AUAS researchers help accelerate energy transition

Studying the implications of climate targets for citizens, businesses and government authorities

27 Nov 2018 10:13 | Communication

An all-encompassing climate agreement is around the corner. In The Hague tension is mounting around the negotiating table. The stakes are high, but one thing is clear: it’s going to be a very tough job to actually achieve the climate targets. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is conducting applied research to speed up this process.

Whether it concerns the obstacles cities face when rolling out heat networks or how insights from behavioural studies can help us change our habits in response to the demands of a new era: the AUAS is involved in numerous government projects and private initiatives on sustainability as an independent research partner.

This has resulted in the AUAS amassing a great deal of expertise on questions that are now being raised in the climate debate, particularly with regard to feasibility and practical implications.


During the 2015 UN Climate Summit in Paris, 195 countries agreed that global warming of the earth must be limited to maximum 2 degrees.

In order to achieve this:

  • Greenhouse emissions must be halved by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels)
  • All countries within the agreement must implement their own measures to reach this goal.

In response to this, government bodies, companies and social organisations in the Netherlands have been negotiating to reach a climate agreement, which must be finalised by 1 December. Five so-called sector ‘climate tables’ have been identified, with negotiations taking place around these key areas: electricity, built environment, industry, agriculture and land use, and mobility.

Will a climate agreement be signed before 1 December? And what are the implications of the agreement for citizens and businesses? These are questions the AUAS researchers are asking too. Because new technologies alone won’t get us where we need to be.


In order to achieve the climate goals, we must not only look for technological solutions. At the AUAS we are therefore also looking at the willingness to create a sustainable energy supply, and the possibilities for doing so. This not only involves thinking about the development of renewable energy sources and the accompanying energy storage, but also investing in knowledge about changing behaviour and exploring financial revenue models.


In the construction and property sector in particular, relevant parties, such as housing associations, are being subjected to intense pressure to fulfil complex sustainability requirements. But the question is: how will they be able to achieve this?

This not only concerns new developments, but increasingly the redevelopment of the existing built environment and renovation. This has to be done in an energy-neutral and climate-proof manner, using environmentally friendly and sustainably produced materials. This will require the development of even more expertise by universities of applied sciences.


By 2025, electric cars will be the new normal. Five year later, all new cars must be 100% emission-free. At least that is what the government has demanded ahead of the climate agreement. But when it comes to transport and logistics, the challenge is even greater.

Sustainable logistics also involves CO2-neutral transport of goods and perishables. AUAS researchers are therefore investigating smart technical applications and the more efficient use of existing infrastructure by means of information sharing and network management.