UG energy bill to rise to 57 million a year: turn down that thermostat

The UG’s energy bills will potentially rise to 57 million in 2023. From 2009 to 2021, the university paid approximately 8 million a year. The institute can no longer wait to take action.

So says a memo the Energy Taskforce sent the board of directors. ‘Where conserving energy was once a luxury, it’s now become a necessity. There are no more “sacred cows”’, the Taskforce memo reads. ‘The current state of the energy market requires us to take action.’

Comfort times

The Taskforce, which consists of, among others, Dick Jager with the Green Office and energy manager Kor Smith, as well as scientists and engineers, has spent the past few years cataloguing the various ways the UG can start conserving energy at the various faculties.

The most can be gained by making changes to the so-called ‘comfort times’, they say. Comfort times are the hours during which buildings are heated to a standard temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. Right now, UG buildings are in operation a total of 32,000 hours a week, and they are constantly being heated. By switching to night mode at night and during the weekends, the UG would be able to save over 5,600 hours.

20 percent

If the UG also reduces the buildings’ temperature from 21 to 19 degrees Celsius during the winter and doesn’t start cooling them in summer until the temperature has reached 26 degrees, it could save 20 percent. ‘I can’t say how much we’ll be able to save exactly’, says Dick Jager. ‘But it might be even more.’  

The Taskforce doesn’t think the buildings’ opening hours will have to change. ‘The UG will always be open to everyone, but people do have to take into account the various comfort times for the different faculties.’

Energy labels

The UG will also take long-term action, such as sustainable new properties, increasing its own sustainable energy production, and improving energy labels.

An extensive communications campaign will kick off later this month. Jager: ‘We have to inform students and staff of what’s coming and that we’re going to be making some noticeable changes. We have no choice.’

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