In setting these targets, the UT has aligned itself with the government’s new long-term agreements (MJA-4) for Dutch universities and applied universities (hogescholen). The plans run from 2023 to 2026 and are a follow-up to the MJA-3, which ran from 2005 to 2020. The agreement then was to reduce energy consumption by at least two percent each year. During that period, the UT managed to reduce its energy consumption by almost 40 percent.
According to Brechje Maréchal, policy officer for environment and sustainability, the long-term plan offers a good opportunity to exchange experiences between affiliated universities. ‘In recent years, the UT has been working on measures to reduce energy consumption, while other universities have been concentrating on renewable energy, for example. It’s interesting to compare the knowledge we have gained and see what works.’
Reducing gas consumption will not be easy, Maréchal knows. ‘The buildings on the campus are connected to the heat network, also known as city heating. At the UT, gas is mainly used to humidify the air in laboratories. Reducing gas consumption by four percent per year will therefore be quite a challenge.’
In addition to the long-term agreements, the UT and other universities have drawn a roadmap for CO2-neutral real estate. These plans are an elaboration of the 2019 Climate Agreement of the Dutch government, in which it has been agreed that the Netherlands will emit 49 percent less CO2 in 2030 compared to 1990.