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The perfect combination of technology, innovation and environment comes together in one place: High Tech Campus Eindhoven.At HTCE, sustainability is baked into the way we do business every day, from using herds of sheep to mow grass to building and maintaining buildings with low environmental impact to promoting lifecycle circularity in the goods we use.
Sustainability is urgent.
That is why we’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal: to become the most sustainable campus in Europe by 2025. High Tech Campus will be first in the global sustainability scene, in the hope that our plan becomes the benchmark for other campuses to implement their own sustainability initiatives. But creating the most sustainable campus in Europe by 2025 … well, that takes strategic planning and major investment.
With four years to go, we’ve already incorporated innovations you won’t easily find on other campuses. Becoming the most sustainable campus in Europe isn’t just an idea. It’s a comprehensive plan that guides our efforts every day, and dozens of initiatives are already in place.
We divided our plan into three strategic pillars:
Energy is key to our plans to cut CO2 emissions. Novel steps HTCE has taken to be environmentally friendly include installing 11,000 solar panels on 30 roofs across Campus, buying 100 percent Green electricity for the Campus and installing closed water management systems and seasonal thermal energy storage systems.
There’s still more to do over the next few years, including increasing campus waste recycled to 75 from 50 percent as well as installing sensors in waste containers to ensure prompt emptying, a pilot program underway at Workplace Vitality Hub in HTC 85.
And we are forming collaborations with companies and institutes from the Brainport region that use data to create a healthy (future-proof) workplace.
For future planning, we’re exploring several new improvements in sustainable energy, including fueling stations for hydrogen-powered cars and wind turbines on or near Campus.
We’re all about biodiversity.
Yes, HTCE has made big visible investments, but sustainability is about the smallest details, down to protecting wildlife on the campus and adding plant and animal species to the ecosystem. To the casual visitor, HTCE is a research campus that feels like a park. And that’s not a coincidence.
The most obvious biodiversity initiative is the herds of sheep seen “mowing” the grass on campus. It’s not unusual for HTCE employees to wait for herds to move to the next pasture before parking in our green parking garages. Low tech, meet high tech!
But we also have counted 150 animal species on our ecological landscape and adding animal and plant species is another goal. To increase biodiversity, in spring 2021 we partnered with Brabant Water to install bat cellars. These will provide winter shelter and provide the bat population an easy route from the Dommel River, just behind HTCE.
Landscaping provider Dolmans also plants grains in the field near NXP Semiconductors HQ in the spring so birds have food in the winter. In addition, they leave reeds in the lake to provide a place for insects, waterfowl and fish to hibernate and shelter during the winter.
Other fun biodiversity initiatives include a nesting house for breeding swallows and nest boxes for birds such as the great- and the blue-tit, which eat oak processionary caterpillars that damage trees.
The Discovery Forest, near Nemo Daycare, is a new ecological initiative that promotes biodiversity. The Discovery Forest is a place where children play, enjoy nature and learn about sustainability. Children at the daycare even helped plant the trees in the forest. We put our compost machine to work and used compost made from coffee grounds and other organic waste to create the Discovery Forest.
To further contribute to the circular economy, Campus employees can take home free compost to create their own gardens. Our goal is to recycle 75% of waste by 2025, and the compost machine is helping us reach this ambitious goal.
Technology and innovation play key roles in solving global challenges, but it starts with people. Our push to become Europe’s most environmentally sustainable research campus translates into big benefits for the more than 12,500 people who work at HTCE. We’re expanding the programs and facilities they need to make their lives healthier, more productive and active.
The vitality effort started years ago when Philips installed sports fields and tennis courts. Campus management has expanded the sports opportunities and regularly organizes events to bring everyone together biking, running and competing in tennis, cricket, padel, football and other sports. Annual events include the High Tech Triathlon and High Tech Campus Run.
And, of course, the Campus Wellness Center has been part of The Strip for more than 10 years. The Wellness Center offers fitness training, personal training, group classes and nutrition training. Physiotherapy is also available. High Five Connect is a fitness platform complete with class schedules, daily activity tracking, exercise programs and pre-set workouts.
But it’s more organic than that…
Campus residents and employees love to get out of the office and enjoy its natural beauty. To encourage outdoor activity and Campus exploration, there are Fontys Consultancy – located at High Tech Plaza, our startup buildings – “Walk and Talks” for strolls around Campus with interns and “Work Walks,” special scenic routes throughout the 110-hectare park.
High Tech Campus is not just the smartest square kilometer in Europe. It’s also a living landscape, full of wildlife hidden in plain sight. Urban wildlife ecologist Nuno Curado takes groups on a “Wild Break,” a short discovery tour in search of the wild animals and plants on Campus. It gives employees the chance to disconnect from work, stretch their legs and focus on wildlife. There’s no better way to spend lunch hour on Tuesdays than taking a mini-safari and connecting with nature.
Then there’s the Workplace Vitality Hub at HTC 85, which offers space for collaborative research and development of vitality-at-work solutions enabled by smart technologies. Founding partners include Fontys, imec, TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology, High Tech Campus Eindhoven and TWICE.
With the Workplace Vitality Hub, we started the process to make our buildings conform to WELL Gold standards and BREEAM excellence standards, creating spaces that enhance the health and well-being of all employees.
We encourage sustainable transportation to, from and on Campus:
Since 2020, High Tech Campus Eindhoven has added several new restaurants, including Brave New World, where the goal is zero food waste with an emphasis on creative dishes, healthy, organic food and a mostly plant-based diet. For example, diners may choose meatballs at lunch, but the meatballs are 75% vegetables and only 25% meat.
And, of course, we go even beyond that with a Campus vegetable garden that produces herbs for the Grand Café The Lucky Swan restaurant. In fact, nearly 10 percent of all food in Campus restaurants is sourced locally, organically or purchased under Fair Trade rules, and all multi-tenant buildings serve sustainable coffee.
At HTCE, there are more than 12,500 innovators, researchers and engineers representing more than 100 nationalities. Our purpose is to offer an open, innovative culture and a welcoming, beautiful campus where we promote vitality and diversity. We feed bodies with good food and souls with inspiration and creativity to create the businesses of the future.
The ambition of High Tech Campus Eindhoven is to be the most sustainable Campus in Europe by 2025. But how are we going to achieve that? How do you become more green, vital, diverse and innovative? In the new documentary series Sustainable Campus we introduce you to our plans and initiatives in three episodes. And we hope that you (as a company/person) want to participate in this ambition.
Patents and Startups
High Tech Campus Eindhoven is known around the world as the most innovative campus and home to companies such as Royal Philips, Intel and NXP Semiconductors. We call HTCE the “smartest square kilometer in Europe,” and in 2013, Forbes named Eindhoven the world’s most inventive city with 22.6 patents filed for every 10,000 residents. In 2020, Campus resident Signify alone filed an eye-popping 691 patents!
But it’s increasingly celebrated as having created and supported the largest startup hub in the Netherlands. Many, if not most, Campus startups are focused on creating technology that is not just sustainable but also has massive social impact.
The High Tech Plaza startup hub encompasses three buildings, including HTC 27, HTC 29 and HTC 12, where a dozen companies that have launched from the HighTechXL venture building program are innovating and scaling.
Those startups include Carbyon, which has technology that removes CO2 from the atmosphere, and InnoFlex, which makes advanced equipment and materials that remove NOx from the atmosphere. Then there is Incooling, which is creating next-generation phase change cooling systems for servers and data centers.
In addition, LUMO Labs, which is both an early-stage fund and a two-year venture building program, is in HTC 6 where its startups are chosen based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Connectivity: people and technology
When you think of connectivity, telecommunications and the Internet come to mind, but at HTCE it’s a bit more holistic than that. Yes, tech is (literally) our middle name, but we also connect people to each other.
As described above, we connect people to each other when we organize sporting events or during the lunch hour at The Strip, but we also organize a wealth of other events to stimulate and expand the ecosystem.
We initiated Fe+male Tech Heroes, a diversity initiative that encourages more diversity in tech and helps make women more enthusiastic about the tech world. We sponsor Drinks, Pitches and Demos each month so the startup and tech community can come together. And we hold conferences such as High Tech Next, where global high tech companies discuss world-changing developments in the technologies of the future. We are also organizing an annual Sustainability Conference about new initiatives together with CKC seminars.
Most recently, HTCE has taken giant strides in advancing Eindhoven’s technical and digital ecosystem by adding both a 5G Hub in collaboration with Vodafone Ziggo and Ericsson and the AI Innovation Center. And we work closely with other community partners such as Brainport Eindhoven and Samen voor Eindhoven.
Recognizing the importance of moving business activities online during the pandemic, HTCE went virtual. We installed audiovisual equipment to livestream events from our 300-seat auditorium in the conference center, thereby creating a global audience for online events and reducing the carbon footprint of attendees.
We invested in new techniques and sustainability in our Conference Center at The Strip to facilitate hybrid and online meetings. Also, the rooms in the Conference Center use LiFi, tunable light, green walls of moss and furniture made of circular material.
We want Campus companies and researchers to think of HTCE not just as a business campus but as fertile ground for innovation, so we are enthusiastic about further developing living labs, although one could argue the entire natural habitat is a living lab.
Where innovation is concerned, the community is always in “pilot stage.” There are smart energy pilots, climate sensor pilots, solar cell pilots, digital twin pilots ... and that doesn’t include corporates and startups working together on pilot projects. Just like the bees making high-tech honey at the farmhouse, the living labs are always buzzing with activity.
For example, HTCE was named the first European field test lab for Flying Forward 2020, a collaborative research project to roll out a new generation of advanced autonomous aviation, such as drones, in a safe, secure and regulated way. Flying Forward 2020 will develop an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem aligned with the Digital Government Transformation of European countries. AI Innovation Center startup Serendipity leads the project.
In addition, several business cases have been initiated with partners and suppliers for developments in security (Trigion), food concepts (Eurest), mail delivery (Swiss Post) and solar panels (Forton).
In summary, High Tech Campus Eindhoven's three pillars are environmental sustainability, a great place to work for our people and accelerating innovation. But it's not about one pillar or a singular approach. We're creating a mosaic... all the pieces, big and small, to make life better, protect the environment and advance an innovative atmosphere for our community and the Netherlands as a whole.
As a center of innovation, we plan for tomorrow with the knowledge that in only a few years, much will have changed beyond what we can even imagine today. But our fundamental commitment to becoming the most sustainable research campus in Europe remains central to everything we do.