The University of Twente is based on the former Drienerlo estate, which measures approximately 146 hectares had features abundant greenery, offices, laboratories, classrooms, shops, sports facilities and housing.
The urban development plan for the campus distinguishes between landscape, infrastructure and buildings. Before 1964, the area was partly a country estate and partly agricultural land. To retain the landscape’s aesthetic value, we are working on preserving forest quality and the contrast between farmland (meadow) and the estate (park), maintaining the historical value of landscape elements such as the park, pinetum, forestland and tree-lined avenues, and creating ample open, green space.
In 2017, the flora and fauna on campus were inventoried, which led to the identification of territories of 51 species of breeding birds. Of these species, three are on the 2004 Red List of Endangered birds, namely the spotted flycatcher, the European green woodpecker and the willow tit. The nesting sites of the gray wagtail enjoy year-round protection, and the UT is home to one of them. Several grey heron nests were also found, and the campus is also home to a rather rare species in the eastern part of the Netherlands, the spotted woodpecker. Other birds that can be found populating the campus include the blackbird, wood pigeon, great tit, blue tit, common chiffchaff, wren and finch.
During the field study in 2017, five bat species were found: common pipistrelle, serotine bat, common noctule, Nathusius' pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bat. These are common species in the Netherlands. There is a large bat house along the cycling path behind the Westhorst.
Watch this video for more information about the field study from 2017.
The common green frog, brown frog, smooth newt and common toad can be found in the bank vegetation around water.
Hedgehogs, squirrels and beech martens were also observed during the field visits.
Pinetum De Horstlanden features a collection of conifers from America, Europe and Asia.
More info to follow.
Starting from September/October 2019, ITC researchers will be monitoring ecosystem services and testing innovations to measure these services.
Ecosystem services provided by the campus include carbon storage, recreational space, a micro-climate, water regulation (storage and buffer), water treatment (helophyte filter), and noise reduction. If possible, the researchers will also consider habitat aspects, recreational possibilities, aesthetic/cultural-historical value and the food supply.
In December 2019 this interview with U-Today was held describing the progress so far.
We are looking for more and more ways to boost sustainability on our outdoor premises, launching various initiatives geared towards reducing transport, for instance. Scroll down to find out more.
Leaf waste on campus is collected and fermented according to the Bokashi method, the Japanese word for “fermented organic material”, so that it can be used to enrich the soil with micro-organisms. When making Bokashi, no carbon is emitted in the form of CO2, making it an environmentally friendly way of returning carbon to the soil that contributes tremendously to soil health.
Organic fertilization and weed control
We have replaced traditional fertilizer with organic, cereal-based fertilizer, reducing the amount of harmful salts we introduce into the environment. Our weed control methods are based on hot water or fire, and we therefore do not rely on chemicals to combat weeds on paved surfaces.
Our campus boasts a lot of greenery and, specifically, a lot of grass. To mow this grass, we use both wider mowers and robotic mowers. Using wider mowers lets us reduce the total amount of movement required, which translates into lower fuel consumption.
Solar-powered robotic lawnmower
The grass on the sports field and next to the swimming pool is mowed by a robotic mower. The mower is battery-powered, so it does not burn any fuel. There is a solar-powered charging station at the sports field (the panels are on top of the scoreboard), and the mower scatters the finely cut grass over the field as a natural fertilizer.
The University of Twente has opted to use 1400m2 of Grasfalt® and Lynpave® asphalt for the installation of Witbreuksweg, the road around the car park also known as the bus station. This decision to use Grasfalt® aligns with our sustainability objectives very well. Grasfalt® is an innovative type of asphalt in which bitumen is replaced with a biobased binder material made of lignan derived from elephant grass. Fewer primary raw materials such as bitumen are therefore required. The use of lignin instead of bitumen means the asphalt can be produced at a lower temperature, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 20% In addition, the planting of elephant grass allows a considerable amount of CO2 to be absorbed and stored during growth. This makes the asphalt considerably more sustainable.
Cementless concrete pavers
The car park at the Hogenkamp building was made with cementless concrete pavers and curbs. Instead of cement, geopolymers are used as a binding agent, which saves 29 tons of carbon emissions, which would have taken 15 mature trees 40 years to process.
Reedbed filter for the cool circle
The cool circle (the basin in front of the Horst building) contains more than 10 million litres of water which has to be treated in order to prevent corrosion and deposits on the cooling system, which we do by means of a helophyte filter. A reedbed filter uses helophytes to treat wastewater up to a point at which it is no longer harmful to the environment. Helophytes are plants that grow above water but take root in very wet soil, and they are capable of transporting oxygen to their roots themselves.
Behind the Horst, there are two fields that have been covered in gravel, sand and anti-root foil, on which we have planted reed plants. The dirty water flows onto the field on one side, before sinking through the gravel. In the soil, the waste materials are converted into nutrients for the plants in the filter. When it leaves the filter, the water is clean enough to return to the cold circulation system.
There are various places to charge your electric car on campus, and you can find charging stations at the GP practice, the Linde, Faculty Club, Spiegel and Garage buildings and on P2 at Cubicus. In order to charge you car, you will need a charging card. Charging costs € 0.25 per kWh. Visit NewMotion’s website (Dutch only) to find out the exact location of the charging stations and to see whether they’re free.
Flow campus bike
The bicycle sharing system lets you pick up bikes from (and return them to) several locations on campus, such as the station, in front of the Coop, the Witbreuksweg, O&O square and Spiegel. To find out more, visit the website of FLOW Twente (Dutch only). You can open the bike with an app.
E-bike charging stations
If you use your electric bike to commute and would like to charge it on campus, you can find charging stations for e-bikes in several bike parking facilities. At the Spiegel building, you can even charge your bike with solar energy.
As you make your way around campus, you may come across various electric vehicles. Our logistics department, our cleaning company Asito and Krinkels, the company in charge of the upkeep of our greenery, for instance, all use electrical cars and carts.