Sustainability practices

The UWI has fully embraced sustainability as a priority, not only in research and teaching, but also in our institutional practices.

Our activist response to climate change, world-class research, and focus on strengthening the Caribbean's resilience reflect our commitment to sustainable solutions.

How are we moving closer towards the UN's sustainable climate action goals for 2030? Through:

  • campus-based projects
  • engaging with global partners.

Project highlights

Solar PV and Biogas Technology: Cave Hill Campus, Barbados

At Cave Hill, since 2017 the campus has been conducting training workshops in Solar PV and Biogas Technology involving various industries and the agricultural sector. Since 2015, the Campus has also had an electric vehicle charging station, which was introduced as part of its Green Campus Initiative.

Co-generation plant and solar panels: Mona Campus, Jamaica

Another significant project is the Mona campus’ co-generation plant. Co-generation is a more thermo-dynamically efficient use of fuel that generates electricity and makes use of the thermal energy produced in fuel combustion, for heating and cooling purposes. This has resulted in major cost savings for the Campus.

Solar panels have been installed on the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ building and on student accommodation halls. A rooftop garden has also been created on the building and water is sourced from underground wells. The Solid State Electronics Research Laboratory in the campus’ Department of Physics has focused on the utilisation of alternate energy sources through photovoltaic cells.

Wind-generated electricity: Jamaica

With the assistance of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, the Physics Department is also assessing the use of wind-generated electricity in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. The first phase of that project has been completed and plans are underway to investigate the feasibility of developing Wind Farms in some areas of this parish, known as the “bread basket” of Jamaica because of its focus on agriculture.

The Caribbean’s First Net-Zero Building (NZEB): Jamaica

Mona also became home to the Caribbean region’s first Net-Zero Building (NZEB). Constructed in 2017, the project served as a prototype for the construction of similar structures in the region.

This was made possible with a US$2,361,000 grant and in-kind contributions from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), with the technical assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which totalled US$7,461,000 in support.

Why Net Zero Buildings?

In a country plagued with changing rainfall patterns and drought, the campus has long faced water challenges. Net zero buildings:

  • Produce enough renewable energy to match their energy consumption requirements.
  • Reduce energy consumption by 40%.
  • Save up to 30% in water consumption.
  • Adapt to local climate conditions.
  • Provide greater resilience to natural disasters.
  • Can be used as emergency shelters.
  • Encourage the implementation of appropriate regulatory, educational and technical tools that will mainstream lessons and transform opportunities for promoting energy efficiency.
  • Can increase the use of renewable energy sources across the Caribbean.

St Augustine Campus, Trinidad

The UWI St. Augustine has implemented numerous projects aimed at daily lifestyle changes on campus. It:

  • Is transitioning towards instituting a no-single-use plastic zone
  • Started installing water coolers in strategic locations to replace bottled water.
  • Installed the first level two Electric Vehicle 230-volt Charging Station on the campus, through private-sector partnerships to help reduce the campus’ carbon footprint.

About our first, electronic charging stations

Focused on being climate smart, the Trinidad campus also:

  • Offers public workshops promoting sustainable practices.
  • Conducts ongoing research in geothermal energy, solar thermal energy, solar photovoltaic and wind energy.

Students champion policy

In 2019, the Guilds of Students successfully presented ‘The University of the West Indies Environmental Protection and Sustainability Policy’ to the University Council.

Based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this policy holds The UWI to its agreement to take action and contribute to protecting the Caribbean region.

Having already rolled out numerous initiatives across its campuses, The UWI will also uphold these five policy goals.

Five policy goals
  • Conserving and reducing the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources.
  • Managing the production and disposal of all forms of waste and promoting the principles of a circular economy.
  • Save up to 30% in water consumption.
  • Promoting the purchase of products, services and resources that have least impact on the environment across their life cycle.
  • Encouraging sustainable use and management of its indoor and outdoor facilities and spaces; integrate the values of sustainable development into its courses, programmes and all educational initiatives.
  • Becoming a symbol of the Caribbean’s commitment to environmental sustainability.