Greatly reduced carbon footprint for Radboud University

Radboud University’s CO2 emissions were substantially lower in 2021 than in 2019. Mostly thanks to the switch to green energy, the University has taken a major step towards more sustainability. By expanding the hybrid energy net and creating more energy-efficient buildings, a tighter air travel policy, and more sustainable ICT facilities, the University hopes to further reduce its emissions in coming years.

This is the second time that Radboud University has measured its carbon footprint. The footprint is based on the University’s direct emissions, meaning purchased electricity, and indirect emissions. “Direct emissions (scope 1) are emissions from gas boilers and stand-by generators on campus,” explains Tom van Onna, Energy and Transition Manager at Campus & Facilities. “Indirect emissions (scope 3) are emissions that don’t necessarily occur on campus, but that arise from third parties delivering services to the University, such as the production of ICT facilities, business trips, or the transport of goods. The purchased electricity (scope 2) is used among other things for the heat pumps, equipment, and lighting on campus.”

The fact that the emissions are lower compared to the first measurement in 2019 is due in part to COVID-19. “Plus, we switched to 100% wind energy from ENECO. An incredibly important step, but certainly not the last one; we also aim at more economic and efficient energy use. For example, the Information & Library Services servers emit a lot of heat, and in the third phase of our hybrid energy net project (Project HEN++), we will use this residual heat to heat the buildings. This project will save us 435,000 m3 of gas per year, which corresponds to 372 households.”

Travelling and eating more sustainably

In coming years, the University also aims to reduce its indirect emissions. “We’re going to hire a mobility officer to focus on more sustainable forms of travelling for students and staff, to reduce the emissions of commuting to and from Radboud University,” says Mo Tiel, Project Manager for Sustainability at Radboud University. The policy for work-related air travel is also supposed to reduce indirect emissions. “That means no more flights to cities that can be reached by train in less than seven hours.” The University is also working on making its ICT facilities more sustainable and extending its range of vegetarian and vegan meals.

“We will continue to do these measurements every couple of years to keep an eye on our carbon footprint,” says Tiel. Van Onna adds: “We also want to give students and employees better insight into the energy use of individual Radboud University buildings. As we speak, a group of students is working on creating an energy dashboard that is due to be published soon.”

CO2 voetafdruk Radboud Universiteit
CO2 voetafdruk Radboud Universiteit

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