Sustainability Projects @Ciências

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Ciências has several projects underway that promote sustainability within its campus and in the surrounding area. These projects refer to different dimensions of sustainability, namely the economic (energy efficiency) and the environmental (promotion of biodiversity) dimensions.

Regarding the energy dimension, the Solar campus serves a testing ground for the characterisation and experimentation of solar energy systems in real conditions. Also noteworthy are the Test laboratory for low-cost housing thermal insulation systems and the laboratory for studying natural ventilation solutions in indoor environments (Natural ventilation laboratory project).

In the field of biodiversity and ecosystem services, Ciências, in collaboration with the curricular course of plant ecology, has been sampling all plant species and labelling the main tree species on campus since 2004.

In order to expand this knowledge, the project +Biodiversity @CIÊNCIAS, winner of the Ciências 2019 Ideas for Sustainability Internal Competition, is underway. This project is now quantifying and mapping biodiversity within the campus and its surroundings, taking into account its importance and its role in providing ecosystem services essential for human well-being. The scope of these services includes the regulation of air quality by green spaces. In this context, the RESPIIRA (Air Quality) project uses low cost sensors and epiphytic lichens to monitor air quality on campus and its surroundings. Green roofs are another nature-based solution to improve water regulation in cities and the thermal regulation of buildings, and the Ciências Green Roof project investigates the use of drought-tolerant species, better suited to the Mediterranean climate

Ciências is also promoting actions that directly improve biodiversity and ecosystem services within the campus. Permalab is an example of one of those actions. Being located within the campus, Permalab promotes and demonstrates permaculture practices, exploring the use of various techniques to improve the provision of diverse ecosystem services, in a transdisciplinary and transformative action-research environment. The FCULresta project has a direct and very significative intervention on the campus, by transforming an old lawn into a mini-forest with a high density of plants. This transformation will take place in a short time, and involves dozens of Ciências volunteers.