AUAS joins in with national energy-saving campaign

6 Apr 2022 16:42 | Communication

‘Turn the switch’ ('Zet ook de knop om') was launched on 2 April. This is a national government-run campaign on radio and TV. Companies and organisations, including AUAS, are participating in the initiative that aims to reduce energy consumption in the near future. The campaign stems from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

AUAS is taking part in this campaign and will be reducing the temperature in all AUAS buildings by one degree with effect from this week. ‘That's not the only thing we are doing; we’re also taking more action’, says Hans Wichers Schreur, director of Campus Real Estate and Policy. ‘In the summer, we will be turning down the air conditioning, adapting the buildings and installations to make them Paris Proof and making the transition to different energy sources to ensure that we no longer use gas. The aim is to save more than half the energy that we consumed in 2018 by 2040.’

Small steps lead to big results

‘Now that we are starting to reduce the temperature by one degree, this will already reduce our heat consumption by 6%. This amounts to the energy consumption of around 39 households. It might take a little getting used to and feel a little less comfortable when things start to get a bit fresher in our buildings. So dress a little more warmly and move around regularly. Small steps ultimately lead to major changes. Lowering the temperature by one degree is one of the switches we can turn to quickly reduce gas consumption and achieve a more sustainable world. We are happy to contribute to this goal.’

Change in behaviour

Vice-President of the Executive Board, Hanneke Reuling, adds: ‘AUAS has long been working to make our buildings energy-efficient and future-proof. Solar panels, heat and cold storage, energy-saving lighting and green roofs are just a few examples of how we are helping to reduce our energy consumption. Turning the thermostat down one degree is a great way to contribute to this aim. AUAS is therefore more than happy to respond to the government's appeal.’ It is important, she adds, for people not to turn the thermostat back up in rooms and workspaces. ‘We really are asking for a change in behaviour.’

Saving energy at home

People also hold the key to achieving energy savings at home, says professor of Psychology for a Sustainable City, Reint Jan Renes. ‘It’s a good thing that this is now being tackled collectively and that you can also contribute something individually. After all, you also need all those individuals to get the collective side of things moving.’

Renes, together with many (AUAS) researchers and institutions, is a signatory of the Rapid Energy Savings Collaboration Programme. This programme advocates making every effort to save energy, among other things by holding weekly press conferences.

Shorter showers

There are also plenty of things you can do at home, Renes explains. ‘For example, you can ensure that you don’t heat your entire house, but only the areas where you actually spend time. You can set the thermostat to a maximum of 19 degrees, or your central heating boiler to 60 degrees. Currently, they are often set to 80 degrees. And having shorter showers is another good tip: 80% of your hot water consumption flows through your shower. If you limit your showers to five minutes, you will save water and money.’

Ukranian crisis

According to Renes, steps are now being taken in various places to achieve collective energy savings. ‘We can see that the Ukrainian crisis has really got things going. There is a sense of urgency when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions. That ambition was already there, but the goal is now genuinely to achieve a significant reduction in our gas consumption in the near future.’

In the Energy Consumption cooperation programme, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations forms a broad coalition that focuses primarily on sustainable living. ‘There are a lot of initiatives, of course, but with the “Turn the switch” initiative, Hugo de Jonge and Rob Jetten have really launched something that invites parties to work together to reduce our energy consumption in the Netherlands.’