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Sustainability within DCU

What is Sustainability about? 

In a normal day we consume resources from the food we eat to the fuel to drive our cars and the electricity that lights our homes and offices. These resources are grown or manufactured from natural materials that come from the Earth and there is only a limited supply. While some of the resources are renewable i.e. they replenish themselves, many are not and therefore will run out. But the bigger issue is that through the manufacturing and consumption of these resources carbon dioxide is produced and over the last 100 year or so the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have grown at an exponential rate. The impact of this increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is climate change*. So Sustainability is looking for the fair and equitable balance that is needed to share the earth’s resources between all its inhabitants while working toward reducing our carbon emissions to zero. It is an enormous task that we must all tackle together.

Sustainability DCU seeks to embed a sustainability ethos at DCU that will underpin all our activities here. Our academics and researchers are working on many of the related issues from Education for Sustainable Development, Green Finance and Business models to Water, Waste and Energy research in our new Sustainable Economies and Societies Research Hub. Our Estates Office works hard to not only save financial resources but also to reduce our impact on the environment through energy efficiencies, greater waste management and enhancing the green environment on campus. Our An Taisce Green Campus Committee supports many initiatives across campus engaging both the students and staff in projects where we can together have an impact on increasing the sustainability of our campus.

DCU is leading by example and instilling in our graduates a knowledge and understanding of sustainability with the vision that they will incorporate this ethos in their future personnel and working lives.

DCU's Sustainability policy can be viewed here.

*For further information on Climate Change please see the IPCC Fifth Report:www.ipcc.ch

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Sustainable Campus 

Demonstrate on campus innovative schemes to embed sustainable measures across campus that will provide financial savings while also reducing our carbon footprint.

DCU has been striving to gain efficiencies and reduce operational costs and our impact on natural resources and adopt sustainable practices in areas of energy consumption, water usage, biodiversity enhancement and waste generation. More recently areas of green procurement and campus associated transport have been receiving attention in the promotion of sustainable practices.

You can download here a copy of the following documents 

DCU 2014 Application for An Taisce Green Flag (sucessful)

DCU 2015 Renewal Application for An Taisce Green Flag (sucessful)

DCU 2016 Renewal Application for An Taisce Green Flag (sucessful)

DCU 2015 Carbon Footprint for DCU Glasnevin Campus (DRAFT)



EnergyWaterWaste - 2011
  • Focus on efficiency
  • Cross campus engagement
  • 33% red by 2020
  • Full audit of ring main
  • Grey water inclusion in new builds
  • €200k per annum
  •  Reduce waste to landfill
  • Reduce paper waste
  • 40 gardens
  • Allotments
  • Community Garden
  • Car pooling
  • DCU bicycles
  • Transport Map
  • Green Procurement

DCU is a registered participant of the national Green Campus programme, run by An Taisce and The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). FEE is a non-government, non-profit organisation that operates globally promoting sustainable development through environmental education. An Taisce is the national operator of all FEE programmes in Ireland. In its initial phase DCU is targeting Energy, Waste and Biodiversity. Baseline reports and action plans are under development for implementation in the academic year 2012/2013. This programme engages across the DCU student and staff population and involved strong interaction with local Community through the development of on campus community gardens & allotments and expert seminar series.

DCU’s Green Committees Green Charter

The Green Committee at Dublin City University, made up of volunteer staff and students, believes in a sustainable future that provides the fair and equitable balance that is needed to share the earth’s resources between all its inhabitants while working toward reducing our carbon emissions. It is an enormous task that we must all tackle together.

Our Green Committee is committed to:

  • embedding sustainable practices across our University
  • informing and educating other within the DCU Community about importance of sustainability and why we need to create a more sustainable future
  • informing and educating other within DCU on what they can do to have a positive impact both on and off campus
  • informing and educating our wider community, including family and friends about importance of sustainability and why we need to create a more sustainable future
  • informing and educating our wider community, including family and friends about what they can do to have a positive impact the sustainability of our planet

Specifically in 2013/2014 we are focusing on:

  • Raise awareness of energy consumption by Students, Staff and Vistors
  • Reduce energy consumption on campus in conjunction with Estates workprogramme
  • Reduce consumption
  • Treat as a valuable resource
  • The DCU sustainability committee together with the Dublin City Council and the DCU environmental society are partaking in the litter awareness campaign . Once every three weeks members will be cleaning up a street in a bid to both reduce litter and create awareness of waste in the local community. 
  • Together with WEEE Ireland, the waste committee are holding a one day collection of electrical and battery waste within DCU’s main campus. Students staff and the wider community can take part in this event in which we hope to encourage people to recycle their electrical items and correctly dispose of them.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity
  • Create a biodiversity database
  • Increase biodiversity on campus through tree planting events
  • In order to reach our goal, we decided to take it step by step. There are so many projects listed for transport. At the moment, with the support of SU, DCU is taking part in Smarter Travel Campus' Marchathon Challenge from 3rd-7th of March. Green Committee also run a Rediscovery Bicycle Workshop every month which also falls on our Greenday. 




How you can make a difference 


  • Insulate your home
  • Last out – lights out
  • Turn off heaters before opening windows
  • Lower your thermostat
  • Use a clothes line/rack to dry clothes
  • Use energy saving light bulbs
  • Turn off and unplug for energy savings and safety


  • Shorten your showers by at least a minute.
  • Only boil the water you need.
  • Try not to run the tap.
  • Fix drips
  • Harvest rain water for garden use


  • Bring you own Mug – many paper coffee cups are NOT recyclable - Many coffee places in Dublin will give you a discount (DCU 10%) when you bring your own mug.
  • Reduce food waste – 50% of all food produced is wasted!  Only get what you need.
  • Stop using plastic bags. Bring your own reusable shopping bags with you wherever you go.  
  • Recycle more – not just in the kitchen at home.
  • Avoid plastic bottled water - carry a refillable bottle instead – there is a map of potable water points on https://www.facebook.com/sustainabilitydcu (include new points if you find them !)
  • Reduce your printing - Print Double-sided if necessary.
  • Use recycled paper for brochures/flyers etc
  • Run digital poster campaigns NOT paper posters
  • Use refills rather than buying new each time.
  • Be conscious of packaging and where possible leave unnecessary packaging in the shop to encourage them to reduce it.
  • Reuse unrecyclable material - Check out the Rediscovery Centre (http://www.rediscoverycentre.ie/) for bicycles, fashion, furniture, paint and lots more
  • Reduce Meat Consumption – Support Meat Free Mondays


  • Start your own vegetable patch either at home or in the DCU Community Garden
  • Make the switch to natural cleaning products.
  • Know your own environment and its inherent ecosystems.
  • Volunteer for at least one environment-related project in your community—maybe a community garden workday or a beach cleanup
  • Think about the source of your projects – environmentally and ethically
  • Shop local and in season
  • Plant a tree


  • Walk/Cycle to work/school/college for a healthier environment for all
  • Use/Promote public transport options
  • Think before you jump in the car – is the alternative healthier and cheaper for you.
  • Consider the carbon footprint of your air travel – is teleconference a reasonable option (http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx)
  • Holiday in Ireland


  • Understand the impact of our actions – sustainable development is our only way forward – understand your impact and role.

 If you have more suggestion please send them to sustainability@dcu.ie and we can add them to the list.  

Making the Post Carbon World 

Not optimism, not pessimism but realism

 Corrie Mountain Wind Farm, Co. Leitrim, image credit: RTG - CC BY-SA 4.0]

Corrie Mountain Wind Farm, Co. Leitrim, image credit: RTG - CC BY-SA 4.0

This is a new pilot live online conversation aiming to empart an understaning of why and how we might make a post carbon world.  MPCW is a free, open-access, online course offered by DCU School of Electronic Engineering in collaboration with the DCU Sustainable Economies and Societies HubDCU Sustainable Campus, and the United Nations Dublin Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Dublin, hosted by DCU).

Click Here to go to the MPCW-16 on LOOP 


MPCW is "extra-curricular", i.e. not for credit. There is no formal assessment, no grade, it will not count for any DCU academic award, and will not appear on any DCU transcript of results.

And with that out of the way: MPCW is intended to provide a concentrated, stimulating, whirlwind tour of some of the biggest issues now facing global human civilization, and give participants some essential tools to play an active, empowered role in changing our shared world for the better!

"Not optimism, not pessimism, but realism."

MPCW gives a high level overview of the challenges posed to global humanity by human-caused climate change in particular, but also considers overshoot of other biophysical "planetary boundaries". It then provides for facilitated exploration of how we can respond (individually and collectively) by actively working to make the transition to secure, just, democratic and authentically sustainable post-carbon societies.

Your MPCW hosts/facilitators are: 

The format is a series of 10 week-long "online conversations". We start each Friday by providing a small set of key online resources on a specific topic, via a dedicated loop online forum created for that week. These resources will provide the focus and context for all our discussions through to the following Friday. The first part of the week (from Friday to Wednesday afternoon) is an opportunity for participants to review, comment, and post questions about the target resources. Then, each Wednesday evening from 6.45pm-7.45pm (Dublin local time) we will have a live webinar event, in which the facilitators will consider the state of the online discussion so far, invite live questions and comments, and suggest further directions for research and debate. (While all participants are encouraged to join all the live webinars, they will also be recorded for later "on demand" viewing.) The discussion then continues in the weekly loop forum until it wraps up on Friday, when we transition to the following week's cycle.

This is a dynamic, "participant-driven" course. While we have a "menu" of specific topics and resources in mind, there will be opportunities for participants to propose specific directions or additional areas that could be dynamically included as the course unfolds.

Week 1 of MPCW-16 starts on Friday, 5th February 2016. Do please join us for what promises to be an exciting and enjoyable learning experience for all concerned!

If you have immediate general questions about the course - e.g., if you have not used loop before etc. - then please post your query on the"HELP!" forum and we'll do our best to respond.  

Here is some background/thought provoking videos

"Does COP21 go far enough to tackle climate change? Duncan Stewart speaks with Barry McMullin"

 Part 1 and Part 2

Climate Change is simple ... - David Roberts

Fossil free Ireland | Dr Cara Augustenborg | TEDxUCD 

More info to follow 

Contact details : sustainability@dcu.ie

 The DCU Community Garden 

The DCU Community garden is open to all staff, students and DCU alumni along with member and organisations from our local community for utilisation as a resource for teaching, research, education, training and community engagement.  

DCU Community Garden - Photo


The entance to the DCU Community Garden is behind the library on the eastern edge of the Glasnevin campus.  In the most easterly corner of the campus there is a gateway that leads down to a 1.6 acre off grid garden. Please click here for more information on how to get to the DCU Glasnevin campus

How to engage

To become a member of the DCU Community Garden you can download a membership form here and return it by email to garden@dcu.ie

A copy of our health and safety statement for the garden is availabe here 

Further Information

Contact Samantha Fahy 01-700 7626 or email samantha.fahy@dcu.ie 

  Teaching and Learning

Support mechanisms to enhance and embed the understanding of Sustainable development in all our Graduates so that as future leaders they implement sustainable practices.

While there are many undergraduate and postgraduate modules and programmes that already contribute directly to the teaching of sustainability principles as detailed later in this report, it is an aim of DCU to deliver an understanding of sustainable development to all students through module design, regardless of programme choice.

An outline of the core DCU programmes which at present relate directly to the teaching of principles of sustainability at present is illustrated below:


Teaching & Learning Map

Teaching and Learning Map

 Research and Innovation

Support researchers in the development, test bedding, demonstration and promotion of innovative solutions, tech & non tech, which progress us along our path to a sustainable future.

In undertaking a mapping project of sustainability related activities across all faculties and core support units within the DCU, it has become apparent that there exists a strong presence of sustainability focused activity as normative procedures, despite never having been identified as such. [Ref : GIOS, ASU]


Research & Innovation Map


Research & Innovation Map  

 Community Engagement

DCU and Community leader to engage our local community on sustainable activities including such project as the DCU Community Garden.  

 Community Outreach

Encompassing such issues as equal access to social resources, corporate Governance, community, diversity, culture and quality of life, social sustainability is just one aspect of sustainability but one that is often the weakest in terms of representation. DCU has long recognised the merits and responsibilities of engaging with the wider community and contributing to the social and economic contexts of the community in which we are based. The development of a specific ‘Civic Engagement’ mission and the establishment of the DCU in the Community outreach centre in Ballymun is a solid expression of the commitment which DCU has made to community outreach projects. Wider outreach has also been promoted through initiatives such as the Dublin 5th Province project coordinated by DCU and the Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building. The launch of Sustainability @ DCU in early 2012 has also opened doorways to engagement through shared learning (Sustainext), accessibility of DCU resources to the public (Community Garden), new partnerships (GIOS) and research opportunities (student exchange ASU). Through DCU’s active Civic Engagement Forum, the University has also been promoting a mutually beneficial relationship between the institute and the community with the aim of delivering a range of activities though which staff and students engage with the needs of communities and seek develop their own social understanding through active citizenship. DCU is committed to playing a positive role in the socio-economic and cultural regeneration of the city, region and nation.  

 Community Inreach

The DCU concept of community engagement also works inwardly whereby ‘needs lead’ research and innovation is given high regard. The DCU Science Shop is a project which allows for a community knowledge exchange to an ultimate end of DCU research and technology having an applied and contributory role to locally identified needs of society. DCU is also strongly engaging its local community in the development of its on campus Community Garden.

Links to DCU in the Community:www.dcu.ie/community/DCUcommunity/welcome.shtml

Community Garden facebook page: www.facebook.com/DCUCommunityGarden

Sustainability facebook: www.facebook.com/sustainabilitydcu  


 News & Events 

Events and activities associated with DCU Sustainability and the Community Garden can be found at : 
DCU Community Garden OPEN DAY – Wednesday - Feb 24 – 10.00 – 14.00


With spring nearly upon us we are going to have an OPEN DAY in the DCU Community Garden (Glasnevin Campus).  We would like to welcome everyone staff, students and local community members to come and visit and take a look and the garden and the possibility for getting involved.

 DATE : 24 February 2016

TIME : 10.00 – 14.00

WHERE : DCU Community Garden (Glasnevin Campus)

(see http://www4.dcu.ie/ocoo/sustainability/dcucg.shtml for directions and a map of how to get to the Garden – appropriate footwear is strongly advised)