UNI-ECO Green Challenges come to life

Posted on: 21 June 2022

UNI-ECO has been a successful three-year initiative to share learnings and improve campus sustainability by working together with four partner Universities: University of Montpellier, Utrecht University, University of Barcelona and Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest. One strand of the UNI-ECO project is the support of “Green Challenge” projects proposed and carried out by teams of students and/or staff.

Each year, five green challenge projects were supported by the UNI-ECO project team at Trinity. For 2021-22, the call for project proposals went out in the autumn with twelve proposals received from teams of staff and students from across campus. The UNI-ECO Advisory Group had the difficult task of choosing five projects for support from among a diverse and positive range of ideas.

Former Registrar and Professor in Zoology Paula Murphy has been key to the successes of UNI-ECO, as she spearheaded the initiative and coordinated alongside the partner universities.  Paula adds:


We have the ingenuity of our students and staff to thank for these incremental yet important steps toward a more efficient, regenerative campus structure.  With the dedication and passion they display, I feel confident UNI-ECO has left its mark on Trinity and we’ll continue to see the benefits in years to come.


Meet the excellent Green Challenge projects supported in 2022:

Emphasising the advantages of switching to LED lighting

James Mc Loughlin leads this team and is assisted by colleagues Alan O’Meara and Patrick Flanagan, all technical staff in the School of Physics.  The objective of this project is to highlight the advantages of switching from incandescent or fluorescing lighting to LED lighting in a lecture theatre, office, workshop, laboratory, or building lobby within a university campus.

The team ran an effective communications campaign and developed a freely available online tool to calculate the predicted savings from a specific replacement scenario. The project also exemplified the benefits through an upgrade of the Physics mechanical workshop.  Check out the calculator for yourself at this link.


The 2USE team members are Kana Hirano, Hannah Thorne, Laura Roos Fraga and Georgina Farrelly. Kana, Hannah and Laura are postgraduate students undertaking the Master’s Programme in Digital Marketing, while Georgina is a final year student in Economic and Social Studies. The project aims to establish an online platform for the exchange of used goods with a communications plan to increase awareness and encourage engagement with the platform. The team have engaged with more than 200 respondents in an initial survey and has been communicating widely including through the UNI-ECO Living Lab. The online platform will allow students to manage goods exchange, encouraging sustainable practices that are also cost-saving.


Cold Storage Challenge

This team is made up of Camilla Roselli and Guillaume Thuery, both PhD students in the School of Genetics and Microbiology. The project aims to raise awareness about the energy consumption of freezers in research labs, introduce a competitive incentive to get staff and students interested in reducing the energy used and share ideas to improve freezer efficiency and decrease their energy consumption.


Adding Biodiversity via Practical Gardens on Unused Rooftops

Dr Jonathan Peters and Assistant Prof Lewys Jones from the School of Physics lead this project which aims to add much-needed biodiversity to the East end campus by planting native wildflowers in containers on accessible rooftops. This area of the campus has no green spaces and appropriate native plating here has the potential to be very beneficial as a smart use of space, and successful at raising awareness as well.



The team is made up of Charles Crowley, Dong Li Wu and Luke Duggan, all postgraduate students of Applied Social Data Science. The objective of their project is to create a website that calculates the carbon emissions from cloud data storage, providing solutions for reducing cloud use. They are currently carrying out a survey and hope to reach as many students as possible.

Following a review of progress on the projects in May, two teams represented Trinity at the UNI-ECO Summer School in Utrecht June 6th to 10th. Presentations on the LED lighting project and the 2USE project at the Summer School emphasised the scalability and replicability of these projects on other campuses across the European network.

A special thank you to all the staff and students that have contributed to the UNI-ECO project over the past few years.





Media Contact:

Katie Byrne | Public Affairs and Communications | katie.s.byrne@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4168