Hospitality Industry
5 min read

Building a greener future at EHL Hospitality Business School

Noémie Danthine
Written by
Sustainable living goes beyond the classrooms and our new campus has been designed to reflect that. We want our students to understand that sustainability is a complex subject that requires careful consideration and planning of resources. However, every little step that we can take helps contribute to the bigger picture, and we hope our students will bring this perspective wherever they go.

Smart name, smart change

2022 marks a new chapter in the evolution of our remarkable School.

At the beginning of the year, we adopted a smart new name, l’Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne transformed itself into EHL Hospitality Business School, and like anything smart these days technology and sustainability have become interconnected concepts, a mindset we have embraced during the  planning ot our School's growth. For EHL this especially refers to our campuses, the environments in which we teach our cohort of future hospitality and business leaders.

 

 

New EHL Campus Lausanne: Welcoming a "smart" generation of students

2022 also marks a milestone in the history of EHL with the extension of our campus in Lausanne (25,000m2 to 80,000m2). Opening its doors to a modern school, adapted to the expectations of the students and attentive to climate and environmental issues.

Our commitment to sustainability is more than a shrewd business decision based on consumer trends, it is a commitment to our future, the future of our children, grandchildren and so on, via the longevity of our precious school. The Premier Grand Cru of Hospitality Management education, ranked the best in the world, should be protected at all costs as part of the hospitality ecosystem, therefore we must really walk the walk when it comes to our social and environmental mission if we want to talk the talk.

The new campus encourages a sustainable lifestyle and offers a true natural ecosystem with an organic orchard, the presence of about 300 trees and 5,500 shrubs of local species, the creation of an educational garden of 2,500 m2 that allows students to understand the concept of seasonality and the importance of short circuit.

Unveiling the new eco-certified Campus Lausanne

A jewel of sustainable architecture, EHL Campus Lausanne offers an exceptional environment to live, work and study, while creating a sense of openness with the natural environment and local community, where spontaneous interactions between students, professors and professionals can happen. The new Campus Lausanne stays true to its traditional roots of learning excellence, while offering glimpses of the future of learning and of the hospitality industry.

The construction was a 5-year labour of love, costing a notable 250 million Swiss Francs and more than tripling the Campus square footing to 80,000m2. The new Minergie-P© certified campus gets 80% of its heating powered by 44 geothermal probes buried 400 meters deep, an innovative wastewater heat recovery system and high-end insulation to reduce heat loss. Whilst 80% of its electricity is powered by renewable energy including 3,000 ft2 of photovoltaic solar panels, an area equivalent to three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

EHL has received the label “Carbon neutral event” from consultancy agency SouthPole for the inauguration of its new Campus in Lausanne!

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Off-setting carbon emissions from the campus construction

With any big building project, there will be carbon emissions from the fabrication of the building materials to the tools and machinery used to construct buildings. The estimated carbon footprint for the construction of the new EHL Campus Lausanne is 16,380 tons of CO2. The price of this amount varies depending on the projects chosen and the price on the carbon market.

EHL wants to expand and transform responsibly, leaving no trace behind except for the knowledge we impart on generations of young hoteliers. Currently 58% of the carbon emissions produced during the construction have been off-set, with the goal of reaching 100% by 2024, spreading the cost over 4 years.

We have chosen to off-set carbon emissions by purchasing carbon certificates from two companies; SouthPole and Climeworks, climate change activism specialists that help businesses achieve their net-zero ambitions through investment in sustainability projects. The certificates attest to the investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in Switzerland and Singapore.

 

Projects to offset the construction emissions

  • Climeworks: Carbon dioxide capture directly from the air. When the removed air is combined with underground storage, it allows the permanent removal of excess and legacy CO₂ emissions, which can no longer contribute to climate change.
  • Southpole: forest management and protection project in Switzerland - reminiscent of the EHL Campus Passugg which is surrounded by nature.
  • Southpole: LED installation project in EHL Campus (Singapore).

 

The advantages of an ecological campus for learning outcomes

All EHL Campus’ must hold a mirror up to the real working world of the hospitality sector in order for students to gain a truly world beating Swiss-style dual education. A dual education system switches seamlessly between the theory and practical in order to solidify students’ learnings in the application of new skills improving youth employability.

Whilst one of the major issues for the hospitality sector today is sustainability, it’s critical that at EHL we teach students about sustainability in order to train the hospitality leaders of tomorrow to make eco-friendly decisions in their future roles, but also to create a pseudo-environment which is in line with what they would expect to find in places of work and their personal values.

Therefore, it was high on the agenda for the campus design to offer students a lifestyle which is friendly to the environment, as such there is renewable technology integrated throughout the establishment. Sustainability is a topic touched on across the syllabus at EHL as well as dedicated modules and it’s a topic that students care fervently about!

 

Designed by students, for students

The planning for the new campus started a decade ago, in 2012. In line with EHL’s forward-looking spirit, a central idea was to include the younger generation and students’ feedback in the design by calling for proposals from architectural and landscape design schools through a vast worldwide competition. The winning team was invited to EHL to work closely with professional architects and engineers on everything from design work and budgeting to securing building permits, for over two years. Since the younger generations tend to have a heightened awareness for sustainability, it was always going to be at the forefront of the new campus design.

 

Standout features of the new EHL Campus Lausanne 

Food and Beverage (F&B)

4,000 students can be on site and there are now 12 food outlets (some open to the public) including a new high-end brasserie and a vegan restaurant. Each outlet provides a great opportunity to teach our preparatory-year students to learn the impact of food and the respect for the ingredients used. By opening some outlets to the public, we contribute to raising awareness to our local community. We also partner with several companies to track and measure food waste:  

  • KITRO provides artificial intelligence bins to scan wasted food and,   
  • Beelong which helps us to measure the environmental impact of the food we use – both founded by alumni in EHL’s start-up Incubator.

Both are founded by alumni and Beelong currently holds its offices in EHL’s start-up Incubator.

 

Instructional Garden & Organic Orchard 

The orchard is now home to a variety of local species, contributing to the harmony of the natural ecosystem that surrounds the campus. Inspired by the concept of permaculture, we planted around 300 new trees, 5,500 shrubs, 400 grapevines and put in place 6 beehives with 250,000 bees. The creation of an educational garden of 2,500 m2 allows students to understand the concept of seasonality and the importance of short circuit.

 

Sports Facilities 

Sustainability is also about health and well-being. Our sports facilities ensure our students and staff have every opportunity to feel good throughout their time at EHL. A 25-meter swimming pool has been built as well as a wellness area with a sauna and a cold bath, a multipurpose sports hall, petanque, tennis and beach volleyball courts, and 2km of running track around the school.  

 

La Ferme  

An iconic building where students new and old have passed many good moments in their downtime. La Ferme, which dates back to approximately 1750, has had an architectural update along with new facilities within, whilst keeping its traditional swiss facade - therefore remaining an emblem of EHL student life for many years to come.  This is a place where students of every nationality and background can mix and come together, fostering a feeling of belonging for our diverse community.

 

Transportation 

There is now space for 30 electric vehicle charge points on campus as well as 250 parking spaces for students to securely leave their bikes. Promoting a healthier and more eco-friendly way for students to get around. 

 

Welcome home!

 
Written by

Director of Strategy & Sustainability

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