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Lower, Slower, More Sustainable

Freie Universität Reduces Energy Consumption for Eleventh Consecutive Year

№ 115/2012 from May 10, 2012

In 2011 Freie Universität Berlin reduced its energy consumption for the eleventh consecutive year. Compared with the baseline 2000/01, with the total utilized area remaining constant, the university used around 43 million kilowatt hours of electricity and heat less in 2011 than at the beginning of the last decade, or 26.3 percent less. As indicated by the energy balance drawn up by the university’s coordinator for energy and environmental management Andrew Wanke, this represents an annual reduction of 12,800 tons of carbon dioxide in comparison to the baseline.

The total costs for the university’s energy purchases would have been about 3.7 million euros higher without such successful efforts to reduce energy consumption. "We are glad that our efforts both to protect the climate and our budget have brought results. As a public educational institution we are a role model, and that also applies to energy saving. We will now be able to invest the saved money in research and teaching. Above all this will benefit our students," emphasized the director of administration and finance of Freie Universität, Peter Lange. He thanked all the staff and students for their efforts. Without them, savings of this magnitude and continuity would not have been possible.

According to Andreas Wanke, the university's coordinator for energy and environmental management, “Our annual cost reductions are primarily due to our long-standing efforts in technical and structural innovations and to the university's internal reward system.” The internal bonus system was introduced in 2007. It created incentives for the various academic departments to save energy because each department benefits directly from part of the savings. Wanke also emphasized the role of producing renewable energy as a contribution to climate protection. Currently, Freie Universität produces electricity with photovoltaic systems on the roofs of eight of its buildings. "The annually produced 570,000 kilowatt hours are enough to supply the entire university administration with solar power," said Wanke.

The director of administration and finance, Peter Lange, sees potential for increased savings. "Additional reductions will be more difficult to achieve, but we are taking further steps to improve our energy efficiency and pursue sustainable sources," Lange emphasized.

Further Information

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