In March, Radboud University’s energy policy for the coming years (2021-2024) was adopted. During this period, the university will continue to focus on energy conservation and sustainable energy supply. The university has renewed its commitment to achieving an absolute energy conservation rate of 4% per year and aspires to be climate neutral in its business operations by 2050. By then, all energy required will be generated sustainably on campus.
Thanks to the Hybrid Energy Grid, Radboud University has made considerable strides in reducing its consumption of natural gas. To sustain the rate of energy savings, and because there is a need for a more ambitious energy policy, a detailed analysis was carried out to establish which additional measures can be taken. The Energy Policy Plan, including the Energy Programme for 2021-2024, was drawn up in light of and in accordance with the above.
Three paths to energy savings
The Energy Programme for 2021-2024 translates the ambitions for energy reduction into concrete measures. Three paths will be pursued in the next four years.
- Reducing gas consumption and making electricity more sustainable
The Hybrid Energy Grid has already led to a significant reduction in gas consumption. The next step is to expand the project: Mercator 1 and 2, the greenhouse complex, Forum and Berchmanianum will be connected to the Hybrid Energy Grid in 2021. The long-term agreement with an electricity supplier and the purchase of additional green electricity will make a tangible contribution to making the electricity supply more sustainable.
- Package of measures
Extensive research into energy-saving opportunities has led to an additional package of measures that covers LED lighting, pumps, ventilation, insulation, low-temperature heating and solar panels. This additional package of measures forms the basis for Radboud University’s Energy Programme for 2021-2024.
- Organisation and behaviour
Many but not all energy savings can be achieved through technical measures. Since various users of services and faculties have a huge influence on energy consumption, opportunities for savings are being explored with them. The focus here is on potential organisational and behavioural measures that can reduce consumption.
Energy neutral by 2050
The Energy Programme runs until 2024. The university’s ambition is to be energy neutral by 2050. The limited amount of energy that will still be needed will be generated sustainably on the campus. It is therefore vital that we look further ahead, beyond 2024. The figure below shows the savings achieved up to 2020 (in blue) and the savings projected in this Energy Policy Plan (in green). The dashed line charts how Radboud University will become energy neutral by 2050.
To implement the Energy Programme for 2021-2024, an investment of €18 million will be required; €4.5 million per year in this policy period. This investment is part of the Multi-Year Investment Forecast (MIP). It is difficult to estimate how much annual investment will required for the period after 2025, but since at least a baseline amount will be required, €3 million per year has been included in the MIP for this purpose. This will ensure the continued implementation of the energy policy and the realisation of the university’s ambition to be energy neutral by 2050.
However, the Executive Board has expressed its ambition to become energy neutral as early as 2040. This policy period is therefore being used to investigate how this can be achieved