American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Office of Environmental Policy

Office of Environmental Policy

In keeping with AUCA’s Mission to develop enlightened and impassioned leaders and to have a transformational impact on Central Asia for generations to come, AUCA commits itself to environmental stewardship and leadership. Respect and care for the environment, sustainable living, and intergenerational responsibility and leadership are among the fundamental values that guide our planning and decision-making. The University believes that all individuals in this academic community have personal responsibility for the way their actions affect the local, regional and global environment.


The AUCA Board of Trustees and administration recognizes the importance of bringing innovative and environmentally responsible practices to developing our new campus and our community in Bishkek.  The Board and Administrators considered the environmental implications in the design, development, construction, and operation of our new campus infrastructure, grounds, and buildings.  We believed it was and continues to be our responsibility to show how a contemporary building can and should be constructed, even if it does not result in short-term financial payback.


The new AUCA campus was designed to demonstrate new building practices for Central Asia, where building codes are essentially unchanged from Soviet building codes of the 1970s.  Constructing a 21st-century building presented a host of challenges but, we are proud to say, that we created an exceptionally innovative campus that we hope will be a model for Central Asia.


We created a teaching and learning space that is efficient in terms of its footprint by insisting that every space in the building serves multiple purposes.  We designed a 175,000 sq. foot building, which provides the functionality normally provided in three or four separate buildings on many U.S. campuses, but created an environment designed to allow and maximize the greatest positive of a campus – the serendipitous engagement of students, faculty, and administrators in a semi-formal context.


We designed and incorporated a host of innovative building techniques to ensure that our building is something to learn from, not merely to learn in.  To demonstrate AUCA’s commitment to energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources, we incorporated a geothermal heating and cooling system, the first of its kind in a public building in Central Asia.  Had we built to the code set forth by the Kyrgyz State Agency on Construction and Architecture, the building would consume an estimated 4,189,561 kWh of electrical energy for heating and cooling per year, but by using a renewable energy source such as geothermal we will reduce our electrical energy consumption to approximately 600,000 kWh per year. This decision required a significant up-front investment, because the Kyrgyz government keeps energy prices artificially low.


The building's open layout with tall exterior windows allows an abundance of Kyrgyzstan's sun light to flood the building to reduce electrical consumption for lighting. The building's heavily insulated exterior skin and high performance glazing reduces heating and cooling loads.  We incorporated an ancient and efficient technique used in traditional Kyrgyz building to create an internal chimney that naturally vents hot air from the building from roof skylights during the summer.


To practice innovative sustainability, we created little waste during construction and leveraged every available resource.  The design and construction of the campus building and site incorporated the rocks unearthed in the excavation of the basement and foundations into the exterior cladding.  Future plans include  installing the first efficient underground drip irrigation system in the area; and, learning from our partner school in the United States, Bard College, we plan to create a sustainable farm on our campus, including the first hydroponic greenhouse in Kyrgyzstan, powered by our geothermal system.


AUCA is committed to environment leadership and education and intends to share our campus, its plans and our experience to anyone in the region who wants to learn from we have done.  AUCA offers a program in Ecology and Sustainable Development and uses the development and design of the building as a textbook in our course on sustainable building practices; and, our farm will be a textbook for a course in sustainable agriculture. Finally, we will hold seminars for builders and state officials on the campus to demonstrate how innovative construction in Central Asia can lead the way to a more sustainable future in a region that suffers from chronic energy shortages.



Consequently, if anyone in the community has any grievance  with anything relating to AUCA’s policies regarding the environment and sustainability, please do not hesitate to contact the :

Environmental Sustainability Officer, Dr. Zheenbek Kulenbekov at or at +996 (312) 915020.

All grievances will be responded to within 7 days.


Environmental Management and Sustainable Development


American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028