Nollaenergiatalo Luukku. Kuva: Aalto-yliopiston viestintä

Sustainable development in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture

The goal of Aalto University and its School of Arts, Design and Architecture is to promote the themes of sustainable development in accordance with the main areas of strategic emphasis for the University (sustainable use of energy and natural resources, human-oriented living environment) both in its research and teaching.

Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture, as both a school of art, design and architecture and as an educator of future product designers, has a central role in promoting environmental science and the principles of sustainable development.

The School of Arts, Design and Architecture's general principles of sustainable development

  • We regard environmental, health and safety considerations, limiting harm and observing the relevant legislation and regulations as an important and inseparable part of our operations.
  • We educate, guide and support students, all of our staff and our cooperation partners to act in a responsible manner with regard to the environment, health and safety.
  • We evaluate our operations continuously to identify and reduce environmental, health and safety risks and we commit ourselves to make continuous improvements in the following sub-areas: increasing and developing environmental awareness, development of occupational safety, thrifty use of energy and water, improving the treatment of waste and reducing the quantity produced.
  • We will develop environmental research in the field of art and design and we will make efforts to secure funding for environmental research.
  • In the transfer of technology to recipient parties, we will investigate what measures are required to protect the environment and health and to ensure safety.
  • We expect our cooperation and contractual partners to observe the appropriate parts of these principles.

Sustainable development in teaching

The degree to which sustainable development is taken note of in the design sector is variable and students arriving at the School of Arts, Design and Architertures can have very different levels of knowledge in this area. A common goal is to include life cycle philosophy, environmental aspects and the principles of sustainable development in teaching. Life cycle philosophy considers environmental aspects related to the product, raw materials, manufacture, use and final disposal. The goal is that students also master the concepts associated with environmental aspects and find the environmental information necessary for the design process.

In the autumn of 2010, Aalto University launched a joint and multi-disciplinary Master’s Degree in Creative Sustainability.

Sustainable development in production and research

As well as work placements, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture is involved in research, products, product concepts and other production for companies and other external parties. In the workshops we try to increase knowledge about environmentally friendly materials and promote their availability. The environmental impact of the School’s production can be significant when the multiplier effect is taken into account, such as the number of people involved in production and use or affected by it, as well as the example set by operations to other operators in the same field. The environmental impact of production is largely made up of the teaching of environmental values and on the other hand, the appropriate treatment of waste from our School’s premises and production facilities.

Moving to a culture of sustainable products requires the application of the life cycle philosophy. In production the aim is to minimise the negative environmental impact of designed products and services throughout their life cycles.

Waste management

The basic goal of waste management is that as small a proportion as possible of waste ends up in landfill, with no productive use made of it, and that as large a proportion as possible is exploited as efficiently as possible.

Aalto University's guidelines on waste will be renewed in 2011 - 2012.

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