Ecological Cycle Management at Valley View University in Accra / Ghana


In the ecological master plan the concepts for utilization were set out in a way that they are reasonably connected and agree with ecology. One common goal is to as much as possible keep the campus free of traffic. The infrastructure is arranged decentralised in order to be flexible enough to react on changes in the concept and general conditions. The buildings are arranged in a way that their diverse matter flows complement each other. The collected matter flows are used in agriculture for which a vast adjacent area was demarcated on the campus. On the west side of the campus along the main road from Accra to Dodowa a hospital and a commercial area is set out for examples of ecological users.

The VVU is becoming the first ecological university of Africa. Since 2001 an ecological concept has been developed, which serves as a regional and international pilot example and can be an example for other countries and places. On the area permanent dynamic landscapefunctions developes, simultaneously integrating multifunctional activities of various stakeholders and enabling economic activities too.

The master plan offers a frame for an area-and energy-saving architectural and town-planning layout and closed nutrient and water cycles. Synergetically various ways of utilization are possible, that also support water and nutrient exchange with the local economy.

The concepts are realised in co-operation with this partners:

Berger-Biotechnik GmbH
Dipl.-Ing. Wolfgang Berger
Bogenstr. 17, D-20144 Hamburg

Bauhaus-University Weimar (BUW)
Fundamentals of Ecological Planning and Building
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Detlef Glücklich
Bauhausstrasse 7b, D 99423 Weimar

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Heinemannstr. 2, D - 53175 Bonn
Telefon: +49 (0) 228 99 57-0 Telefax: +49 (0) 228 99 57-83601

University Hohenheim (UHOH)
Prof. Dr. Joachim SauerbornD-70593 Stuttgart
Telefon: +49 (0) 711 - 459-2385
Telefax: +49 (0) 711 - 459-3629

Ecological Engineering Society (IÖV)
Dipl.-Ing. Gunther Geller
Postfach 102229, D - 86012 Augsburg
Völkstraße 3, D - 86150 Augsburg
Telefon: +49 (0) 821 - 575165
Telefax: +49 (0) 821 - 582472

Palutec GmbH
Dipl.-Ing. Gunhild Höner
Postfach 102234, D-86150 Augsburg
Telefon: +49 (0) 821 589 5871
Telefax: +49 (0) 821 543 1965

Valley View University (VVU)
Dr. Seth Laryea, Valley View University President
Mr. Emmanuel Kwandahor, Direktor of Physical Plant
P.O. Box KA 9358, Airport-Accra
Mile 19, Oyibi, Accra-Dodowa Road, Accra, Ghana
Telefon: +233 21 - 508998, +233 24 - 3349328 oder +233 24 - 4299756
E-Mail: oder

Conception of the single projects:

Faculty building

The energy-saving construction takes care of the genius loci even from the start. Long fronts adjusted to main wind direction takes an effectiv aeration. Verandas and overhang roofs protect against solar heat and precipitation. Painted white walls reflects daylight and absorbs less energy than dark surfaces.

Dry Toiletts

To minimize water demand and sewage lines, dry toilets are installed in men hostels. Nutrients are separated in liquid and solids, sanitized and composted. In the local plantations this serves as a natural fertilizer.


Composting of excrements

Various methods of composting are tested and monitored. The composting results in an exellent humus, which can be used in the local agriculture.


Sanitary facilities

To sepepate urine from excrements and guarantee optimal treatment and recycling, up-to-date sanitary installations are used (pictures from left: waterless urinal with synthetic membrane as trap, separate toilets in ladies Wcs, urine tank). Water-saving toilets are used too.



The vegetation of the VVU campus is preserved and protected, extended and cultivated and/or managed. The microclimate hereby is balanced. The shade of trees enhances life and work quality on campus.



Wastewater is treated decentralized at guesthouses. The outflow is clean enough to be used for plant irrigation.


Greywater recycling of women´s dormitory

In woman hostels there high demand of water. Rain water is collected here. Greywater from showers is treated and serves as valuable source of water and nutrients especially in the dry season. Thereby the local watercycles are closed and bottlenecks in the water supply are prevented.


Agricultural application of ecological cycle products

The agricultural area is planted wih cashew, mango, orange and other crops. Students take part in agric. The fertility of soils and crops are improved by the local nutrient and water cycles.



Valley View University (VVU) is the oldest private university in Ghana. It is located 30 km north-east of the capital Accra with a campus area of 120 ha. There are now around 1.200 people on the VVU campus. This number is expected to grow up to 5.000 in a few years. Valley View University has set its goal to become Africa’s first real holistic ecological university. For this purpose a holistic ecological concept was developed. This concept designs the entire campus as a functional and sustainable ecosystem with all the required connections in matter-, energy- and information.


The holistic overall concept includes all important areas such as the master plan, buildings, water- and nutrient cycles, agriculture, education and training, energy and quality management. The basis for this development concept is a matter flow analysis for the present and anticipated final development stage.

An encompassing quality management ensures the long-term function of all the measures. To develop, implement and evaluate sustainable methods of urban planning and building, an ecological development plan (master plan) was developed and agreed upon by all members of the team. With this concept VVU wants to set a positive example for sustainable urban planning to be repeated in Africa or elsewhere.

The development of the campus is supported by a research- and development pro-ject funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) which began its work in the project’s pre-phase in 2003. The partners are the Bauhaus University Weimar (master plan, urban planning, buildings), the Ecological Engineering Society (coordination, quality- and mass flow analysis), the University of Hohenheim (agriculture and cycle management) and the two companies Ber-ger-Biotechnik (ecological sanitations inside buildings) and Palutec Company (ecological sanitations outside buildings).

As part of the holistic development concept the research program of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) especially treats the area of water- and mass flows. This also deals with the main issues of the millennium goals, agreed upon at the UN conference at Johannesburg 2004, where water was outstanding, being utterly necessary for the human beings directly as drinking water and indirectly for growing food.


Our planet, on which we are living, is a big encompassing ecosystem that again is composed of smaller ecosystems. In this ecosystem also known as Gaia all the participants work together in a way that the survival of all and the functioning of the ecosystem earth is ensured. This system has now functioned for millions of years following some basic ecological rules: matter is cycled, there is no waste in a continual cycle management, and the sun serves as energy source that is used wisely and efficiently. Related ecosystems support each other; in the course of the development, ecosystems with few "members” and few relations become sophisticated ecosystems with a multitude of diverse participants who are connected within the net of mutual relations. Such sophisticated ecosystems however are not completely independent but attain a high level of stability through a high level of independency and flexibility. 

Since the development of agriculture and technology and especially since the industrial revolution the influence of man on ecosystems has increased as well as the number of technical-cultural ecosystems such as villages and towns. The long-term survival of man and his part-ecosystems is only possible if he allows them to reasonably blend into surrounding ecosystems and also if he observes planet wide valid basic ecological rules. It is therefore of major importance to develop positive examples of settlements, that to a great extent follow basic ecological rules and also as new ecosystems harmonise with the already existing ecosystems. For this the campus of a new university offers a variety of possibilities for implementation.


The most visible parts of the new campus are the new buildings which are all designed ecologically. The concept for sanitation also foresees installations for saving water as well as the separate collection of urine, rain water and grey water, which can be used in the agriculture. The buildings are arranged crosswise to the main direction of the wind for natural ventilation. The landscaping at the buildings creates a comfortable living and temperature climate. The entire inner campus area is surrounded by a greenbelt.


The collected materials from the buildings are used in the VVU´s own agriculture e.g. for the plantation of different crops such as maize, cashew, mango etc. It will be proven that also under unfavourable conditions (dry, unfertile grounds) such as in the VVU area the feasible production of foodstuff is possible. For acceptance reasons and for the spreading of the gained experience the collaboration with neighbouring villages and farmers is of major importance to the overall project.


The implemented measures and the development into an ecosystem can only function on the long-term if inward and outward acceptance is ensured and also if the corresponding organisational measures have been undertaken. This is why amongst others workers have been trained in ecological sanitation technology, agriculture and ecological construction making them capable to implement further physical development. A study course in ecological engineering and defelopment will be set up through which graduates can serve as multiplicands for this ecological concept.