Making our energy use more sustainable is an important aspect of the sustainability ambition of Utrecht University.

Its strategy is a direct result of the Trias Energetica:

  • reducing energy use
  • transitioning to sustainable energy
  • gaining maximum efficiency from fossil fuels
Reducing energy use
Medewerker drukt op de uitknop van een laptop.
Employee presses the off-button of a laptop.

The goals to reduce energy use were set in the Multiple-years Agreement-3 (Dutch name: Meerjarenafspraak-3). This states that in the year 2020, a 30 % improvement of efficiency must be realised compared to the reference year 2005. Sustainable accommodation plays an important part in this too.

Transitioning to sustainable energy
Zonnepanelen op Utrecht Science Park/De Uithof. Foto van Ivar Pel.
Solar panels on the roof of a university building. Photograph by Ivar Pel.

As for the transition to sustainable energy, one of Utrecht University's projects in Utrecht Science Park De Uithof is the generation of energy by means of solar panels. The university also uses thermal storage. This is done on two locations: Noordwestwerk and the Veterinary Medicine property.

Utrecht University does not have any windmills of its own, but purchases 100 % green energy that is generated by wind turbines in The Netherlands.

From 2018 onwards, Utrecht University makes its gas purchases more sustainable by purchasing certified vertogas. Vertogas is biogas that meets the same quality assurances as Dutch natural gas and has the same utility value as well. Because of its biological origins, biogas is a sustainable energy source. This is because biogas is a gas mixture that is created as a result of the fermentation of organic material such as manure.

Gaining maximum efficiency from fossil fuels
Warmtekrachtcentrale op het Utrecht Science Park.
Thermal energy plant on Utrecht Science Park. Photograph by Maarten Hartman.

The efficiency from fossil fuels is maximised by means of the combined generation of electricity and heat in heat and power plants. The heat that is released during the electricity production is used for the heating of buildings.