University of Freiburg: Energy saving at the University of Freiburg

Energy saving is a key concern for the University of Freiburg, especially with regard to further promoting climate protection and sustainable development. The University of Freiburg is also preparing for a possible energy crisis in connection with the war in Ukraine, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

Three working groups, for research, teaching, and management, have been set up by the Senate for the purpose of studying and assessing such scenarios. Representatives from central services, all of the faculties, and the student body are involved in the work. In addition, the Ministry of Research, Science, and the Arts (MWK) of Baden-Württemberg has asked higher education institutions in the state to address this issue as part of a crisis management program.

At the present time, nobody can assess whether such a natural gas shortage situation will actually arise or not.

Preliminary results from the teaching work group:
One crucial result of the teaching work group concerns studies. The start of the lecture period in the 2022/23 winter semester will not be brought forward. The planned start of the semester remains the same.

The winter break for classroom lessons at the University of Freiburg will be extended until January 21, 2023, and if necessary even longer. The university management asks the faculties to prepare for this. The aim here – as in the case of the pandemic which may also still affect the coming semester – is to maintain face-to-face activities as much as possible, i.e. to reschedule the classroom lessons that would take place in those two weeks of January. It is also likely that – within the scope of what is permitted – the building and room temperatures will be reduced during the winter semester.

Preliminary results from the research work group:
Meanwhile, in research, the use of selected heating, ventilation, lighting and entire research equipment will be reduced or in some cases suspended. In particular, the air exchange in laboratories is already being reduced, depending on circumstances, and scenarios are being developed with the aim of reducing the energy consumption of high performance computing.

Preliminary results from the business operations work group:
For business operations, the individual faculties and other institutions are asked, among other things, to gradually replace energy-intensive equipment with lower-energy versions. Decentral computer servers should also be migrated to centrally-operated servers, especially virual servers. Other possible measures in relation to energy are published on the University of Freiburg’s website. If there is an energy shortage, equipment and technical environments that can be switched off and the sequence in which this can be done will be identified on an ongoing basis. In general, a continuous process to identify and implement potential savings is necessary.