How to deal with the energy crisis

For TU Darmstadt, saving energy is of utmost importance, particularly in order to further climate protection and sustainable development. The worsening energy crisis caused by the war in Europe impacts on universities as well. TU Darmstadt has intensified its energy-saving measures and has set up a strategic emergency plan under the direction of the Executive Board in collaboration with the University Administration (zV) and the Energy Management unit.

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

General framework

The war in Ukraine has led to unprecedented challenges that require severe efforts of constraints on all of us. The energy crisis which has been forced upon us will have an impact on research, teaching and administration at all universities this winter and beyond. Due to its special infrastructure as a technical university, TU Darmstadt is hit particularly hard by this. However, as members of TU Darmstadt, we can make a significant joint contribution in the coming months to overcome the challenges ahead.

The situation is highly dramatic: The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) has decided to classify universities and research institutions as so-called protected customers, analogous to schools. At the present time, it can therefore be assumed that the TU Darmstadt will receive sufficient gas even in the event of a general gas shortage. Due to the particular shortage situation, we must nevertheless calculate with a considerable increase in costs for energy procurement despite the planned defensive shield.

Estimates to date are in the mid double-digit millions range, depending on the size of the university. According to our calculations, TU Darmstadt would then have to spend around 20% to 25% of its budget on energy in 2023 (by comparison, this was around 7% in 2022). This would force us to make enormous cuts in all areas.

Measures taken by the Executive Board

The Executive Board has therefore decided on measures to reduce energy consumption at our institution quickly and sustainably. However, all members of the university can contribute individually to mastering the energy crisis with responsible use of resources – and thus also sustainably promote climate protection:

In order to reduce energy costs as much as possible and to contribute to a sustainable energy supply, the buildings of TU Darmstadt are only heated to the temperatures set by the Federal Government (19°C office, 16°C workshops and halls) between 7:00 and 17:00 in the winter half-year. Outside these times, temperatures can drop to 17.5°C and 10°C respectively.

In order to minimise our university's energy consumption for two weeks beginning at Christmas, there will be an extended winter break from December 24, 2022 to January 8, 2023. During this time, the room temperatures remain lowered to 10°C, with exceptions.

In order to offer heated workplaces for students, ULB will remain open from January 2 to January 8.

As a general rule, we are all called to save energy. 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”. Do not operate additional heating devices such as electric fan heaters. For more hints and tips, visit the “Energy & Resources” webpage.

All departments and central services are being asked to report on their critical infrastructure. Based on these results and the data supplied by the Energy Management unit, the current energy consumptions and needs (heating, cooling, electricity) of the respective sections will be analysed building by building. This data-based approach is absolutely necessary. The central Energy Management unit and science will be working hand in hand to optimise consumption.

The Executive Board of the TU Darmstadt

The current crisis demands a lot from us as individuals and as members of our university. But we are convinced: by acting in solidarity and responsibly, we will collectively solve the tasks and overcome the challenges ahead. We thank you very much for your willingness to support and participate!

Picture: Katrin Binner

Assistance

  • Support Association for Students in Need
    The Förderverein für in Not geratene Studierende der Technischen Universität Darmstadt e.V. provides financial support in cases of emergency and special hardship. The members of the association work purely on a voluntary basis and with money from private donations, the student body and the TU Darmstadt.
  • Studierendenwerk Darmstadt
    Information on the heating allowance for BAföG recipients and on student financing in general