The roadmap for energy savings within WUR

WUR is preparing for a future in which it can meet its energy needs without the use of fossil fuels. This energy transition affects all aspects of the organisation, such as the heating, cooling and lighting of our buildings. WUR is legally obliged to report on the energy-saving measures it is taking and how WUR's buildings are being made more sustainable. The so-called portfolio roadmap explains how WUR will make its buildings more sustainable in the coming years.

As a result of an regulation under the Climate Agreement, WUR was eligible to participate in this portfolio approach for energy saving. "It has been an extensive project to arrive at this portfolio roadmap," says energy coordinator Wouter van Leeuwen. "And it is a concrete implementation of one of the measures that were previously described in the Rough outline of WUR Energy Transition 2050."

A CO2 neutral energy supply by 2050

A few years ago, the 'Rough outline of WUR Energy Transition 2050’ was drawn up. In it, WUR presented the measures to achieve a 95% CO2 reduction by 2050. The rough outline gives room to make adjustments in certain situations. For example, the connection of the buildings to the aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) loop has been accelerated in response to the energy crisis, allowing WUR to save a lot on gas costs. Through the multi-year agreements (MJA-3), WUR and the other universities complied with the laws and regulations until 2020, but not all WUR buildings were included in this MJA-3. There has never been a follow-up to the MJA-3, and WUR is now participating in the portfolio approach instead.

Worked on a more comprehensive overview

The portfolio roadmap energy transition is much more comprehensive than the MJA-3. The portfolio now also includes the so-called WUR external locations, which means that for the first time all WUR buildings have been considered in their entirety and integrally. Much has been done in 2023 to arrive at the portfolio roadmap. Measures to save energy have been mapped for each location. In addition, the energy consumption per m2 per building was mapped and compared with the other WUR buildings. This provided insight into what WUR should focus on and where the greatest impact can be realised when it comes to energy savings. A strategy was chosen and a plan was drawn up for each building. Consider, for example, the timing of connecting buildings to the ATES loop. In doing so, costs were compared against benefits and it was also taken into account what really needs to be done (now) or what is a wish and could perhaps be realised later in time. For some buildings, the plans have already been made very concrete, for others they are still more abstract.

Portfolio roadmap energy transition

Based on these inventories, there is now a good overview that WUR desperately needs in the coming years in connection with (changing) laws and regulations. The advantage of this portfolio approach is that it gives more freedom when measures are implemented and it helps with investment decisions. After all, it concerns the entire portfolio and no longer just one property.

The portfolio roadmap includes measures that are required by government regulations, but also measures that arise from WUR's ambitions. If WUR achieves everything indicated in the roadmap and in the rough outline, then WUR will do much more than legally required. At the moment, things are going well and WUR is on track.

What's next?

The portfolio roadmap has been submitted to the national working group Environmental Services NL. Except for a few adjustments, it has been approved and all measures to save energy have been put in an online dashboard. This way, the results are properly tracked and monitored. Developments and the focus on energy savings are increasing rapidly, so it is important to have a clear picture of what we want to do for each building and what impact this will have.

We are also looking at links to get an even better picture of energy consumption and savings. The first monitoring report will follow in April 2024.

In addition, cooperation is now being sought within the education sector with VBO, MBO and HBO, among others, to explore the (monitoring of the) sectoral roadmap together and make it more unambiguous. The next step is to combine and align the dashboards so that we can report more efficiently.

Point on the horizon

"The year 2050 is currently our 'point on the horizon'. We are well on our way and by continuing the right course at the same pace, we can achieve a lot. Together! Through a multidisciplinary collaboration, we are achieving the described goals of WUR's energy transition," says Wouter van Leeuwen.