By Stephen Sumpter
While in Germany we were provided to the opportunity to meet with leaders from PE International. This software company has developed two key software packages focused on improving sustainability measures. The first is the GaBi software that is used to conduct Life Cycle Assessments, which we were provided the opportunity to experience and work with first hand in Dr. Sroufe’sclass last semester. The second is SoFi, which assists companies in streamlining and improving reporting efforts for internal reports and larger programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Many students commented that it was nice to see the extent of the offerings from PE International and that what they had done for LCA was being applied to emissions reporting. Many students also expressed the interest in hands on experience using the SoFi reporting tool. Others were excited by the developments PE is working on with GaBi to make the inclusion of Environmental Product Declarations an easier and more accessible process.
Personally, our visit to Bayer at the CHEMPARK in Leverkusen was one of the trip highlights. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to intern at Bayer’s US headquarter in Pittsburgh; therefore, visiting the headquarters in Germany is something that I will never forget.
Our visit to Bayer included a tour of BayKomm and the CHEMPARK. BayKomm, also known as the Bayer Communication Center, is home to both a student laboratory as well as a exhibition rooms. A guide took us through various exhibition rooms to allow our group to learn more about the three business units: Bayer CropScience, Bayer MaterialScience, and Bayer HealthCare. CHEMPARK, an industrial park, is home to Bayer and a variety of other companies. CHEMPARK brings people andsectors together to exchange expertise, to look to the future or simply to do business.
The afternoon closed with a wonderful lunch at “The Casino”, Bayer’s on-campus restaurant.
By Catherine Papp
Some things never change. Finding Heidelberg’s cobbled streets and red roofs just as I remembered them from my semester abroad could not have evoked stronger sentiments or more pleasant memories.
It’s not just because Heidelberg is breathtakingly beautiful (the most beautiful I’ve found in all of my worldly travels, and if you look at the pictures I don’t think you’d feel it’s my bias talking), nor is it the rich history (one of the oldest buildings still standing and functional is the Ritter Hotel, built in 1592). I can’t even say it’s the romantic castle upon the hill watching over the city, where I would take a book to read in the gardens. Rather, nostalgia was having a cup of coffee at the same cafe I would frequent to people-watch, walking past the Brass Monkey where I spent endless hours watching the 2010 World Cup games, and seeing the record shop that I may have personally kept in business while building my Queen record collection.
More than anything, the best part was getting to share it with the old friends from my time there and my new friends. I can’t think of any other group of people I’d rather share my experience and excitement with than the cohort.
Today we had the opportunity to meet with sustainability leaders and ambassadors at the European Central Bank. This visit allowed us to not only relate our sustainability knowledge, but also economics since we just finished up discussing central banking systems. Our cohort had the ability to exchange ideas regarding sustainable business solutions and initiatives. The bank specifically found interest in game theory to change behavior. To gather a quick understanding of the ECB and Eurosystem here is a quick video!
Guten tag! Our business visits began today with a visit to the Passivhaus Institute, an international standard for sustainable architecture. At the institute, Passivhaus employees focus on research and development, training, certifications, passive house planning software, quality assurance, and conferences.
There are about 400,000 Passivhaus certified buildings in the world, and even more implement Passivehaus principles in their buildings. It is a growing trend in the US with 600 passivhaus buildings, mainly in New York and California.
What’s special about a passive house?
- A high level of thermal insulation
- Well insulated window frames
- Thermal bridge free construction
- Airtight building envelope
- Ventilation with efficient heat recovery
Matt Lepri had the opportunity to attend a Passivhaus conference in Pittsburgh last semester, so he was excited for the rest of the cohort to learn more. “Passivhaus gives people a new way to plan for buildings, homes or any construction,” shares Matt. “It flips the usual process to develop a plan for the structure first, then use renewables to cover the rest of the energy. It takes buildings past planning for solar panels.”
Our presenter, Adrienne, lives in a passivhaus building and shared many of the benefits, including “clean air” and an “energy savings between 75-90%”.
Overall, we had an eye-opening morning that may lead students to potential solutions for our sustainable building design project in Dr. Sroufe’s sustainable tools and innovation class. Video to learn more about Passive House!
Guten tag! For the next week we will be enjoying the German culture, taking in the sights, discovering local cuisine, and learning from Germany’s sustainability. Today a local guide took our group on a walking tour of Frankfurt to help is get our bearings. Tonight we went to a typical German restaurant with Duquesne MBA alumni, proving the international reach of Duquesne. Many of us even had our first experience with
wurst or schnitzel!
Read about Laura here! Happy to be surrounded by such inspiring people in this program.