Global energy crisis? TU Darmstadt takes action.

The developments in the field of energy supply do not look particularly encouraging. This is one more reason for us at TU Darmstadt to save as much energy as possible and to look for and invest in alternative energy supplies. The human factor in addition to smart technology also plays a decisive role: The behaviour of about 5,000 employees and staff and 25,000 students as energy users contributes significantly to the overall balance of energy consumption of the University. With this special topic, we would like to assist all members and associates of TU Darmstadt to reduce our energy consumption by providing tips and information including insights into TU operations.

The Executive Board has drafted an emergency plan for TU Darmstadt in collaboration with the University Administration (zV) and the Energy Management unit. For more information, please visit the following page:

Please check this webpage regularly for up-to-date measures!

Save energy. The TU's energy-saving campaign.

Current energy data of the TU Darmstadt – we are on the right path.

Energy consumption 2017 – 2021 at TU: Measured in MWh: Electrical energy (yellow), Heat (red), Cooling (purple). The graph illustrates the absolute annual consumption from 2017 – 2021, which is covered by Contraction. The central cooling supply was not put into operation until the end of 2018, which is why data is only available from 2019. It is clear that energy consumption has not changed significantly in recent years.

The contractor purchases approximately 150,000 MWh of natural gas annually for the TU Darmstadt. Due to plant losses during the conversion of natural gas into the respective energy type, the TU's annual consumption for electricity amounts about 52,000 MWh, heat about 62,100 MWh and cooling about 8,000 MWh. Together, this amounts to about 120,000 MWh of energy. This is roughly equivalent to the energy consumption of all households in a small town like Griesheim.

Over 90% of the energy supply is covered by contracting, a contract concluded specifically for this purpose. The contractor operates the energy center on the Lichtwiese campus and supplies the university with 40% heat from the Darmstadt North district heating network, which is fed by the Darmstadt waste-to-energy plant. 75% of the electricity is generated by combined heat and power plants and supplemented with 25% purchased electricity. In addition to the contractor´s central energy supply, and other decentralized properties of the TU that are supplied with energy via individual energy contracts.

The heat consumption of the buildings supplied via the energy center is monitored approx. every 15 minutes. The electricity quantities of the contractor are not building-specific, but the meter structure is currently being retrofitted. The aim is to establish the closest possible monitoring of energy consumption via a digital meter infrastructure. In the electricity supply, we know the consumption via the contractor's invoicing at monthly level, but not via the external electricity contracts.

2021, TU paid 20.5ct/kWh for electricity and 8.8ct/kWh for heat. This brought the total amount to approximately 11 million euros for electricity and 5.5 million euros for heat last year. For 2022, the energy prices agreed with the contractor will still apply. From January 2023, energy costs will rise significantly. The electricity supply is expected to double and the heat supply to triple.

Picture: privat

Joining in – my contribution.

“During my lunch break, I put my laptop and my additional screen in sleep mode. This way, I save power and can continue working without delay when I am back again. The energy I save this way would be enough to enjoy more than 1,000 cups of coffee* projected over a year.” Hanna Richter, Directorate V G

Please make sure that the room temperature in the offices is around 19 degrees. To achieve this, where possible, adjust thermostats to just below “3”.

It’s as easy as that: 15 tips to saving energy

  1. Change your computer settings: Reduce brightness, your eyes will readjust quickly.
  1. Set bookmarks, i.e., mark frequently opened webpages with bookmarks because each search-engine query results in servers worldwide running in overdrive and consuming huge quantities of electricity! Use alternative search engines, such as Ecosia, if possible. This initiates reforestation projects that you can support with every click you make.
  1. Avoid e-mail attachments. Place documents onto the TU server or Hessenbox, mailing the link to these documents instead.
  1. Is it really necessary to conduct a video-conference or would a conventional phone call be just fine? Discussing matters on the phone often works just as well without seeing each other face to face. In addition, less power is consumed.
  1. Check the illumination used at your unit or working/research group. Are energy-saving LEDs used everywhere or are there still some power hogs like halogen lamps used around your workplace? Discuss possible solutions as a team and with your superior. Contact the persons in charge (such as the janitors or secretary’s offices).
  1. Office rooms, corridors and stairwell are illuminated continuously? Turn off the lights when leaving rooms, passing through corridors or stairwells, if possible.
  1. Turn off electrical devices and appliances or get rid of them: Do I really need two monitors? What about the printer – can it be shared with colleagues; thus, reducing the number of devices in use? What about the refrigerator – is it necessary or is it empty and can be turned off? Is it possible to turn off peripheral servers when not in use? Get an overview and discuss matters as a team and with your superior.
  1. Use the dishwasher only if fully loaded. This reduces the number of additional cleaning cycles. If necessary, put up a sign indicating that the dishwasher is running or contains clean dishes etc. in need of being stowed away. Use the eco-friendly cycle or the glass/delicate cycle, if available.
  1. For longer absences, turn the heating down to just below level 1 and ventilate vigorously for 10 minutes. This allows warm room air, which can store more moisture, to escape. This prevents the formation of mold. By the way, it is also worthwhile to air the room thoroughly at the end of the working day and before the weekend.
  1. Electric heaters are not an alternative, because they consume a lot of electricity. Moreover, devices that have not been tested at the TU represent a safety risk.
  1. The coffee-maker does not have to be on stand-by all day—discuss with colleagues the best times for coffee breaks and make them a nice ritual.
  1. Use multiple-socket strips to save power. In addition, they can be turned off quickly when leaving the office; for breaks, too!
  1. Remember: Turn off your computer and monitors when leaving the office for a longer period of time. Putting the computer in sleep mode is just as good while offering quick access when returning from your break.
  1. Take the stairs and leave the elevators to those who actually need them. Moving around during the day every now and then is good for our blood circulation and saves a lot of electricity.
  1. Take regular joint tours around laboratories, shop floors, experimental halls and hangars to check how and where energy can be saved and where running times of machinery and equipment can be minimised. These tours really make a big difference because they help to identify additional potential for saving energy. Once the possible measures have been agreed upon and put in place, they need to be observed by everybody!

…additional tips for saving energy at the office and at home

Manfred Efinger,
Vice President, Administration and Financial Affairs of TU Darmstadt

Changing the habits of approximately 30,000 members and associates of TU Darmstadt is just the beginning resulting in change far beyond TU Darmstadt. Let us start today!

Picture: Felipe Fernandes

Help and support for your home

Did you know…?

… that the city of Darmstadt (opens in new tab) sponsors small and large photovoltaic systems for private households and businesses?

… that you can borrow power meters at the Verbraucherzentrale Hessen (opens in new tab) (Hessian consumer advice centre) to measure how much electricity your household appliances consume? In addition, you can consult with them for advice.

… that you can receive initial advice free of charge as an owner of residential buildings in Darmstadt? For more information, go to Modernisierungskonvoi 2022 (opens in new tab).

TU Darmstadt takes action – a choice of projects

For a climate-conscious and intelligent handling of existing resources, TU Darmstadt has been breaking new ground over the past few years. The beginnings of a large-scale use of rainwater at the Campus Lichtwiese actually date back as far as 1993. We present three projects for an economic and ecologically sound campus management that are already part of everyday life at TU Darmstadt.

Together we take even more action

In the Sustainable Development Compass, the dynamic sustainability report of TU Darmstadt, you can find many other exciting projects and activities under this heading in the “Science” and “Operations” fields of activity.

Go to the “Science” and “Operations” fields of activity. (opens in new tab)

* Calculation example “Joining in – my contribution.”

Laptop/PC 65 Wh, second screen 20 Wh; consumption per cup of coffee = 14,3 W (EnBW (opens in new tab)); 180 working days, 1 h lunch break