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Freie Universität Berlin to Close for Annual Holidays

Closing down entirely between December 22, 2012, and January 6, 2013, is expected to save the university 200,000 euros in energy expenditures

№ 381/2012 from Dec 14, 2012

This year, for the first time in its history, Freie Universität will be closing down for a two-week period over the holidays. All its offices and facilities will remain closed from December 22, 2012, to January 6, 2013. The aim is to reduce operating expenditures. The university administration expects savings in the amount of 280,000 euros, including 200,000 euros for energy expenditures and 80,000 for cleaning expenditures. On January 7, 2013, all operations at Freie Universität will resume as usual.

Freie Universität Berlin has roughly 200 buildings with a total area of 500,000 square meters in Dahlem, Düppel, and Lankwitz. In addition to offices, libraries, seminar rooms, and laboratories, this includes for example, traffic areas, archives, and basements. According to Andreas Wanke, the university's coordinator for energy and environmental management, not heating the buildings for two weeks will reduce expenditures for energy and will have a positive impact on the successful climate and energy balance of Freie Universität Berlin. As Wanke said, "Compared with the baseline 2000/01, with the total utilized area remaining constant, the university currently uses around 43 million fewer kilowatt hours of electricity and heat than at the beginning of the last decade. That is an energy saving of about 26 percent – and 12,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year."

A minimum of facilities will remain open to cover emergency situations. This includes the main control room that is always available to deal with emergencies of a technical nature. In addition, certain work areas in the science departments will remain open, for example, if there are animals or plants that require constant care or ongoing series of experiments that need to be kept running. The Small Animal Clinic in Düppel will remain open to treat sick or injured animals.  Freie Universität Berlin's Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum will remain open to the public. The libraries are permitting books to be lent out for longer periods than usual.

The various departments at Freie Universität will benefit from the energy savings. Half of the money that is saved on energy expenditures for each department will be made available to them for other purposes. This is based on the internal bonus system introduced in 2007, whereby half of the energy savings goes the separate departments and half goes to the central administration.

Further Information

  • Frank Rosendahl, Freie Universität Berlin, Head of Personnel and Finances, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-53202, Email:
  • Andreas Wanke, Freie Universität Berlin, Head of Energy and Environment Unit and Coordinator for Energy and Environmental Management Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-52254, Email: