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Saving energy in building management

We can make a difference! We are all responsible for saving energy at the University.

The University of Cologne is not completely unprepared for the current situation. As part of its sustainability efforts, the UoC's facility management department is pursuing the plan to advance energy efficiency.  Since 2020, issues such as energy consumption have been addressed under the umbrella term of sustainability. On the one hand, this includes structural decisions and research, but of course also concrete measures in the University’s buildings. In order to be able to deal with possible energy shortages appropriately and in good time, the University has defined short-, medium- and long-term measures that will reduce energy consumption.

What has been done so far

In recent years, a variety of individual measures have been taken at the University of Cologne to reduce energy consumption. This applies in particular to the optimization of building operations. Examples include:

  • the modernization of the lighting system in the underground car park in building 103 with LED technology and the lighting system in the Main Building (building 100) with LED technology.
  • In the area of mobile traffic, the integrated traffic concept with a focus on bicycle paths to relieve the burden of car traffic and the new bicycle station on Albertus Magnus Platz. All projects were funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
  • Green electricity: By the end of 2021, the University of Cologne obtained an electricity mix in which 67.4 per cent of the electricity came from renewable sources. Through the 2021 call for tenders, the University has, with a few exceptions, been procuring approximately 45.6 GWh of green electricity from Enercity AG since 1 January 2022, with 154 points of delivery. The supply is 100 per cent renewable energy (generated from hydropower, mainly from Scandinavian plants).

What measures are currently being implemented?

  • Conversion of outdoor lighting to LED (Sept./Oct. 2022) – savings of up to 60 per cent.
  • The successive conversion of approximately 4,000 interior lights to LED (for 2022), especially in lecture halls and on circulation areas – savings of up to 60 per cent.
  • Comprehensive use of presence detectors in newer buildings and reduction of lighting run-on times there (successively in 2022) from 18 to six minutes.
  • Installation of heat recovery and improvement of ventilation systems in 2021/2022 – savings of up to 70 per cent.
  • New zoology building in Rees with photovoltaics (28 kWp), geothermal energy, and e-charging station
  • Measuring and metering concept for the energy management system

What will be implemented on 1 October 2022?

  • From 1 October 2022 (start of the university heating period), offices or seminar rooms in public buildings may only be heated to a maximum of 19°C
  • The heating period starts without exception only from 1 October each year and ends on 31 March
  • Severely limited attendance at the university at the turn of the year (lecture-free period) in order to minimize the need for rooms to be heated
  • The operation of additional heating devices such as fan heaters is not permitted.
  • Switching off the decentral hot water supply (excluding workshops, day-care centres, childcare facilities, toilets for the disabled, refectories and sports facilities)
  • Switching off unnecessary lighting in foyers and corridors (exception: Main Building),
  • Switching off symbolic lighting (Main Building above entrance),
  • Reduction of outdoor lighting times in coordination with the City of Cologne (possible exceptions for ‘scare areas’)
  • Switching off ramp heating of the bicycle garage (if necessary, with organizational countermeasures)
  • Where technically feasible, room temperature is automatically lowered by approximately 2°C in the evening via the building control system.
  • The majority of the ventilation systems are back in regular operation based on the Workplace Ordinance. No further increase in the supply of fresh air; the systems run in an energy-efficient manner. An adjustment is made within the framework of the legally prescribed infection protection. Addition of energy-saving heat recovery to technical ventilation systems.
  • Air-conditioning systems should only cool special areas (e.g. IT, technology, research) from 26°C interior temperature.
  • Turn off room air-conditioning systems outside research/IT/technology areas (see user behaviour).

How much can the University save?

The University of Cologne aims to save up to 20 per cent energy. We can only achieve this if everyone participates. You can find out how students, staff, and scientists can save energy here. Of course you are welcome to send us further ideas and suggestions via the contact form.

Contact us!

For further questions, please see the "Questions and answers" page. If you do not find what you are looking for there, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to receive tips, answer questions and provide further information on saving energy: Contact