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Energy saving measures at Bielefeld University

Campus of Bielefeld University
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"Beyond the state measures, we see ourselves as having a special obligation, together with the other universities, to make a contribution to securing the heat and energy supply. Bielefeld University, its employees and students thus assume a social responsibility. Our goal is to avoid relevant restrictions in studying and teaching as well as in research as far as possible: The Winter semester is to take place as planned as an attendance semester."

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor of Bielefeld University.


How does Bielefeld University save money?

The State Rectors' Conference of North Rhine-Westphalia has made a commitment to the state to achieve savings of 20 percent across all universities. Bielefeld University would like to do its part to ensure that this ambitious goal is achieved. By saving energy, it is also helping the Bielefeld municipal utility and other suppliers to ensure the supply of gas to private households in winter.

  • Decommissioning of individual building sections and buildings (in the UHG, heating will be turned off in C teeth (levels 3-6) and V (levels 4-10), bridges L and M, and the H building (except the University Archives) starting November 14).
  • Energy conservation measures following the Christmas closure (University closes on the afternoon of December 23, 2022 and remains closed until January 2, 2023. After that, University will be open again, but heating will remain off until January 9).
  • The currently empty swimming pool will not be refilled until further notice.
  • The library closes as early as 10 p.m. (instead of 1 a.m.) on weekdays.
  • The room temperature in the offices, seminar rooms, and Lecture Halls, as well as in the library, will be reduced to 19 degrees C. In individual laboratories to 18 degrees C. Alternative heating devices (e.g. fan heaters) may not be used.
  • Hallways, University Hall and other circulation areas will no longer be heated.
  • Hot water for hand washing in restrooms will be turned off.
  • The temperature in the sports halls and UniFit will be reduced from 21 degrees C to 17 degrees C in consultation with the Department of Sports Science.
  • The central heating for offices, seminar rooms and Lecture Halls will be switched off at 7 pm (instead of 8 pm).
  • For the double elevators in the main university building, the smaller elevator will be taken out of service.
  • Hallway lighting intervals will be shortened and motion detectors will be used where possible.
  • In areas where instruments and work equipment are sterilized using steam (generated from gas), we are implementing measures to reduce gas consumption.

The above-mentioned measures incorporate the Ordinance on Securing the Energy Supply via Short-term Measures (EnSikuMaV) and the cabinet bill on reducing energy consumption throughout the North Rhine-Westphalian state administration.

Saving energy: Useful information and instructions

Dear Colleagues,

In the course of the energy-saving measures and the associated challenges such as room changes, compliance with temperature specifications, etc., we would like to provide you with bundled useful information and instructions. You can also read all the information on the energy portal.

1. Heating and ventilating rooms

  • Please refer to the recently sent instructions on how to operate radiators (in German) as well as the energy-saving check (in German) when leaving offices. These instructions also apply to seminar rooms and lecture halls.
  • For reasons of infection control, regular shock ventilation must be ensured in events. Teachers are requested to ensure that the windows in the seminar rooms are closed after the event or to advise students that no windows are left open when leaving the rooms. Please also make sure to turn down the heating and turn off the lights at the end of a course.
  • Air purification devices: Many centrally managed seminar rooms are equipped with air purification devices with HEPA filters to reduce coronavirus aerosol contamination in the room air. These run continuously 12 hours a day on a timer. In the course of the energy-saving measures, a trade-off was made between the energy consumption of the devices and the necessary protection against infection. As a result, in view of the comparatively moderate power consumption, the university opted for continued operation with simultaneous shock ventilation and the urgent recommendation of wearing a mask to ensure a sufficient level of protection against infections with COVID 19.
  • Ventilation flaps: In the main university building, there are so-called "Lüftungsklappen” (ventilation flaps) above the windows in many rooms. Unfortunately, hundreds of these are regularly left open - mostly unnoticed by the users. The immense heat loss can be detected with thermal imaging cameras. In centrally used seminar rooms and laboratories/rooms with ventilation systems, the ventilation flaps are now permanently closed by the FM department. In offices and individually used rooms, the ventilation flaps should also be kept closed at all costs as an official instruction.
  • Concern about mould growth: If the instructions on heating and regular ventilation are followed, mould or similar is not expected to occur. Even if you move out temporarily, this is not to be feared. If you do make any observations, please contact the central control room immediately by e-mail at leitwarte@uni-bielefeld.de.
  • Please note once again: Fan heaters or other electronic heating devices are not permitted; exceptions must be agreed with the FM Department!

2. Moves and room changes

  • Changes in the PEVZ:
  • Due to the moves, there are a lot of changes in the PEVZ. In order to limit the workload for the colleagues who maintain the PEVZ, employees can now maintain the room details in their PEVZ entry themselves if required. The BIS provides instructions and more information on how to do this in its blog: BIS News: Who sits where? Room numbers in the PEVZ (uni-bielefeld.de) (In German).
  • Due to the newly created possibilities in the PEVZ, it applies to the colleagues of the Central Administration until further notice that the exclusive change of the office number is no longer taken over by the department P/O.5. However, changes such as new appointments, redeployments, function changes, etc. can be submitted as usual.
  • In-house mail (Hauspost): The mail service asks that the in-house mail folders be labelled with the respective organisational unit (department, faculty, institution) and the name of the recipient or the department. This is especially true in the current situation, but should also be maintained beyond that. On the one hand, the allocation is simplified and on the other hand, data protection is taken into account.
  • Lifts: For the duration of the removals, the small lifts have been temporarily put back into operation.

We would like to thank you for taking the instructions seriously and for supporting us with your participation in the goal of making a significant contribution to energy saving as a university. If you have any further questions or suggestions on the subject of saving energy, please do not hesitate to contact us at energiesparen@uni-bielefeld.de.

Yours sincerely,

Ingo Lohuis on behalf of the Energy Saving Crisis Team

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Dear Colleagues,

We are impressed by how much understanding you have shown for the decommissioning of some buildings and parts of buildings as part of our campus-wide efforts to save energy. We hope that you share in this goal and can appreciate the decision. Thank you very much.

We are very conscious of the fact that decommissioning campus buildings comprises a particular challenge for the university units being impacted by this. You will need to work closely with your teams to determine on-site presence. Some of you will have to relocate, potentially working at different workplaces in the coming months. Many of you will greatly miss the collegial environment you are used to. Others will have to regularly fetch documents from cold, decommissioned offices.

In many cases, possibilities for FlexWork and remote work will hopefully provide satisfactory and straightforward solutions for scheduling on-campus presence and staffing available offices. In many instances, however, a great deal of coordination within teams will be necessary. Having the opportunity to be on campus together with colleagues from time to time – to be able to meet in person and make plans directly – is also important for our collaborative work environment. We are confident that you will find good arrangements. If you have not already done so, we recommend putting these agreements down in writing, for example, in a supplementary note to your team agreement for FlexWork, or in a new team agreement if more extensive changes have been made. Managers, please keep this in mind.

 

For colleagues in technical services and administration: please note that if your team agreement is already in effect (because the moves have already been made), then you may already increase your proportion of FlexWork up to 80 percent.

FlexWork and remote work are voluntary offers. Even in this situation, no one is required to work from home. If your presence at the university is required beyond the agreed-upon times but there is no available workspace in your own area, please get in touch with your supervisor. They will attempt to find a solution together with the Department of Facility Management, as needed.

If you are sharing an office with several people at the same time, you must keep your distance or wear a mask (if minimum social distancing cannot be maintained). As an alternative to wearing a mask, you can test yourself each morning. COVID-19 is not over yet!

The areas and offices that are being taken out of service will remain accessible to relevant staff members. Electricity and lighting will be available. Hallway closures and security guard checks are in line with the current procedures followed on weekends. Temperatures in decommissioned areas will be turned down to frost protection mode at the most, which is also in line with temperatures during the Christmas break closure (generally not less than 8 degrees Celsius). If you have plants in your offices, you will have to decide whether the plants can withstand these temperatures. There is no dedicated storage space for plants. It is important to mention another point: we are operating from the assumption that not everything will run as smoothly as we are used to in the coming weeks. One example here is that our Personnel Department will not be able to bring all of their files the new offices. Colleagues in this department will frequently have to return to their old offices in order to deal with requests and fetch necessary documents. There will be similar limitations in other work areas. The organization of these moves – not to mention moving itself – is also generating additional work. We are asking everyone for their understanding if it takes longer than usual to respond to requests, process orders, or provide services.

There have been various questions about the criteria used to select the parts of the buildings that would be decommissioned for these energy-saving measures. The decisions were made based on very different requirements. For one, classrooms and laboratories were excluded from consideration. The functionality of the control center in Tower T had to be maintained to ensure facility management services. Another issue was that individual floors could not be decommissioned alone. The fact that some specific areas already have electronic closure is another example of the type of factors that were considered in this complex decision-making process. We had to carefully consider the situation from many different angles.

With these energy-saving measures at Bielefeld University, we are making an important contribution to the security of energy provisioning in the city of Bielefeld. Thank you very much for your support, your solidarity, and your efforts.

 

Kind regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dear Colleagues,

We are all are facing a challenging winter ahead. The current energy crisis is demanding a united front from society as a whole in order to dampen the coming impacts. In this context, we mustn’t forget the reason why this crisis is happening: Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law and the European system of peace and order. As a university community, we want – and will – do our part to contribute to energy security in Bielefeld and beyond.

On September 15th, we sent a first email outlining the measures our university is taking to save energy. Unfortunately, this initial set of measures is not going to be enough. For one, these measures alone will not amount to 20 percent energy savings target set jointly by universities in North Rhine-Westphalia, and we are also being confronted with concrete questions energy availability in Bielefeld. We must therefore do more to reduce our energy consumption. It is important to emphasize that want to avoid any limitations to studying, teaching, and research activities for as long as possible. In the interest of our students, our goal and our plan is to hold the winter semester as an in-person semester – from beginning to end.

In its meeting on September 27th, the Rectorate decided on two more far-reaching measures: “Shutting down buildings and specific areas of buildings” and “Extending the Christmas holiday closure.” In addition to this, the swimming pool will remain closed and potential energy savings in IT systems are also being considered

 

1. Shutting down buildings and specific areas of buildings

Bielefeld’s municipal utilities provider has indicated to the university management that there is still great deal to be done in the city of Bielefeld. The current figures paint a clear picture: although gas consumption this year is 8.5 percent below the five-year average, the aim is to achieve a reduction of at least 20 percent. In view of these targets, which are both ambitious and necessary, Bielefeld University, as a major consumer of district heating resources, is must do its part and help contribute to energy security in Bielefeld. In this context, it is important to know that gas is used for some of the district heating in Bielefeld. Every kilowatt hour counts. In order to significantly reduce district heating, it is necessary to remove certain areas from the grid. On behalf of the Rectorate, the Department of Facility Management has put together a plan for this. Beginning on November 14th, the heat will be turned off in the Main Building in Tower C (levels 3-6) and Tower V (levels 4-10); Bridges L and M; and Building H (except the University Archives). Classrooms, laboratories, and the university library will not be affected by this. We anticipate that this measure will allow us to save just under 6 percent of district heating (depending on how cold this winter gets), which would amount the energy consumed by 360 average households of four people.

This means that staff members in the areas being shut down will have to vacate their offices and work in other areas of the Main University Building or in other buildings from November 14th, 2022 – March 31st, 2023. This, in turn, also means that colleagues will have to help make space available for others in areas of the university remaining open. So, we will be moving closer together, which is complicated and demands a great deal of flexibility from everyone. The Rectorate is very aware that this will place a temporary burden on the colleagues being impacted by this. All staff members required to move will of course be able to return to their old offices in April.

The approved plan calls for staff members to find a temporary workspace in Tower C and Bridges L and M in Building X. Colleagues from Tower V (and parts of administration from the bridges) will move into building sections U and T (Towers and corridors). Members of the Faculty of Law from Building H will relocate to Building Z, where in turn some from the Faculty of Medicine will move to Building R2.

The areas under question will therefore essentially have two-thirds of the space available they had before. In the areas receiving new colleagues, one third of the office space (rounded up to a full room) must be provided for this purpose. These rooms (size: at least three rooms, next to another if possible) are defined by the responsible deans, facility managers and department managers, and then reported to the Department of Facility Management.

Information for Staff Members Moving from the Areas being Shut Down

The Department of Facility Management will assign new office spaces to the faculties, institutes, and departments. The new offices will be available to staff members moving from areas being shut down throughout the entire period. Which people will be moving into which office will be decided on a decentralized basis. The offices are not uniformly equipped, with varying furniture and IT equipment. Staff members relocating should consider what else they will need and then take with them from their previous offices if necessary. The previously occupied offices will still be accessible, though not heated. Please understand that the colleagues moving out of these offices may not be able to take everything with them. The rooms will also be outfitted with electronic locks by the Department of Facility Management. Staff members moving into their temporary offices will therefore receive a so-called token instead of a key if they do not already have one. Moving should take place from November 2nd–11th. The management of your organizational unit will let you know about further steps.

Information for Staff Members Providing a Third of their Office Space

By October 14th, the deans of study, institute heads, and department leadership are required to notify the Department of Facility Management of the adjoining rooms that will be vacated. Moving is to be organized independently within the organizational units. It is important that you leave your offices in such a way that the colleagues moving in can use the workspace without problem. Documents and personal belongings must be taken with you or locked away. If IT equipment set up in your new temporary office, please use it and leave the IT equipment in the office you are vacating (except for your laptop, mouse, keyboard, and telephone). If something is missing in your new office that you currently have and need, please take it with you (e.g. monitor). Workspaces must be made available by October 28th at the latest. This planning will be undertaken in compliance with data protection and occupational safety provisions.

The management of university work units are kindly asked to work together to organize these moves. This will require a considerable deal of flexibility from everyone in our university community. As part of this process, teams should also discuss voluntary “Flexwork” and “Mobile Work” possibilities. Time currently spent on site could be reduced if other workspaces are not available to occupy. Operational requirements permitting, Flexwork hours for staff members working under the “FlexWork” service agreement may be extended up to 80 percent for the period through March 31st, 2023. Here, however, having a least one day on site per week must be ensured. Important: this expansion of Flexwork is an optional offer that employees can choose at their own discretion.

 

2. Extension of Christmas Holiday Closure

On September 27th, the Rectorate also decided to extend this year’s 2022/2023 Christmas holiday closure by one week as an additional measure to save energy. In concrete terms, this means that Bielefeld University will close on December 23rd, 2022, and will remain closed until January 2nd, 2023. After this, the university will re-open, but the heating will remain off until January 9th.  As in the past (before the Coronavirus pandemic), the following applies: for the period between Christmas and New Year’s (December 27th-30th), staff members are to take vacation time. Alternatively, overtime hours that can be built up in advance for this purpose may also be used. If this is not possible, the maximum hourly deficit may be exceeded, provided that missing work is promptly made up for. During this time, there will be exceptions for areas (especially laboratories) that need to be accessible during the closure. As in previous years, additional information will be provided regarding this.

Heat Will be Turned Off from January 2nd-6th. Given the temperatures at this time, normal work in university offices will not be feasible. Accordingly, university management and staff representatives have agreed to return to trust-based working hours during this period. In concrete terms, this means that those who can work from Home Office during this time should do so. We are trusting in you here. For staff members who are unable to work at home due to the nature of their jobs, please remain “on call” and available at home if your presence on campus is not necessary for operations. The same applies to colleagues who, for family or organizational work-related reasons, can only work from Home Office to a limited extent. Who is required to work on site is determined by the nature of operational requirements. Supervisors are to plan on-site presence as evenly as possible among the colleagues affected. For staff members in technical services and administration, your work times must be logged with the familiar belated absence request “Sonstige Abwesenheit” [“other absence”], indicating the reason as “Regelung Energiekrise” [energy crisis regulations] in SAP.

In the interest of our students, the university library will be partially re-opened starting on January 2nd for work and study, with some parts of the library being heated. The extent to which staff member presence will be needed for this is still being clarified.

With the extended Christmas holiday closure, we hope to save a great deal of energy by shutting down numerous ventilation systems and setting the heaters to frost protection mode. Projected district heating savings are expected to add up to the average annual consumption of 400 four-member households. This extension of the Christmas closure will not interfere with teaching, as classes are not scheduled to start until January 9th.

 

3. Additional Measures

The swimming pool, which is currently empty, will not be refilled for the foreseeable future. For students studying sports (especially those with exams), university sports activities, and schools using our pool, there are alternatives. Potential savings in IT systems are also currently being analyzed – in some cases jointly by faculties and institutes.

The additional measures that have been adopted are a response to a unique societal challenge. We all have a responsibility and must do our part. The university occupies a special role in society: we have an obligation to our students and researchers, but as a state institution, the call for us to act in solidarity is also great.

Much of what comes next depends on how cold the winter proves to be, and how well our society will be able to get by with less energy. Let’s come together to tackle this challenge. We hope that you agree: pulling together is a contribution we can make together. 

We have compiled information for you in our Information Portal on the Energy Crisis, where you will also find tips on how you can help save energy at your workplace.

Kind regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dear colleagues,

The consequences of the war in Ukraine are now reaching our everyday lives in a very concrete way: The gas shortage - especially in the upcoming winter - is having a massive impact on the energy available. With a view to ensuring security of supply for private households, the German government and the European Union have adopted measures to save energy in all areas. This particularly affects the public sector and thus also Bielefeld University. We have already been obliged to take a number of measures since September 1 as a result of the "Regulation on short-term measures to secure energy supply". In addition, together with the other universities, we see it as our Obligation to make a contribution to securing the heat and energy supply. The State Rectors' Conference of North Rhine-Westphalia has therefore made a commitment to the state to achieve savings of 20 percent across all universities. That is very ambitious. But: if we save energy, we help the municipal utilities and other suppliers to secure the supply of gas to private households. This also applies to Bielefeld University, which heats mainly with district heating. Stadtwerke Bielefeld uses around 20 percent gas to produce district heating, which is then not available to private households. Gas also continues to play an important role in the production of electricity throughout Germany.

So we want and need to save energy. However, our goal is to avoid relevant restrictions in studying and teaching as well as in research as long as possible. We want - in the interest of our students - to start and end the Winter semester as planned as an attendance semester.

The following measures apply with immediate effect:

The room temperature in the offices, seminar rooms and Lecture Halls as well as in the library will be reduced to 19 degrees C (currently: 20 degrees C). In individual laboratories to 18 degrees C. Corridors, university hall and other circulation areas will no longer be heated. Hot water for washing hands in WC facilities will be switched off. The university has been required to take these measures since September 1 by federal regulation. Important: Alternative heating devices (e.g. fan heaters) may not be used. Managers are requested to ensure this.
The temperature in the sports halls and UniFit will be reduced from 21 degrees C to 17 degrees C in consultation with the Department of Sports Science.
The central heating for offices, seminar rooms and Lecture Halls will be switched off at 7 pm (instead of 8 pm).
The swimming pool in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) will no longer be heated.
For the double elevators in the main university building, the smaller elevator will be taken out of service.
Hallway lighting intervals will be shortened and motion detectors will be switched to where possible.
In areas where instruments and work equipment are sterilized using steam (generated from gas), we are implementing measures to reduce gas consumption.

The library's closing time will be advanced from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays beginning Monday, September 19, 2022. After 10 p.m., the library is used by only a few staff, but heating and lighting would need to be provided for them on a significant scale.

These measures are in effect until further notice.

It is not yet possible to predict how the supply situation for gas and thus the political savings targets will develop. The measures now adopted are therefore probably not conclusive. We are currently examining and preparing further steps. The option of decommissioning buildings or parts of buildings is also currently being modeled. Many questions still need to be clarified.

Only if we support these measures together and each of you participates, we as Bielefeld University can make a significant contribution to securing the supply of gas and affordable energy for the population. Therefore, please also take these instructions seriously:

The thermostat valve should be set to the highest level 1 when you leave your office. If you plan to be away from your office for several days, set your thermostatic valve to 0
. Radiators should not be covered or obstructed by curtains or furniture. Because then the heat accumulates and is not properly released into the room. The office will not be evenly warm.
When leaving your office, make sure that all technical devices are switched off. Avoid standby operation.
Fill the kettle only with the amount of water you need.
Do you and your colleagues use a refrigerator? Please check whether it really needs to be runningIf
airing, then please vent
ilate every once in a while.

Do not turn on more lights than necessary.

We are currently working on an Internet portal for employees, students and the interested public, on which we will provide information about the goals and the measures. Here you will soon find more hints and tips on how to save energy personally.

We are very aware that the measures involve a significant loss of comfort: Room temperatures of 19 degrees are not comfortable. However, we are convinced that you - just like the rectorate - will accept this challenge. Our university should make its contribution to energy security in Bielefeld and beyond. Apartments without gas heating and further exploding energy costs, which particularly hit the weakest members of our society, must not become reality.

Yours sincerely

Professor Dr. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Dear students,

the consequences of the war in Ukraine are now reaching our everyday lives in a very tangible way: the gas shortage - especially in the upcoming winter - is having a massive impact on the energy available.

The German government and the European Union have decided on measures to save energy with a view to ensuring security of supply for private households. As a result, Bielefeld University has been obligated to take a number of measures since September 1. In addition, we see it as our Obligation to make a contribution to the security of heat and energy supply. The NRW universities have committed themselves to joint savings of 20 percent vis-à-vis the state. That is very ambitious. But: if we save energy, we help the municipal utilities and other suppliers to secure the supply of gas to private households. This also applies to Bielefeld University, which heats mainly with district heating. Stadtwerke Bielefeld uses around 20 percent gas to produce district heating, which is then not available to private households. Bielefeld University is one of the largest consumers of district heating in Bielefeld.

So we want and need to save energy. Nevertheless, our central goal is to avoid relevant restrictions on studying and teaching as long as possible. We want to start and end the Winter semester as planned as an attendance semester.

As of now, the following measures, among others, are in effect:

The room temperature in the offices, seminar rooms and Lecture Halls as well as in the library will be reduced to 19 degrees C (currently: 20 degrees C). In individual laboratories to 18 degrees C. Corridors, university hall and other circulation areas will no longer be heated. Hot water for washing hands in WC facilities will be switched off. The university has been required to take these measures by federal regulation since September 1.
The temperature in the sports halls and UniFit will be reduced to 17 degrees C in consultation with the Department of Sports Science.
Central heating for offices, seminar rooms and Lecture Halls will be turned off at 7 p.m. (instead of 8 p.m.).
For the double elevators in the main university building, the smaller elevator will be taken out of service.
Hallway lighting intervals will be shortened and motion detectors will be used where possible.

Library closing will be moved up from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays beginning Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. After 10 p.m., the library is used by only a few staff, but heating and lighting would need to be provided for them on a significant scale.

These measures are in effect until further notice.

It is not yet possible to predict how the supply situation for gas and thus the political savings targets will develop. Presumably, therefore, the measures now adopted are not conclusive.

We are currently working on an Internet portal for students, employees and interested members of the public, on which we will shortly provide information about the targets and the measures.

We are very aware that the measures involve a loss of comfort: Room temperatures of 19 degrees C are not comfortable. Please remember to dress warmly enough. However, our university should do its part to ensure energy security in Bielefeld and beyond. Apartments without gas heating and further exploding energy costs, which particularly hit the weakest members of our society, must not become a reality.

Yours sincerely

Professor Dr. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Professor Dr. Birgit Lütje-Klose, Vice Rector for Studies and Teaching


What's next?

It is not yet possible to predict how the supply situation for gas and thus the political savings targets will develop. In the event that the measures adopted are not sufficient to achieve the targeted 20 percent savings, tests are underway for savings at other major consumption points, e.g., in the area of IT.

Bielefeld University's goal is toavoid relevant restrictions in studying and teaching as well as in research wherever possible.

You want to contribute something yourself? Then you can find tips for saving energy here.


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