What can you do to save energy?

Every little bit helps. By making some small changes in your routines and habits, you and your colleagues can help reduce the university’s energy consumption – read on to find out how you can contribute.

All AU locations

Turn lights and devices off when not in use

  • Turn off the lights when there’s enough daylight.     
  • Turn off monitors and screens, desk lamps and overhead lighting when you go to lunch, a meeting or take a break.
  • Turn off lights, monitors and screens, projectors, smartboards and so on when you leave a conference room.
  • Make sure the lights are turned off before you go home.

In the office

  • Help each other put a routine in place: it should be easy and simple to identify both equipment that should be turned off at the end of the day and equipment that should never be turned off. It’s a good idea to turn off copiers and printers.
  • Make checking to make sure that relevant equipment is turned off before you go home.

Turn down the heat

  • Turn down the heat when you air out a room.
  • Only keep the windows open for as long as necessary – no more than five minutes.

Use less hot water

  • Use as little hot water as possible when you wash your hands or wash dishes.

Your pc/tablet/smartphone

  • Turn off your docking station before you go home.
  • Remove chargers from wall outlets when not in use.
  • When you shut down or close the lid on your device during the day, it’s a good idea tohibernate it instead of making it sleep. Note that not all computers have this function, which was designed for laptops. 

Think before you print

It can be necessary to print documents, and many people find printing out materials helpful. But printing uses a lot of energy, and it’s important to minimise printing as much as possible.

  • Think twice before you print a document – do you really need it in hardcopy?
  • If you do need to print something, set your computer to print on both sides by default,
  • and set your computer up for ‘secure printing’. Secure printing means that you print job won’t print until you activate it when standing in front of the printer. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll print something unnecessarily. Find out how to set up secure printing

In the kitchen

  • Turn off kitchen appliances when not in use.
  • Fill the dishwasher up before running it.
  • Set the fridge to 5 °C and the freezer to -18 °C. Turn fridges and freezers that aren’t in use off completely.
  • Only boil the amount of water you need.

Getting around campus

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. 

In the lab

There are a number of steps AU labs can take to reduce their electricity consumption. A broadly representative working group of staff, including lab technicians, facilities staff and OSHA reps, is working on a comprehensive guide to CO2 emission reduction for AU labs that includes good advice on reducing electricity consumption.

You’ll find some of their central recommendations and advice below. Read the full guide here.

Fume hoods/point extraction
Fume hood are a safety essential with hazardous or toxic substances. But they also consume a lot of energy. It’s possible to reduce fume hood energy consumption without compromising the air quality in our labs.

  • Energy consumption will depend on the sash opening. You can save energy by opening the sash as little as possible. This is also an important safety measure. Always shut the sash when leaving the fume hood. 
  • Chemicals/samples that must be stored well-ventilated should be stored in a ventilated chemical cabinet, which consumes less energy compared to point extraction or fume hoods. 
  • Always turn off/close point extractions when not in use - unless they are part of the room ventilation.

If you have any questions about energy-efficient usage of fume hoods, you can ask your lab manager or building services division. 

If your fume hood has no automatic sash closer attached, you can also contact your lab manager/building services division to discuss the possibilities. Note that it isn’t possible to install automatic sash lowering on all fume hoods.

Turn off equipment
Standby electricity consumption accounts for quite a lot of AU’s total electricity consumption, so don’t leave equipment running on standby unless it’s really necessary.

  • Get into the habit of turning off equipment that’s not in use. 
  • Equipment that needs to be warmed up is particularly energy-intensive. If you don’t turn off equipment of this kind because it takes too long to warm it up, consider using a timer. 
  • Help each other put a routine in place: it should be easy and simple to identify both equipment that should be turned off at the end of the day and equipment that should never be turned off. It might be a good idea to integrate these routines when you introduce new users to your lab.   


  • Set the freezer at -70° C instead of -80°. This will reduce energy consumption by up to 22%.
  • Regular defrosting will also help keep energy consumption down, as well as making sure that samples are only frozen when necessary. Consider whether there might be freezers/fridges that are used so little that they can be turned off. 


  • Increase the temperature of process cooling water – preferably to room temperature where possible, in order to reduce cooling line transmission losses.   

New equipment 

Make energy efficiency a priority when purchasing new equipment, and include quick start-up and automatic sleep/power save move in your specifications.

You're making a difference

There are a lot of kWH at stake and you are making a difference. Every 4500 kWh saved by AU is the equivalent of the average yearly electricity consumption of an average Danish household.

In labs

  • The energy consumed by a fume hood that’s turned on for 24 hours is equivalent to a typical Danish household’s annual electricity consumption. 
  • If everyone turns off lab equipment they’re not using, we can reduce the energy consumption in our labs by about 20%.
  • By raising the temperature in freezers from -80 to -70, we can cut save approx. 22% in electricity.

Your daily habits

  • Kitchen appliances use a lot of electricity. A standard electric kettle uses 0.1 kWh just to boil one litre of water. AU has about 420 registered kitchenettes. If each the electric kettle in each kitchenette is used ten times a day, that adds up to 520 kWh a day – or over 11,000 kWh a month.
  • A building with 100 offices each of which has 4 LED lamps that are turned on 10 hours a day, 252 days a year, uses 3,360 kWh per month to keep the lights on.
  • A lift uses between 2,000 and 10,000 kWh per year; most of this energy is consumed when the lift is actively being used. Consumption depends on a variety of factors, including  model, age, frequency of use, size and length of trips. AU has a very heterogeneous assortment of about 180 elevators, so we can potentially save a lot of kWh by taking the stairs whenever possible.
  • AU has a lot of IT equipment: for example, we have over 10,000 laptops. So turning off our computers and other devices when we’re not using them can have a noticeable impact on our kWh consumption.

More tips on how to save energy and be susainable

Questions about the university-wide effort to save energy?

Søren Harbo Jensen

Buildings Supervision Estates Projects and Development - Campus Service, Technology and Projects

Building Services at the faculties