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Climate strategy: AU to launch 44 green initiatives

On the background of its climate strategy, AU is launching 44 concrete activities that will contribute to making the university more climate-friendly.

2020.08.18 | Signe Opstrup

The action plans for 2020 were approved at a meeting of the senior management team in late June, and implementation will now begin. Photo: Melissa Bach Yildirim

Waste-sorting pilot projects in study areas, libraries and canteens, an experiment with electricity metres on some IT equipment, exploration of the possibility of establishing a solar cell array in Foulum and a fixed temperature of 21 degrees in all of AU’s buildings during the colder months. These are just a few of the 44 initiatives for 2020 in the action plans for Aarhus University’s climate strategy.

These activities were chosen because they will lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions from the university's operations.

2020 is a transitional year

2020 is transitional: there’s room for experimentation.

“It’s important that we create a good foundation for the university’s green transition going forward. 2020 is a transitional year, and that’s why the activities have an exploratory and experimental character. All of these initiatives will put us in a position to move forward on a better informed and better prepared foundation. Our goal is maximum climate benefit for our efforts,” explained Susanne Søes Hejlsvig, who is programme manager for AU’s climate initiative.

The heads of estates facilities and numerous employees at the university were involved in developing the activities for 2020. The action plans were adopted by the senior management team and have the support of the board.

The different activities in the 2020 action plans are divided into the four focus areas in the university’s climate strategy; campus, transportation, procurement and waste. To be launched immediately, these activities will all contribute to helping Aarhus University reach the goals set out in the strategy. Read AU's climate strategy 2020-2025.

The next steps 

The faculties and all levels of the administration will now work closely together on the chosen activities. To get as many students and employees involved as possible, relevant experts, committees and councils for students and employees will also be involved. And while work on the activities for 2020 proceeds, the action plans for 2021 are already just around the corner.

“The action plans for 2021 will be developed in close collaboration with both the central administration and the faculties, and this time the action plans will also contain activities for the individual faculties,” Hejlsvig stressed.

The action plans for 2021 are expected to be approved by November 2020.

Green activities in 2020

Here are some of the activities in the action plans for 2020. Read about all the activities here (in Danish).


  • Introduce a fixed temperature of 21 C in AU’s buildings during the heating season.
  • Develop a green handbook of every-day climate-friendly actions, for example in relation to using IT equipment, to inspire employees.
  • Pilot project with electricity metres on some IT equipment in order to develop guidelines for default settings for employee PCs, for example use of hyper mode.
  • Explore the possibility (including legislation and financing) of establishing an energy research park in Foulum that includes experimental hydrogen and solar plants. 


  • When purchasing motor vehicles: Only buy vehicles that run on climate-friendly energy sources.
  • Develop a green handbook on platforms for virtual conferences and meetings as well as offer advice and support to users on how to use them.
  • Develop a green handbook with advice on choosing forms of transportation, for example travelling by train instead of plane to destinations abroad.
  • Explore the possibility of setting aside parking spots for carsharing schemes on camps. 


  • Analyse delivery patterns to identify areas in which the number of small orders can be reduced.
  • Develop a draft concept for integrating climate into the tendering process.


  • Start waste sorting pilot projects in study areas, lecture halls, libraries, canteens, meeting facilities, conference rooms, etc.
  • Develop a model for collecting coffee ground from coffee machines for use as a growth medium, either at AU or externally.

Facts about the action plan for 2020

  • The board approved Aarhus University’s 2020-2025 climate strategy at a meeting on 1 April 2020.
  • Action plans have been drafted that contain concrete initiatives to help reach the climate strategy’s targets. 2020, the first year of the strategy period, is a transitional period.
  • The action plans for 2020 were approved at a meeting of the senior management team in late June, and implementation will now begin.
  • To arrive at effective, workable solutions with broad support, the activities for 2020 were selected in close collaboration with employees from all levels of the administration, including AU Finance and Estates Projects and Development, AU IT, AU Research Support and External Relations and the four heads of building services.  

Additional information

Administrative, Administration (Academic), All groups, All AU units, Aarhus University, Technical / administrative staff, Health, Academic staff