It was agreed in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels, with the aim of limiting the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Dutch government has one key goal in the National Climate Agreement: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands by 49% compared with 1990 levels.
As owners and managers of a substantial property portfolio, the Dutch universities play an important role in the energy transition. The ambition of the Dutch universities is to meet the objectives of the Climate Agreement for 2030 and 2050. They aim to achieve a property portfolio which ultimately emits hardly any to net-zero CO2.
The universities have contributed to the national long-term agreements on energy efficiency (MJA-3) for some time now. They have already reduced their attributable primary fossil energy consumption in that period by increasing process and chain efficiency, as well as by producing and purchasing of sustainable energy. In the next decades, the universities aim to increase their efforts considerably in order to achieve a CO2-neutral campus by 2050 at the latest. The following principles apply to the strategy for achieving that goal:
- Major interventions in buildings will be made at natural moments of replacement and major building maintenance.
- The Trias Energetica approach to climate neutrality will be applied everywhere; the energy demand will be reduced as far as possible and the remaining energy needed will be generated sustainably or purchased, while the remaining fossil energy needed will be used as efficiently as possible.
- Use of natural gas will be phased out by using an individual or collective heat and cold storage system, a district heating system or geothermal energy.
- All buildings will transition to LED lighting in due course.
- Universities will renovate a considerable portion of their property portfolio in the next decade, which will result in substantial energy savings.
The universities have calculated the effects of all measures planned. They expect that total energy consumption will be reduced by 27% in 2050 compared with 2005 and that the remainder will be sustainably generated or purchased. As a result, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 84% in 2030 and 96% in 2050.