unizeit Schriftzug

Kiel University is a beacon for climate protection

For the third year in a row, Kiel University has managed to keep electricity consumption at a low level and has been using pure green electricity since January 2018.

Illustration power consumption at the CAU
© pur.pur

Development of total electricity consumption in Germany, top, [Sources: mweltbundesamt 2016 / AG Ener­giebilanzen e.V. 2018] and electricity consumption at CAU, bottom. In the years 2013 to 2017, around 26,000 MWh of electricity worth over four million euros were saved at CAU compared to the trend from 2004 to 2012.

Chancellor Claudia Ricarda Meyer is delighted with the energy-saving behaviour of many students and employees at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel: "In this way, not only have tons of greenhouse gas emissions been reduced over the past four years, but a considerable amount of money has also been saved."

Electricity consumption in Germany has been at a high level for years, and in recent years it has even increased. The situation at CAU is different. Between 2004 and 2012, CAU's electricity consumption rose continuously by more than three percent per year. This was the reason for the university management to implement environmental management according to the "Eco-Management and Audit Scheme" (EMAS). By 2014, electricity consumption had already fallen by five percent compared with the previous year, and by a further seven percent in 2015. This low level - in contrast to electricity consumption in Germany - could be reduced even further in 2016 and 2017 (see graph), and this with increased student numbers.

Dr. Uwe Pfründer, Managing Director of Building Management, sums up: "If the trend of increased consumption at CAU from the 2000s had continued, Kiel University would have caused around 15,000 tonnes more greenhouse gas emissions over the past four years. And CAU's electricity costs would have been over four million euros higher in these four years combined."

This success was primarily due to the conversions at the computer center. In 2014, for example, a high-performance computer was replaced by a successor that achieves more than twice the computing power of its predecessor at half the power consumption. In addition, the server cooling was converted to an energy-saving system. Dr. Holger Marten, head of the data center, Klaus-Peter Rohmann, head of the Technical Operations and Service Department, and Arvid Steinhauer from the Building Services and Planning Department were honored for these measures. They achieved third place in the German Data Center Award 2017 in the category "Energy efficiency increase through conversion in an existing data center."

More and more students and employees are also paying attention to the economical use of energy. In the organic chemistry laboratories, for example, it was possible to save around 20 percent of electricity by switching the laboratory ventilation on and off as needed, announced Professor Ulrich Lüning, Chairman of the Chemistry Section and Director at the Otto Diels Institute.

As of this year, the electricity at Kiel University comes exclusively from renewable energy sources (90 percent hydroelectric power from Norway and 10 percent wind energy from Denmark). This will reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by a further 16,000 tonnes in 2018. As soon as Stadtwerke Kiel's own combined heat and power plant and the "coastal power plant" of Stadtwerke Kiel come on stream, important contributions will also be made to the energy turnaround and to environmental protection. It is already clear that Kiel University will certainly achieve the CO2 reduction target originally set by politicians for university operations by 2020. It is thus one of the climate protection lighthouses of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

However, CAU's commitment to climate protection is not limited to the economical use of energy, but also includes other areas such as mobility, waste, biodiversity, water and sustainable construction. For example, a number of new university buildings are currently being planned, with the aim of achieving excellent energy efficiency in particular. Since last year, a student working group has been working to avoid waste on campus. It organises events, has conducted a survey on waste behaviour at the university and participates in differentiated waste analyses.

The group is thus supporting the "cyclos" expert office, which is currently drawing up the first waste avoidance concept of a university in Germany for CAU. The extension of the urban cycle route 10 on the university campus is about to be implemented. And in future, e-bikes will increasingly be used instead of diesel-powered company cars for business trips near the city. There will also be more and better parking facilities for bicycles.

Author: Dr. Norbert Kopytziok

The author is head of the Coordination Office for Environmental and Climate Protection - klik - at the CAU.