Rising electricity prices require urgent action – we can all play our part

New electricity-saving initiatives will soon be launched at AU to help reduce significant extra electricity costs. Arnold Boon underlines the need for everyone to contribute. This is because dramatically increasing energy prices are already putting pressure on AU’s budget.

An electric plug is placed on a table next to stacks of coins
At its meeting on 10 August, the senior management team and AU Building Services decided to collaborate with the faculties and central administration to identify electricity-saving initiatives and implement them as quickly as possible, so that the savings can already take effect this year. Photo: Colourbox

This year, electricity prices have risen sharpy, and this is also taking its toll on Aarhus University’s finances. The university is currently facing a significant increase in its electricity costs, provisionally estimated at DKK 70-80 million this year – an additional expense that the university, including the faculties, has only partially budgeted for.

In collaboration with the faculties and central administration, the heads of AU Building Services will now identify electricity-saving initiatives that can be implemented as quickly as possible. University Director Arnold Boon underlines the seriousness of the situation.

“The university’s finances are already under pressure, and the prospect of an extra large electricity bill is worrying for the university’s overall financial position. We must do what we can while we still have time, which is why the senior management team has decided that we need to put measures into place now that will already have an effect this year”, he says.

Initiatives will be planned locally

All areas across the university’s academic departments and central administration will have to play their part. The biggest savings can be made in places where research equipment, laboratories and ventilation are by default switched on 24 hours a day. In addition, the university will bring forward the roll-out of its current pilot project Intelligent Buildings, which collects data on electricity consumption in buildings and uses machine learning to optimise targeted and efficient energy use.

The specific initiatives and the frameworks for how they will be implemented in practice will be decided by the individual faculties and in the central administration.

“We have research sites that require electricity throughout the night, and we have sophisticated research equipment that cannot just be turned on and off like regular electronic equipment. For this reason, we will take into account where and how we can best save on electricity with careful consideration for the needs of the local research environments”, says Arnold Boon.

We all need to save on electricity

The senior management team encourages everyone – staff and students – to contribute to the savings – both by supporting the initiatives put in place and by limiting the amount of electricity we use in our daily professional lives at AU.

“We are in an extraordinary situation, and, just like the rest of society, we have to look at how we can best adapt our behaviour. It is only by working together that we can avoid a huge extra financial burden that could have serious consequences for the university."

In the near future, we will make a targeted effort to help students and employees reduce their electricity consumption on a daily basis.