Radboud University turns down the thermostat

Radboud University will lower the thermostat that regulates the indoor temperature of buildings to 19 degrees Celsius. This will happen in stages, starting on Wednesday 6 April.

Radboud University is thus responding to the government's call to lower the thermostat, so that the Netherlands becomes less dependent on gas from Russia and makes an extra contribution to combating climate change.

Not all university buildings currently have the thermostat set at the same temperature. In some places the thermostat has to be lowered by more degrees than in others to reach 19 degrees. To allow everyone to get used to the new temperature, the lowering of the thermostat to 19 degrees will therefore take place at a rate of 1 degree every fortnight. The first step will be taken on Wednesday 6 April.

People for whom 19 degrees is too low for medical reasons, can contact the Customer Service Centre at +3124 363 33 33.

Questions and answers on this topic:

Does Radboud University use Russian gas?

We buy our gas from he Swedish company Vattenfall. However, it cannot be ruled out that our suppliers also supply us with gas from Russia.

In recent years, Radboud University has invested heavily in heating and cooling with the aid of the ground heat and cold storage system (WKO, in Dutch). As a result, our gas consumption has already halved compared to 2016. In the future, it will be possible to become completely gasless. However, although the WKO system is much more economical, it still uses electricity and in the Netherlands electricity is still mainly produced using gas. We buy 100 per cent green electricity, but due to imbalances between supply and demand, the reality is that electricity consumption on the campus sometimes does lead to gas consumption in power plants.

We are therefore not independent of gas, but by turning down the thermostat, we want to make a contribution to making the whole of the Netherlands less dependent on Russian gas and to combating climate change.

Are there buildings where the thermostat does not go down to 19 degrees and if so, why?

We lower the basic temperature in all buildings on campus, including those occupied by external tenants. This does not include areas that require special conditions such as specific laboratories and the child care facilities on campus.

Why doesn't the thermostat go down to 19 degrees immediately?

We want to give people the opportunity to get used to a lower temperature. We also want to be able to monitor carefully whether local problems arise, for example if temperatures unintentionally drop too far somewhere.

Will the 19 degrees remain in force after the summer?

This will be evaluated later this year.

What else is Radboud University doing to become less dependent on fossil fuels?

In recent years, Radboud University has put considerable effort into heating and cooling with the help of the ground heat and cold storage system (WKO, in Dutch). As a result, our gas consumption has already halved compared to 2016.

Heat and cold storage is a technique whereby heat released by cooling buildings in the summer, is put into a warm source in the ground. This warm water is pumped up again in the winter to heat the buildings. For cooling, it works the other way round: in winter, the hot water cools down considerably when we heat the buildings with it, and we return it to the cold source. In the summer, we pump up this cold water to be used for cooling.

On campus, the WKO system is integrated with the so-called hybrid energy network. With this combination of conventional energy supply and sustainable energy sources, Radboud University is making less and less use of fossil energy. The existing hot water network has been converted to a lower temperature network, which will also enable the older buildings on the campus to be heated much more cost-effectively.

The Erasmus building will be connected to the WKO system in 2019. As a result, this building will be able to use more sustainable heat, including heat from the High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML). The buildings around the Huygens Building (Mercator 1 and 2, Forum, the green house complex and nurseries) and the Berchmanianum will also be able to use sustainable heat and cold from this year (2022).

We are also investigating which buildings on the campus can be fitted with (more) solar panels. In 2022, panels will be placed on the roof of the HFML.

What can you do if you get cold at your desk?

A lower temperature can take some getting used to. Especially if you spend a lot of time at your desk, you can get cold easily. You can, of course, put on an extra layer of clothing or drape a blanket over your legs. The easiest way to get warmer is to move around more. So stand up regularly, have a standing meeting, or do a workout at the Radboud Sports Centre - they are good for your vitality too.

See the desk fit workouts at https://www.ru.nl/rsc/sportaanbod/workout-video/

Want to save gas at home? Then take a look at the Sustainable Work at Home check of the Radboud Green Office.

Do you have any tips for making the Radboud University more sustainable or questions about this?

Please contact the Radboud Green Office.