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How colleagues save energy: using the stairs and cleaning up your mailbox

Turning down the heating is good for the climate and the energy bills. But there are also a lot more ways of saving energy. In October, the University put out a call to staff and students, asking them for their golden energy-saving tips. The best entries have now been rewarded with a warm snuggle hoodie to mark the annual Warm Sweater Day.

The Netherlands Climate Alliance is organising the annual national Warm Sweater Day on Friday 10 February. The idea is to put on an extra warm sweater and turn the thermostat down lower. But since the heating in University buildings was lowered from 21 to 19 degrees last year, every day is warm sweater day for students and staff. This kicked off the University-wide search for other energy-saving ideas. Even small actions by individuals count just as much. Fortunately, the entries show that some of our colleagues are already saving quite a bit of energy.

Opening windows

Board Secretary Emmy Zwetsloot always takes the stairs rather than the lift since she heard that lifts use quite a lot of energy. ‘It’s a win-win situation, because it also helps me stay fitter,’ Emmy says.  

Sanne Dijkstra, an intern at Administration and Central Services, has a great tip that  is also good for your health. ‘I open the windows of my office for fifteen minutes or so every morning, when the outside air is dry, as it often is in winter. Dry air heats up faster than damp air, and opening the window for a short while helps improve the air quality.’    

Tim Kloots

Digital savings

Some of the tips were about digital savings. University lecturer Elke Krekels knows, for example, that keeping servers cool takes a lot of energy, and stored files and e-mails are a huge expense. Her tip: delete mails more than six months old. ‘I put mails to be deleted in a separate folder to make it easy.’

Industrial Ecology student Juanita Gomez is taking a step back in time and uses a pen and paper to write her notes as a way of avoiding saving unnecessary files. Another benefit is that her laptop works twice as long on battery. 'I really like it. I even notice that I take better notes because of it.’

New freezers

Apart from practical tips that everyone can use, some staff also sent in improvement ideas for the University itself. Analyst Tim Kloots, who is carrying out research on metabolism, measured the energy use of the equipment in his lab and was shocked at the energy used by older freezers. ‘They consume more than twice as much energy as new ones, so it would be worth replacing them.’

ICT consultant Maarten Hijzelendoorn would prefer it if the sun blinds didn’t come down when the sun is barely shining. ‘That makes the inside of the building darker so you end up with brighter lighting. Not good for the energy bills, nor for our health.’   

The University is now making an inventory of the different faculties and expertise centres to see what measures might be feasible in the short term.’ 

Text: Nieske van der Voort
Photos: Marc de Haan

These energy-aware members of staff received a snuggle hoodie in exchange for their energy-saving tips.

Are you also smart with energy?

Leiden University does everything possible to save energy. You can find more information on the staff website about the current energy campaign and tips for making savings.  Are you also smart in how you handle energy? Do you like connecting with colleagues who are committed to a sustainable university? If so, join the Teams environment of the sustainability network. To register, go to  duurzaamheid@leidenuniv.nl  You can, of course, also use this mail address to share your own energy tips for Leiden University!

Discount on  hoodie sweater

For anyone who wants to turn down the heating, but really feels the cold: on warm sweater day on 10 February the University shop is offering 15% discount on all hoodies. You can buy your hoodie at the Plexus Student Centre or via www.universityshopleiden.nl.

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