The development of urban infrastructure represents one of the main causes of environmental degradation. Prior to 1950, two out of three people worldwide lived in rural areas; now, slightly more than half of the world population is urban. The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030 estimates that five out of eight people will be living in cities. Therefore, a proper monitoring of infrastructure development is critical for environmental management.
According to intercensal estimate by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 5.12 million people lived in 2015 in Nuevo Leon, of which 87 percent is comprised within the Monterrey metropolitan area. The remaining 13 percent of inhabitants live in more than 30 non-metropolitan municipalities.
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León is the most important higher education institution in the state and northern Mexico, having a current enrollment of 190,169 students, which involves great demand for infrastructure at its six university campuses.
A significant part of UANL infrastructure is located within the metropolitan area of Monterrey. However, the initiatives to reach most of the population in the state and stimulate the decentralization process in its campus expansion have lead to a greater infrastructure development in non-metropolitan municipalities, which raises an adverse situation concerning urbanization levels and land use (residential, municipal, or forest). For this reason, UANL strengthens its efforts to implement better standards and environmental practices on designing, building, equipping, and operating new expansions and improvements in its facilities.
In this regard, the Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sustainability has issued a technical guideline with recommendations on the following aspects: building orientation, insulation, exhaust ventilation, green areas, occupancy sensor, water and energy efficiency, lighting, air conditioning, air quality, large windows, green roofs, and retention surfaces, among others. The objective is to integrate environmental criteria and standards to the Development Master Plans of the Department of Construction and Maintenance regarding new building construction or facility renovation, which has enabled more than 80 percent of the UANL schools and entities to attain high-efficiency air conditioning and lighting.
Center for Environmental Research and Sustainability (CIAS)
In order to propose solutions to the efficient use of water, electricity, air, and land by means of science and technology development, UANL established the Center for Environmental Research and Sustainability, which is in its final stage of construction.
The CIAS is a research entity that will act as a regional touchstone of environmental communication and sustainable development, focusing on the search for better alternatives to solving the environmental issues in northeastern Mexico.
Center for Environmental Research and Sustainability
UANL is investing more than 90 million pesos in the CIAS construction in an area of 3,500 square meters, equipping it with solar panels, wind turbines, green roof, and laboratories of geomatics, climatology, toxicology, environmental risk, calibration and maintenance of measurement instruments, and air, water, and ground quality. In addition, it will have offices, libraries, conference room, maintenance area, parking lot, green areas, as well as areas for researchers, research assistants, and learning service students.
Center for Research in Biotechnology and Nanotoxicology
With an initial investment of more than 200 million pesos, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon established the Center for Research in Biotechnology and Nanotoxicology to address health and environmental issues through the creation of knowledge, technology innovation, education, and professional consulting to the industry.
The master plan is composed of a sustainable three-floor building with 50 laboratories, auditorium, library, conference room, and offices, among other spaces for science, administration, and leisure, resulting in a surface area of 5,200 square meters.
Adopting sustainable principles, this new university area has been specially equipped for solar energy use and water efficiency.
The mission of the center is to create state-of-the-art knowledge in biotechnology and nanotoxicology with a solid emphasis on the solution of modern social problems, such as air quality, water, and food, for contributing to sustainability and health.
Its vision is to become a research center whose contributions to biotechnology and nanotoxicology will have social relevance in the scientific and technology advancement of education, industry, sustainability and health.
The objectives of the center are listed below:
- To offer technical services, consulting, and assistance to the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, and veterinary industries in environmental protection.
- To help educate multidisciplinary and innovative human resources in fields related to biotechnology and nanotoxicology.
- To conduct cutting-edge scientific and technological research to develop new chemicals from isolated biological compounds of our flora.
Center for Internationalization
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon established the Center for Internationalization as a strategy to successfully improve its institutional internationalization process.
An investment of 128 million pesos was allocated to build this center, which is home to the Office of the Vice President for International Relations, the Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Sustainability, the Department of Academic Exchange, the Department of Accreditation and International Evaluation, and the Center for Asian Studies.
The center is located in an intelligent and sustainable two-floor building of 7,773 square meters that includes a flag display area, the International Advisory Board and the Institutional Committee of International Relations meeting rooms, an ambassador room, a chancellor room, interactive map of Nuevo Leon, a virtual campus tour room, 4 distance learning classrooms, and 5 units for international cooperation organizations.