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Working together to save energy at HHU

Saving energy is about much more than just switching off the lights or turning down the heating, particularly in an organisation as big as Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. HHU wants to play an active role in climate protection and help prevent energy supply bottlenecks from occurring in the first place, so we have launched a new campaign: “HHU – and action!”

Binding rules for university operations

The Federal Government has adopted a package of measures aimed at significantly reducing energy consumption in Germany. The Ordinance on Securing the Energy Supply via Measures Effective in the Short Term (“Verordnung zur Sicherung der Energieversorgung über kurzfristig wirksame Maßnahmen – EnSikuMaV” (German only)) applies from 1 September 2022 to 28 February 2023 and is binding for us. Among other things, it stipulates maximum permitted heating temperatures. In addition, the Ordinance on Securing the Energy Supply via Measures Effective in the Medium Term (“Verordnung zur Sicherung der Energieversorgung über mittelfristig wirksame Maßnahmen – EnSimiMaV” (German only)) has also been adopted, which obligates HHU to review and optimise its heating systems and implement further energy efficiency measures. It applies from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2024.

As a consequence of the two Ordinances, the following concrete measures apply for HHU university operations:

  • The thermostats on heating devices in storage rooms, corridors and staircases will be set to zero (frost protection setting).
  • Offices or seminar rooms in public, non-residential buildings may only be heated to a maximum of 19°C.
  • The use of additional heating devices such as fan heaters is not permitted.
  • Central hot water supply systems will be taken out of operation.
  • Information monitors and stands not displaying current information will be switched off.
  • A new central district heating distribution station is being built.
  • The district heating hydraulic system is being optimised.
  • A number of other projects will result in further improvements in energy efficiency: optimisation of air conditioning/ventilation systems and cooling/heating network hydraulics, conversion to LED lighting, photovoltaic installations, etc.

What concrete measures do I need to observe as a student?

The actions of each and every individual count. The following applies for everyone:

  • The heating temperature in rooms must be limited to a maximum of 19°C, so thermostats should be set to max. one line before level 3.
  • Do not use any additional heating devices as they are prohibited.

Follow the numerous tips on this website to help save even more energy and prevent rooms getting too cold.

Each member of the university uses an average of 830 kWh of electricity and 1,060 kWh of heating per year. In 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, our on-campus energy consumption totalled around 33,400 MWh for electricity and 42,800 MWh for district heating. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption of approx. 8,350 four-person, single-family homes and the heating requirements of around 1,900 single-family homes. Electricity consumption at the University is high compared with residential buildings as the extensive technical equipment in the laboratories and cooling systems use additional energy.

Heating, cooling, ventilation, stand-by and lighting – we are focusing on these five core areas, differentiating between technical and individual measures. In the laboratories in particular, there is great potential for savings if we change our behaviour and modify the control systems for technical equipment. And even at individual workstations and in offices, we can achieve a great deal through lots of small steps.

Start by taking small steps like switching off the lights when you leave rooms and turning down the heating. We will update this site on a regular basis, providing practical tips for workplaces – in both offices and laboratories – and day-to-day student life, dispelling myths and reporting on progress.

We will only be able to save energy if we all pull together – and it feels good to work together as a team. HHU has already been implementing general measures, such as converting to LED lighting, for some time and we are now calling on all members of the University to get involved in the next steps as every little bit helps.

Reduced operating times for the University & State Library and the majority of other buildings are planned to generate savings by reducing heating, cooling and ventilation outside operating hours. However, the university management has decided that teaching and research should generally continue on site.

The hot water will be switched off in numerous laboratories, which will save a great deal of heating. In addition, we will be accelerating the planned shutdowns of old buildings that are no longer in use or where only a small area of the building is used and modifying the heating and ventilation systems to ensure energy-saving operation.

Planned energy saving measures that will take longer to implement include optimising the operation of the central cooling network at the University through free cooling (reduces the use of energy-intensive cooling machinery), conversion of all lighting to LEDs and improved hydraulics in the heat distribution network on campus. We will also be renovating further buildings to make them more energy-efficient and obtaining more of our energy supplies from renewable sources, e.g. through the installation of photovoltaic systems. And we are aiming to transform the mobility of University members on a long-term basis via the new business trip strategy and a “campus mobility master plan”.

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