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Facts and Figures: Energy Conservation and Sustainability at the UoC

Sustainable management is an integral part of the University of Cologne’s vision.

Since July 2021, the Rectorate’s Officer for Innovation and Research Infrastructures, Professor Dr Günter Schwarz, has also served as the Rectorate’s Officer for Sustainability with the task of steering and coordinating the further process in the fields of action of science and operations together with the Sustainability Council. This council will advise on the development of the sustainability strategy and an implementation concept and make recommendations.

Following a resolution of the Senate, the University of Cologne has already begun to determine its energy consumption and CO2 balance In line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) and as part of its sustainability initiative in 2020. Carbon management is established firstly by determining the CO2 balance with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

With the help of the HIS Institute for Higher Education Development (HIS-Institut für Hochschulentwicklung e. V.), in addition to determining the University’s carbon footprint, the basis has been created for an innovative and sustainable concept for energy data collection and greenhouse gas evaluation. With the availability of the necessary data, other tasks related to sustainability, energy, and climate protection can be tackled in the future. The survey will be repeated every two years from now on. The following data is taken from the report on the CO2 balance of the University of Cologne.

CO2 balance

The following table and figures show the current status of the determination of the UoC’s emissions. The building-related emissions are taken into account.

Emissions from the University’s vehicle fleet for 2019 were 97.8 tonnes and are not included in the table below.

Relation 2018 2019 Change 2020 Change
Total in tonnes 22.618 20.522 -9,3% 19.905 -3,0%
Per area NRF [kg/m²] 47,3 42,9 -9,3% 41,6 -3,0%
Per person [kg] 396,6 355,5 -10,4% 344,8 -3,0%
Per student [kg] 449,5 400,4 -10,9% 388,3 -3,0%

CO2 emissions

The breakdown of emissions by energy source for 2019 shows that district heating accounts for the largest share of emissions, followed by electricity. Natural gas, heating oil, and the vehicle fleet play a minor role in comparison.

For the University, it can be determined in summary that one person (employee or student) in 2019 arithmetically caused about 0.36 t CO2e per year. These figures are put into perspective by the statistically determined 11.6 t CO2e per German citizen in private households (of which 2.4 t for energy and 2.2 t for mobility).

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