From 21 April to 5 May, the entrance hall of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) will be displaying the exhibition "Simbiosi Industrial: revaloritzem els recursos sobrants" (Industrial Symbiosis: revaluing spare resources). The exhibition focuses on the promotion of collaborative economy. The exhibition is an initiative by the city councils of Sabadell, Sant Quirze del Vallès and Barberà del Vallès whose objective is to improve, through symbiosis, the efficiency with which resources are used in companies. The itinerant exhibition will be on display together with a sample of projects conducted by the research groups at ICTA-UAB which focus on the different perspectives of symbiosis and circular economy.
Symbiosis is a business strategy directed at improving efficiency in the use of resources, reducing the cost of production processes, increasing benefits, and minimising the generation of residues through the commercial exchange of surplus or by-products and the sharing of actives, logistics and experiences. Considering today's economic crisis and shortage of natural resources, the concept of industrial symbiosis related to a circular economy and industrial ecology presents itself as an important opportunity to improve on economic efficiency, environmental sustainability and business competitiveness.
The exhibition forms part of the agreement signed by the city councils of Sabadell, Sant Quirze del Vallès and Barberà del Vallès as part of the programme "Territoris en simbiosi: Polígons d'activitat econòmica" (Territories in Symbiosis: economic activity estates).
It includes a set of good practices and examples of activities conducted by companies in the Vallès Occidental region. The ICTA-ICP building is one of these cases. Since October 2014, this building meets high energy efficiency standards and reflects the open and transparent work environment that is characteristic of this institute. The building was made using renewable and recycled materials, and includes LED lights and rainwater for its irrigation system and grey waters, as well as a geothermal system which minimises the energetic consumption levels needed for the air conditioning and heating systems.
As part of the Fertilecity Project (www.fertilecity.com) and from a circular economy perspective, the ICTA-ICP building also has a rooftop greenhouse, where the Urban Agricultural Laboratory (LAU) is located. This is the first rooftop greenhouse to be fully integrated into the building. This integration facilitates an exchange of energy, water and CO2 between the building and the greenhouse which results in an increase in the efficiency of both systems.
In the past twenty years, the UAB has strived to promote and conserve the natural environment, saving water and energy, and applying ecological criteria to all requests for tender, management of water, and in many other sectors of the university. Industrial symbiosis concepts have been introduced, first in PhD programmes and then in graduate programmes, where the university offers specialisations in industrial ecology.
The UAB is currently 14th worldwide and 1st in Spain according to the GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities, published by the University of Indonesia. The ranking compares the efforts made towards sustainability and eco-friendly management policies put into practice by universities from around the world. In 2015, the UAB campus was awarded recognition by the London-based journal DesignCurial, a leading publication in the architectural and design sector. It ranked the UAB as the world's most ecological university based on sustainable architecture criteria, the use of innovative “green” technologies and on other ecological initiatives carried out by higher education institutions.