Success in Climate Protection at Freie Universität Berlin

Reduced Energy Consumption Eighth Time in a Row – 33 Million Kilowatt Hours of Electricity and Heating Saved from 2001 to 2008

№ 38/2009 from Feb 27, 2009

Freie Universität Berlin has reduced its energy consumption for the eighth consecutive year. As shown in the most recent energy balance, last year over a total floor space of equal size, about six million kilowatt hours of electricity and heat fewer than in 2007 were consumed. Thus the energy consumption was nearly 33 million kilowatt hours, or 22.4 percent, below the level at the beginning of the decade.

The Director of Administration and Finance of Freie Universität Berlin, Peter Lange, who is also the university's Environmental Officer, was pleased about the resulting budgetary savings. According to Lange, "The energy efficiency programs implemented over the past few years under which almost all the heating systems of the university have now been  modernized and many buildings have undergone improvements aimed toward the more efficient use of energy, are yielding positive results." Lange emphasized that Freie Universität is making an important contribution in line with the climate protection policy of the State of Berlin. The energy savings resulted in more than 2.3 million euros of budget relief for the university as compared to the baseline year 2000/01. The university now has that much more money available to be used for research and teaching purposes, according to Lange.

The university's Energy and Environment Coordinator, Andreas Wanke, credits the bonus system in place since the beginning of 2007 with significantly contributing to the energy savings. Under this system the departments of Freie Universität are granted 50 percent of the reduced energy costs. The most improvement in efficiency – compared to the baseline year 2000/01 – was a decrease of 28 percent or 28 million kilowatt hours in heat consumption. In many individual institute buildings, savings between 30 and 50 percent were achieved. The demand for oil was reduced by as much as 69 percent, or nearly ten million kilowatt hours. Wanke emphasized that the savings of ten percent, or about five million kilowatt hours, in electricity consumed since 2000/01 is also a good achievement, since the reduction took place in spite of an increase in the use of computers.

"We are showing that public institutions like universities can operate independently and successfully in climate protection," stated Wanke. The prerequisite is that energy and environmental management be undertaken systematically.

"We will not rest on our success, but will also invest in climate protection in the coming years," emphasized Lange. "We will continue to further improve the energy efficiency of our buildings." In addition, greater efforts will be made in the use of renewable energy, and a refined cost control system for energy use will be put into place.

Since 2004, Freie Universität has been one of the few universities in Germany to have an environmental management system certified by external evaluators.

Further Information

Andreas Wanke
Coordinator of Energy and Environmental Management, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-52254