Use energy with care

Technical University of Denmark

DTU has a very high energy consumption and a social responsibility for finding ways of saving energy. DTU is therefore continuously working to save energy in its operations and modernization. But staff and students can also make a difference.

Part of DTU's energy consumption depends on how we act when we are on the University's premises. This concerns our habits and our agreements with each other about who, e.g., switches off the lights in communal areas after use. If all staff and students make an effort, together we can make a big difference. But we need everyone to do their part. DTU's goal is to save about 15 per cent of total energy consumption.

"It means a lot if we all contribute. Basically, we need to switch off equipment we don't use and bring all our good habits from home. And it's important that we incorporate those habits and maintain them. This will boost DTU's energy savings significantly. And we will meet DTU's goal of being a green university that educates engineers to think sustainably," says Lene Kuszon, project manager at DTU Campus Service.

Good energy habits save energy

Experience from a pilot project at DTU Lyngby Campus shows that we can reduce electricity consumption simply by introducing good energy habits in everyday life. Last year, the Head of Section in Campus Service, Bo Carlsen, conducted an experiment over a weekend in Building 409 at DTU Lyngby Campus. He and his colleagues disconnected all the equipment—computers, monitors, desk lights—except for equipment clearly marked with post-it notes.

The result showed that the building cut its energy consumption by 43 per cent over the weekend. If CAS repeated the exercise in Building 409 every weekend all year round, DTU could save seven per cent of the building's total electricity consumption. This corresponds to each employee saving approx. 65 kWh/year. If all employees at DTU switch off their PCs, monitors, height-adjustable desks, and desk lamps, we can achieve potential savings of 377,000 kWh/year across DTU. If you also remember to switch off all your equipment before leaving every day, those savings could be doubled. The result corresponds to the Danish Energy Agency's experiences, which show that good energy habits can reduce electricity consumption by approx. 10 per cent.

Switch off

As an employee, there are several things you can do to save energy. Start by talking to your colleagues about how you can use less electricity in your office. Switch off instruments, computers, AV equipment, lights, screens, process equipment, etc. when not in use or when leaving a room. You can also agree that the last to leave is responsible for turning off all switches in open-plan offices and communal areas, as this is not necessarily the practice everywhere.

Another option is to shift the use of electricity and thereby reduce energy consumption when energy is most expensive—or install a timer function on equipment and machines to minimize the use of stand-by mode. With this approach, equipment is only activated when in use. You can also follow the electricity prices hourly via DTU's dashboard. Here you can see the next day's hourly electricity prices from 2 p.m.

Be aware, too, of stand-by consumption from equipment such as height-adjustable desks. Instead of pulling plugs from their outlets every time, you can use a power strip with a switch for PC, docking station, monitors, lamps and tables, making it easy to turn off everything at once.

In laboratories and workshops, fume cupboard hatches can be closed and point suction and other ventilation suction can be switched off if not needed for safety reasons. Finally, it is a good idea to take a walk around your office and assess whether it is possible to replace old freezers and optimize the use of freezer space.

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