Ten years ago, a group of young Mexican professionals founded a university to address the environmental challenges that they saw in Latin America. Today, the Universidad del Medio Ambiente (UMA) offers master’s degrees, workshops, diploma courses and consulting services focused on sustainability and socio-environmental regeneration. Located in the wooded and mountainous countryside two hours outside of México City, the campus itself is also completely regenerative. UMA produces zero wastewater, grows its own food and is surrounded by a growing, edible forest. The university has also implemented green features that conserve natural resources.
With natural ventilation in classrooms, solar hot water collectors meeting 100% of hot water demand, solar panels and more, UMA expects to reduce its energy usage by more than one half. The building is projected to limit nearly 90% of water use with such solutions as a rainwater harvesting system on the roof that collects water and a black water treatment and recycling system. Innovative building materials were also used to reduce embodied energy by nearly 70%. These materials include compressed stabilized earth blocks for walls, timber window frames and more.
UMA offers a place for specialists, educators and practitioners to contribute to a more sustainable future. The university believes that each student entering their university will become an agent of change, both through personal transformation and their future career in sustainability. UMA received design guidance from a team of seven student practitioners during a university course that was facilitated by an instructor who holds an EDGE Expert credential. UMA has achieved final EDGE certification from GBCI.