Solarcampus II and Kawo 3 were built according to KfW Standard 55.
  • In our residence halls Rütscher Straße, Kastanienweg, Hainbuchenstraße and Solarcampus as well as the dining hall Mensa Academica we use a block-type thermal power station that produces electricity and heat according to the principle of power-heat coupling. The power station also distributes heat and electricity to neighbouring houses.
  • In all residence halls the heating systems were exchanged for energy efficient types and we switched from oil to gas.
  • 100 square metres of solar panels for producing hot water were installed on the roof top of the residence hall “Am Weißenberg”. Photovoltaic cells on the facade of the residence hall on Bayernallee produce electricity.
  • Climate-friendly green roofs on the residence hall “Hainbuchenstraße” contribute to good air quality and at the same time the rainwater fee gets reduced.
  • All residence halls are equipped with LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electrical appliances (refrigerators, freezers).

The use of building automation software controlling all electrical systems of the building is increasing. The operating parameters get optimized which leads to a reduction in energy consumption and operating costs.

Improving the CO2 balance
In all measures aimed at paving the way for a better CO2 balance, the large properties such as the dining halls and student dormitories require special attention in terms of their energy consumption. In order to keep a better eye on these and to be able to act and react efficiently, Studierendenwerk has been a member of the
Bundesverband der Energie-Abnehmer e.V. (VEA) (Federal Association of Energy Consumers), which provides reliable support for all energy issues.

VEA Climate-Friendly SME Initiative
In order to lend even more emphasis to its commitment to climate protection, Studierendenwerk has now joined the VEA-Initiative Klimafreundlicher Mittelstand (Climate-Friendly SME Initiative), which was founded in 2020. Companies that deal with CO2 savings in their day-to-day operations and whose goal is to make an important contribution to the energy transition and climate neutrality together with other medium-sized companies are active there. The initiative lobbies politicians for framework conditions that enable climate-friendly and at the same time economical action.

 

Electricity

As part of a reassessment of its current power supply, Studierendenwerk Aachen, operator of 24 dormitories, nine dining halls and five childcare centers, switched completely to green electricity. The electricity supplier is Stadtwerke Jülich GmbH, which will feed corresponding quantities from renewable energy sources into the public power grid to the extent of the Studierendenwerk's actual electricity consumption. In October, a green power certificate sealed the contract, which runs until the end of 2022.