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In November, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) published an Energy Transition Road Map. It sets out the sustainability measures that are required to enable the UvA to meet the targets of the UN’s Paris climate agreement by 2040. This may seem a long way off, but if we are to achieve this goal, we will have to invest heavily and take radical measures. Yet how do we decide on the measures we need to take over the next few decades with the knowledge we have today?

The strategy for a sustainable transition to low-carbon buildings by 2040 is to implement sustainability improvements at times when buildings and equipment are already scheduled for reinvestment and refurbishment. When buildings and equipment come to the end of their lifespan, there is a natural opportunity to implement improvements in sustainability: measures can be staggered, thereby minimising any inconvenience to teaching and research. In addition, this means we will not waste resources and can make use of the knowledge and technology that is available at the time. As well as making sustainability improvements at natural points in the reinvestment and refurbishment cycle, we will accelerate the process by starting with the measures that will save the most CO2 per euro.

Measures have been planned up to 2037, a period during which all UvA buildings are scheduled for reinvestment or refurbishment and for which the measures and the impact on CO2 reduction are known. Beyond that, we do not yet know what measures will be required, although we will be using the knowledge and insights available at that time to take the next steps to achieving our objective.

Example: gas-fired boiler at the Science Park

Last summer a gas-fired boiler at the Science Park broke down. Based on available data, it appeared that this boiler was not particularly sustainable, so we looked for an alternative, selecting a local electric solution where the system as a whole produces less CO2 and even saves money. In other words, we took the opportunity to improve sustainability at a natural point in time. 

We will be providing a monthly update on the Energy Transition Road Map and other sustainability themes. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact duurzaamheid@uva.nl.