Student project leads to unique partnership: Utrecht University and EnergiePartners join forces for energy conservation

Sustainability is better when you do it together! One great example is the partnership between Utrecht University and energy consulting bureau EnergiePartners. Students from the Computer Science Bachelor's programme participated in several software projects for EnergiePartners to work towards the climate accord goals. Together with the software developers from EnergiePartners, they worked on software that guides businesses to conserve energy and helps the government with its energy regulatory activities.

EnergiePartners is an independent energy consultancy bureau that helps companies make their properties more sustainable. For the past two years, Bachelor’s students in Computer Science at Utrecht University have worked on several software projects using the latest developments in EnergiePartners’ software platform: the EnergiePlanner. The partnership offers added value to the students, EnergiePartners, the software users (which include government agencies), and of course the climate.

Developing the EnergieScanner 

In the first software project, the students made an important contribution to the development of the EnergieScanner. They developed a mobile application that helps energy consultants and government regulators to efficiently survey a company’s property. The app speeds up the energy consultation or inspection process.

EnergiePartners is enthusiastic about the collaboration. The students have new ideas and are familiar with the latest developments. Jeroen Witteveen, IT-manager at EnergiePartners: “The IT students have a fresh perspective and don’t think inside the box. Sometimes that means you have to explain the limitations in more detail, but the students often have interesting ideas. That makes the collaboration both fun and unique.”

Automated data analysis

The second software project involved automatic data analysis. The assignment: to develop a data analysis system that could create and implement analyses automatically. That makes it possible to identify energy wastage at companies to optimise energy consumption for operations.

The automatic data analysis presents such potential that when the project was complete, five of the 11 students started working at EnergiePartners part-time to further expand the system. Jessie van den Akker, Computer Science student and part-time software developer at EnergiePartners: “When we finished the software project, they offered us jobs to keep working on it. So part of the group – myself included – are now employed by EnergiePartners.”

Parties that use the EnergiePlanner are also pleased with the partnership. Government agencies use the EnergieScanner to monitor companies’ energy consumption. The second project’s software also provides a valuable addition to the current work methods.

The final project is a great opportunity to gain practical experience. I learned a lot about my own field, but also about communications.

Jessie van den Akker

Glimpse behind the scenes in the business

Students see many benefits to the final year course Software Projects. They learn to operate as an independent team for a real client with a real-world challenge. Together with EnergiePartners’ own experienced software programmers, the students can put their knowledge and skills to good use. They also get a glimpse behind the scenes in the business while working on a project that will actually be used and that helps make the Netherlands more sustainable.

Jessie van den Akker: “The final project is a great opportunity to gain practical experience. I learned a lot about my own field, but also about communications. It’s also a fun learning experience to build something that people will actually use, that will have impact on EnergyPartners’ customers, and an impact on the environment.”

Contributing to climate goals

Both projects contribute to making the Netherlands more sustainable. The EnergieScanner helps more companies become more sustainable in a more efficient manner. Automated data analysis helps prevent energy from going to waste. It also motivates companies to continue their sustainability efforts. And together, we will eventually achieve the energy transition!