Sustainable growth is based on effective use of resources and care for the environment in accordance with the principles of eco-development. The care for the environment is of particular importance to the University. Therefore, it responsibly approaches the issue of ecology and the environmental education itself. Environmental activities are often associated with costly investments and a higher price. Meanwhile, changes in your own habits, attitudes and changes in procedures can bring savings and, additionally, help to protect the environment at no or low cost.
- Environmental tool in the management of University Infrastructure
The university introduces environment-friendly tools and solutions in its activities. The University’s investment plans aimed at expanding the campus take into account the ecological aspects of social responsibility. The new didactic facility – the Advanced Information Technology Center in Katowice – opened in 2014, is user- and environment-friendly. Through the application of a heat pump, the building uses its own temperature to heat the tap water and heat the building – thanks to recuperation. Solar systems are installed on the roof, which are also used to heat tap water, while rainwater recovered from roof and terrace runoffs and stored in special tanks is utilised in sanitary facilities and for watering the green areas. The infrastructure also allows for installing an electric car charging station. The University is successively replacing traditional light sources with energy-saving solutions. High durability, even several dozen times greater than traditional solutions, means fewer replacements and less waste. Less heating, no emission of harmful UV radiation and a significant reduction of energy consumption contribute to a decrease in CO2 emissions. LED light sources do not contain mercury and guarantee full recycling. The use of LED lighting creates good conditions for protecting the natural environment. The University uses reproduced inks and cartridges for printing devices. Refabrication is an eco-friendly process. The utilisation of used recycled consumables reduces the amount of harmful waste. The University installed aerators in all bathrooms and kitchen taps and showers, as well as water flow reducers in toilets of its student dorms. This has led to a significant decrease in the consumption of water and energy needed to heat it. The University has been conducting the "Collect batteries – dispose waste selectively” campaign in its facilities. In the reception rooms of each University building, there are special baskets for used batteries and accumulators, which are hazardous waste. The campaign encourages proper handling of hazardous waste and promotes environmentally-friendly attitudes and habits. At the same time, the University is gradually adapting to full segregation of waste with the use of waste paper in all university facilities. Using the properly selected instruments provided for in the Public Procurement Law, the University also takes into account environmental issues in its many contract awarding procedures. The benefit of green procurement is the limited degradation of the natural environment thanks to reduced CO2 emissions, protection of natural resources, reduced amount of harmful substances emitted into the environment, more efficient use of natural resources and contribution to sustainable development.
- UniEKO educational path
On its campus, the University established and marked the path of Polish trees, made for educational and ecological purposes for both the academic community and the residents of Katowice. Its aim is to extend knowledge on native species of conifers and the symbol of Polish deciduous trees – European oak. Under the project named UniEKO, co-financed from the funds of the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Katowice, five species of Polish conifers and eleven European oaks were planted with the participation of the Katowice Forest Inspectorate. Each of the conifers is assigned to individual University Departments, which became their patrons, while oaks are assigned to doctor honoris causa of our University. The educational boards for respective trees along the path feature botanical descriptions and visualisations of their biology and morphology. Conifers are additionally described in the languages of scientific interest of selected Departments. In addition, visitors can read about the reconstruction of tree stands and functions of forests, including their economic aspects. To draw attention to environmental problems, in particular the need to use more renewable energy, the boards are lit with LED lamps powered by solar batteries.
- "Earth Hour” campaign
The University participates in the global "Earth Hour” campaign. The campaign is organised in Poland by WWF Poland. The initiative is aimed rather at promoting the care for the environment than at energy saving. Its participants around the world put out the light for an hour to express their support for the idea. The organizers hope that participation in this largest environmental campaign in the world will be an impulse for making positive changes, motivating others and promoting eco-friendly attitudes.
- "Adopt-a-bench" in the park
UEKat joined the "Adopt-a-Bench” campaign organised by the Silesian Park in Chorzów. Thanks to the University's support, a bench in the Rose Garden located in the Park has been restored. The bench regained its former splendour without the need to replace it with a new one – which is especially important for reasons of rational resource management. Also, a slogan promoting a sustainable lifestyle is placed on the bench: "Rest effectively to work productively" in two language versions: Polish and English. The Silesian Park is a place of rest for both Poles and numerous foreigners staying in Silesia, including many students from international exchange programs.