Energy Efficiency in the University Sector

Energy Management in Universities: Rey Juan Carlos University [Case Study]

Energy management in a university with a multitude of buildings and users is a challenge and this is without mention the rising energy costs… Once your university’s spending plans are finalised, it is likely that energy bills won’t add up. Therefore, you will have to ask yourself, how to limit cost increases, where energy is wasted, how to cut these costs and finally, how to be more efficient. These are regular and relevant questions that managers, deans, rectors, directors, principals, and in general any senior manager in university centres have to consider.

Did you know that there are over 160 universities in the UK including public and private centres? Among them, we can count more than 1,000 buildings, including faculties, libraries, sports areas, etc. Universities should not be concerned with energy management and energy costs but rather with the quality of their educational offer, and the opportunities they offer students and professors. However, presenting solvent accounts and balancing the bills is a responsibility that must be shouldered too. 

In this article and in this case study, we give examples of the main areas to consider when creating your energy-saving plan and a real example of energy management using the Dexma Platform. Keep reading!

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Energy Management: how to save Costs in Universities?

Just as in any sector, you have to start step by step. Indeed, regularly measuring energy consumption data, establishing patterns and baseline consumption, and identifying the biggest areas of savings are key to success. Some factors to take into account in energy management in universities include the occupation and use of spaces, temporality, or the commitment of the users.

Occupancy: During the week, spaces such as classrooms or cafeterias are likely to be occupied most of the day, while halls or libraries may experience periods of very low occupancy. If they are kept lighted and air-conditioned, whether full or not, energy will be used unnecessarily.

Temporality: The campus is not the same during the academic year as it is during the summer or exam period. To illustrate, a campus in December before the holidays, with a very high occupancy rate and heating requirements due to the cold weather, is not the same as in July when temperatures are high and the occupancy rate is very low… Nor is it the same on weekends. These variations, thanks to an energy management system, can be controlled and managed efficiently. 

Commitment and awareness: It is true that in a university, students can have a high level of belonging. However, they are just passersby, so they may not be or not feel very involved in achieving energy efficiency. Although energy management is carried out centrally, the users always have an important role to play in not wasting energy. Therefore, sharing your savings plans and involving users, regardless of their status can help you reach your goals.

As part of your strategy, an awareness campaign should be conducted to help you lower consumption. Even if it is about the private sector, here is an example of energy management and awareness and culture at CaixaBank, with more than 4,000 people involved and hundreds of locations.

These are some of the areas you will need to consider to save energy at your university, considering more depth and specific, well-managed data to take your energy-saving plan forward.

Have you started to implement energy-saving measures at your university but want to go further? We can help you improve your energy management and energy efficiency. If you have any doubts, read on and download the success story of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, to discover how they saved 40% on their energy costs since 2015.

Energy Management in universities: the example of the Rey Juan Carlos University

Energy Context

The Rey Juan Carlos University is ranked among the top 100 most sustainable universities in the world according to the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, in which almost 1,000 universities around the world participate. They have been dedicating efforts to energy efficiency and savings for years. In fact, in 2015 they decided to take over energy management directly, creating an in-house team, the Energy Efficiency Unit (UNEFE)., which was created to improve the University’s energy performance.

You may be wondering if is it better to have your own team or to hire an energy service company (ESCO). Both options are viable and depend on the needs of your university, based on the professionals you can count on, the experience that an ESCO can provide, and other priorities in your daily management.

Use of the Energy Management System

Returning to Rey Juan Carlos university, once they had a dedicated energy efficiency team in place, they started using Dexma’s Energy Management System. Indeed, to comply with the ISO 50001 Certification’s requirements, which was on top of their list, the use of an EMS was a prerequisite.

Since then, the Dexma Platform has become the everyday tool for energy management at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, but how did they use it? For instance, its usage includes carrying out the calculation of energy baselines with Dexma Analyse, which takes into account countless important factors such as occupancy, temperature, month, and much more. 

As mentioned earlier in the article, these are important considerations for good energy management in universities.
If you would like to find out more about the various uses of the Dexma Energy Management System or find inspiration for your next energy efficiency project, we invite you to download the case study of Rey Juan Carlos University.

And of course, if you have an ongoing project and would like to start saving energy at your university, please contact us so that we can discuss your needs.

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