Uni will dial down thermostat, although it’s not sure when


The UG wants to comply with the government’s call to lower the thermostat in its buildings from 21 degrees Celsius to 19 degrees. But when this will happen isn’t exactly clear yet; the university wants to do it ‘on a much larger scale’.

Complying with the government’s advice isn’t at issue according to the board of directors, says spokesperson Anja Hulshof. But, she adds, not all university buildings have central heating. 

‘In the ones that do, it’s just a matter of lowering the thermostat. But there are also plenty of locations where staff can control the thermostat themselves. In those cases, we’ll have to ask people to comply with the new rules.’

Besides, the university really wants to start saving energy on a much larger scale. That’s why, says the spokesperson, the Services Department is now taking stock of how energy use ‘can be reduced at each faculty and service’. That’s also why there’s no clear answer to the question of when the temperature will be lowered.

Closed on weekends

Green Office employees will be visiting the various faculties to discuss the options. ‘Saving energy revolves around three things’, Dick Jager with the Green Office explains. ‘There’s the technical side, with all the big machines and stuff. Then there’s operational management, like the thermostat and buildings’ opening hours. Faculties are in charge of that. And the third thing is behaviour, of course.’

Not much can be done about the technical side of things in the short run. But there are options when it comes to operational management. ‘Many buildings are open from seven thirty in the morning until ten thirty at night’, says Jager. ‘Closing buildings on the weekend, two out of seven days, would save nearly 20 or even 30 percent.’ 


He wonders if it’s truly necessary to heat entire buildings at night, since there are usually only a few people there. ‘They could also decide to be open but tell people to wear a sweater.’ People can also do a lot themselves, for example by powering down their computers or turning off the lights. 

Other, more long-lasting solutions have also been in the pipeline, and these will continue as planned. The university wants to use more geothermal energy to heat buildings in the city centre, by connecting the arts and law faculties to the cogeneration network the UB is already connected to. 

The current plans want all UG buildings to have an energy rating of at least C by 2023. The Zernike complex aims to be gas-free by 2026. 


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