Targeted energy initiatives have a positive effect at Tech

A targeted effort to reduce electricity and heating costs at AU received wide support from the university and Tech itself, where the necessary energy initiatives have already had a positive effect.

In September, AU launched the internal campaign Kilowhat can you do?. The campaign included a range of initiatives and advice on what you can do as an employee to reduce your energy consumption.

In October alone, this meant that AU reduced its heating consumption by 48 per cent and its electricity consumption by 20 per cent compared with the same period last year. Employees at Tech took the advice on how to reduce energy consumption to heart - and it shows.

“Our institutes and centres have worked hard to reduce their energy consumption and we can now see the results of those efforts. I would therefore like to thank employees, the estate facilities and the faculty management team for supporting and contributing towards our energy-saving goals," says Eskild Holm Nielsen, dean of Tech.

“Turn off the light” - it makes a difference

Employees at AU have experienced changes such as ventilation and laboratory equipment being turned off outside of working hours, motion-activated lighting in the buildings switching off faster, and thermostats being set to 19° C. One of the key initiatives at Tech has also been to encourage employees to think about their own everyday habits.

“What we actually need is for everyone to change their behaviour. It could be something as simple as turning off lights, printers, coffee machines, info boards, IT equipment and other machines when we aren’t using them. This alone can help make a difference," explained Bent Lorenzen, head of Nat-Tech Estate Facilities at the Nat-Tech Administration Centre, when Tech published its energy initiatives at the beginning of September.

Departments are leading the way

The energy initiatives at Tech have had a significant impact, and the departments have been working hard to reduce their energy consumption. For example, the Department of Food Science (FOOD) managed to reduce electricity consumption by 30.7 per cent in September and 25.7 per cent in October compared to the same months in 2021.

According to Eskild Holm Nielsen there is a natural explanation for the extent to which institutes are able to reduce their energy consumption.

"FOOD is located in newer buildings, and this makes it easier for them to reduce their energy costs. On the other hand, some departments are spread across several locations and are housed in older buildings, where it can be more difficult to optimise energy efficiency. However, it’s been my experience that there is broad support for these efforts and that the departments are working hard to optimise their use of facilities," says the dean, who also emphasises that the faculty management team has strong focus on ensuring that all energy initiatives are implemented in collaboration and close dialogue with staff:

"Clearly the goal is to continue to reduce our energy consumption as much as possible, while simultaneously ensuring that we don’t compromise the safety and working environment of our employees and that we maintain the high quality of our research,” says Eskild Holm Nielsen.

Click to read more about AU's internal campaign Kilowhat can you do?

Fact: Energy savings at AU

Due to the rising energy prices, AU launched the campaign Kilowhat can you do? with a number of initiatives to help reduce everyday energy consumption at the university:

The faculty management team at Tech has decided to implement the following initiatives: 

  • Behavioural adjustment: Reduce the use of lights, printers, coffee machines, IT equipment and machinery
  • Close buildings at weekends and at night from 18:00-06:00. Exceptions can be made for e.g. animal husbandry or very specific research projects
  • Clean-up freezers and cooling facilities: Streamline their use, reduce the number of active units and replace existing freezers with the most energy-efficient freezers
  • Shutdown equipment that is rarely used
  • Hallway and office lighting set to short active periods
  • If possible, shutdown greenhouses and climatic chambers 
  • Higher temperatures in ventilation units and cold stores
  • Lower temperature indoors once the heating season starts, as per the government's energy savings plan
  • The faculty is expected to be closed between Christmas and New Year

Buildings can still be accessed

On the basis of the above initiatives, it is important to emphasise that buildings will still be accessible during the evenings, even though heating and ventilation are switched off:

  • Building will not be closed
  • It will still be possible to use the buildings outside opening hours but it will be under 'impaired conditions' as heating and ventilation will be turned off between 18:00 - 06:00.
  • There may be limited access to laboratories outside opening hours since ventilation will be turned off. This will vary from building to building and will be coordinated by the individual departments.