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Climate guide

source: Caroline Bittermann

How we can make everyday life at the Berlin University of the Arts more climate friendly

The fight against climate change and to promote sustainability demands a fundamental change of attitude in politics and society. With this in mind, the glossary below is by no means designed to imply that the climate crisis can be prevented by everyone using recycled coffee cups, separating their waste and switching off the lights, while political players and the business world carry on as before. The problem can only be partially solved by individuals or consumers changing their behaviour. However, this is something that we can do ourselves by making simple decisions every day. So why wait?

With this glossary, the “AG Klima” group at the Berlin University of the Arts aims to attract attention to the opportunities available for making our campus and its environment as climate friendly as possible. We also welcome any feedback about University of the Arts sustainability tips that we might have overlooked, or about problem areas when it comes to sustainability and/or climate sensitivity that you feel need to be urgently tackled by someone at the Berlin University of the Arts.

For all members

What we can already do:


Cargo bike

A cargo bike is easy to borrow free of charge from the “fLotte” University bike hire service. The aim is to have one available starting in March 2021 at Joseph’s on the Bundesallee. If no cargo bikes are available, you can borrow one, or a bike trailer, from the General Students’ Committee (“AStA”) of the Berlin Technical University.

Bike workshop

If your bike needs repairing, you can bring it to Einsteinufer 25. There, you’ll find “unirad”, the self-help bike workshop run by the Berlin Technical University, which offers the use of a wide range of tools, help from experts and if necessary, all kinds of replacement parts at low cost.

Public transport (“Öffis”)

As students, you all have a semester ticket that allows you to ditch the car and travel on public transport.

Hire bikes

If you don’t have a bike of your own, but want to use one occasionally, you can hire one from unirad or from various bike sharing providers. NextBike, for example, offers a student tariff (€5 per month with 30 free minutes, thereafter €1 per 30 minutes).

Study and business trips

If you are planning a study or business trip, first check in general whether it is necessary, or look for climate-friendly alternatives (such as online meetings). If travel is important, check which mode of transport is the most climate friendly option. A bicycle is better than a car, and the train is better than a plane. When travelling by car, take other passengers with you who are heading to the same destination.

Also, you can sign a voluntary agreement by University of the Arts members in which you declare that in future, for journeys covering a distance of less than 1,000 km or lasting less than 12 hours, you will refrain from travelling by plane.

If there is no other option but to fly, then make a positive contribution by compensating for the emissions produced.

Food and drink


In many University of the Arts buildings, you get a discount on your coffee when you bring your own cup (in the canteen and canteen outlets), as well as at coffee machines. The coffee machine in Lietzenburgerstrasse has a separate button for users who bring their own cup.
Some machines (e.g. in the cellar in Bundesallee) do not have a special button. However, if you simply place your cup into the machine, it will be identified as such - unless your cup is made of glass.
Many student cafés at Berlin Technical University (TU Berlin) take sustainability seriously. For example, Café A sells only FairTrade organic coffee, which is transported in a climate-neutral way by sailing vessel.


Some cafeterias and canteens still have some improvements to make, but there is always the option of choosing a vegetarian meal. For example, you’ll find a reliable source of vegan dishes at the vegan canteen at Berlin Technical University (Hardenbergstr. 34).

What are your tips for vegan/sustainable food sources near the University? Send your recommendations to klima_


Search engine

You can set Ecosia as your standard search engine. With Ecosia, on average, a new tree is planted for every 45th search enquiry. Tip: Ecosia also has search tags. If you need to conduct a second search via Google, simply add “#g”, and you’ll be taken to Google. Or add “#w” for Wikipedia.

Digital meetings

Conferences without video (just with sound) can save up to 96% of energy.

Green e-mail providers

You can use, for example, for anonymous, sustainable e-mail post boxes.

Exchange and repair

Clothes and kitchen appliances

The “Umsonst-Laden ULA” on Einsteinufer 25 is the brainchild of students at the Technical University. If you have any appliances/items of clothing to spare, which are in good condition, simply leave them at the store.

Music scores

There is a box for donating music scores at the gate on Bundesallee. Here, you can give your old scores that you no longer need a new lease of life, or look for scores that might be of interest to you.


You can buy materials at low cost from the addresses below - and also bring materials along that you no longer use.

Repairing items is always better than throwing them away and buying new ones. If you need to repair appliances, take them to the Repair Café at the Berlin Technical University.


There’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to rubbish (see “What still needs to be done”). Even so, some information is available on rubbish separation, which has been compiled by the Freie Universität Berlin. Perhaps you can separate your rubbish elsewhere, if this is not fully possible at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Bulky material

Do you want to dispose of larger items? Then it would be great if you could first ask whether they are needed elsewhere. You can take your material to a material storage area (see Exchange and repair). An internal material exchange system is being developed at the University of the Arts.

What still needs to be done:

We want to make it possible to separate rubbish at all locations (residual waste/organic waste, green dot/yellow bin bag, paper). Battery collection boxes should also be installed. There are more material exchange systems for the fine arts/design/stage/costume design being developed. Stay tuned!

Are there any sustainability tips for the University environment that we have forgotten? What steps are urgently needed for greater sustainability at the Berlin University of the Arts?

Do you have any questions? Send your tips, questions or feedback to klima_

For the Administration, teachers and all interested parties

What we can already do:


Office furniture

When buying new office furniture, check the sustainability certificates provided by the suppliers. For example, Hali, a furniture producer from Austria, operates in a climate-neutral way. Using furniture that is already available is even more sustainable.


For climate-friendly printing, in the office and for teaching, you can buy climate-friendly printing paper or use recycled paper. Often, certain documents can also be issued or submitted digitally in order to minimise paper use.

Flyer and magazine displays

Is everything that is shown in the flyer and magazine displays really relevant to University members? Perhaps the subscription to some magazines can be cancelled, or they can be offered digitally.

Green IT

When buying new devices, ensure that they have a long service life.

Rubbish separation and disposal

Paper/envelopes/envelopes with and without a window can be disposed of as waste paper. One tip from the Freie Universität Berlin: “It might seem odd at first that envelopes with windows can be disposed of as waste paper. However, this is possible, since during the recycling process, the old paper is macerated to form pulp. The windows can then be easily removed from this pulp. Naturally, it would be ideal if the windows were to be separated from the envelopes first and disposed of separately in the yellow bin.”


Radiators and lights should be turned down or switched off before leaving the University building. If new light bulbs need to be purchased, it must be ensured that they are low-energy bulbs.

What still needs to be done:


Check whether a digital in-house mail system can be set up. The digitalisation of work processes (contracts, holiday applications, voting documents, certificates, etc.) and the acceptance of digital signatures, should be driven forward as a way of saving on the resources and energy needed for printing. Furthermore, countless “tests” used for individuals working from home could be established as standard procedure.

For the University post, a CO2-neutral delivery service should be found.

Also, the establishment of an in-house University exchange system for passing on furniture and office items that are no longer needed would be desirable.

University kitchens

When buying washing up liquid, cloths, eco-friendly dishwasher tabs, etc., it must be ensured that they are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Subscriptions make it possible to deliver sustainable dishwasher tabs, cloths, washing up liquid and sponges on a weekly or monthly basis.

Soap dispensers can be installed in the kitchens in order to produce less waste. A similar holder can also be attached for washing up liquid (such as the soap dispensers in the toilets of the Berlin University of the Arts).


The installation of timer switches for lights, electronic devices and heating appliances should be driven forward, since this has been proven to reduce energy consumption, and saves money in the long term.

Are there any sustainability tips for the University environment that we have forgotten? What steps are urgently needed for greater sustainability at the Berlin University of the Arts?

Do you have any questions? Send your tips, questions or feedback to klima_