The university’s certified environmental management system and a number of investments have allowed Freie Universität to slash its energy consumption by nearly one-quarter since the 2000/2001 academic year, in a space of just nine years.
Freie Universität Berlin is among the very few German universities whose energy and environmental management systems undergo annual external audits under the global ISO 14001 standard. All locations of Freie Universität Berlin have been included in this process and covered by the certification since 2007. The university has substantially reduced its energy consumption in recent years through a variety of different measures, programs, projects, and incentives, including a bonus system instituted in 2007 that provides financial rewards to the departments for cutting energy consumption. This approach has been a big success: Since the 2000/2001 academic year, electricity and heating use has dropped significantly nine times in a row – falling a total of 41.5 million kilowatt-hours, or 25.3 percent, even as overall use of space has remained stable (status as of 2010).
The university has made even more impressive progress in reducing the use of heating oil, which has fallen nearly 83 percent from 2000/2001 levels, when measurements began. Calculated at 2010 energy rates, that figure represents financial savings of 3.3 million euros a year on energy costs.
By engaging in these initiatives, Freie Universität is also making an active contribution to protecting the climate: The amount of energy conserved is equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions, which are harmful to the climate, of 10,400 tons per year. In addition, Freie Universität has also had solar panels installed on a number of roofs on campus since 2008.
The Jobticket and Semesterticket transit passes offered to staff and students of Freie Universität, respectively, are two more ways that Freie Universität is continuing to shrink its environmental footprint.