During the planning of the New Cairo Campus, the University chose to infuse the landscape with elements of the living environment, adding nearly 150 different species of plants – a mixture of international and native Egyptian – and more than 8,000 trees. AUC’s own Desert Development Center was involved in supplying and placing the plants to lay the foundation for the campus landscape with attention to the region’s climate. With environmental sensitivity and technological savvy as two of its core principles, the University built its energy management systems strategically into the campus structure, to reduce its overall energy usage. The orientations of buildings, as well as the design of indoor and outdoor spaces, also reduce the energy requirements for cooling on campus to 40 percent. A hollow-square building design is repeated across campus in different scales, allowing as much natural light and air as possible to enter the offices, classrooms and labs from every direction. Moreover, the cooling systems are powered by natural gas instead of electricity, improving their efficiency by relieving power stations of energy they would need to produce.
Since the inception of its new campus, AUC has distinguished itself as a prominent institution leading the sustainability movement in the Middle East. For the past four years, the University has been the only higher education institution outside of North America that has been named in the Princeton Review’s Green Colleges Guide, which highlights “the most environmentally responsible green colleges.” AUC’s sustainable campus practices have even been featured in the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Greening Universities Toolkit as a global example of a green, low- carbon institution.
Established in 2011, AUC’s Office of Sustainability has been a vital force in addressing AUC’s environmental challenges and reinforcing the value of sustainability in campus culture. One of its chief accomplishments has been raising the internal community’s awareness and measuring the impact of the University’s practices through its annual Carbon Footprint Report. Moreover, AUC’s Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment has brought greenhouses and experimental plots to campus, upholding the University’s commitment to sustainable environmental education. AUC was ranked in the top third worldwide in the University of Indonesia’s GreenMetric World University Ranking for two years in a row, validating its continuous efforts to improve energy efficiency and implement sustainability initiatives on campus.