Utility Costs Projected to Double Compared to Pre-Pandemic Levels
The University of Aberdeen is urging staff to reduce operational energy use in the upcoming winter months after utility costs are projected to more than double when compared to pre-pandemic levels, as detailed in an internal email obtained by The Gaudie.
Since 2015, the university has steadily reduced energy consumption and associated carbon emissions as part of its sustainability commitments. However, these reductions occurred during a period of relative price stability.
In the post-pandemic period, there have been significant and sustained increases in the cost of utilities. Despite successful consumption reductions, the University is now deploying measures to further reduce energy consumption and limit rising bills, which are projected to balloon to almost £8m in 2023/24, compared to pre-pandemic levels of less than £4m.
The announcement comes amid widespread concerns over the increasing cost of living crisis and the university's ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
The measures instigated by the Estates & Facilities department include:
Managing target temperatures for buildings - as per the University’s Heating Policy - to reach and maintain 20°C during occupancy hours
Reducing the period during which heating routinely operates to between 8 am and 5 pm.
A recall on all electric heaters temporarily issued, apart from those required for medical needs or in areas undergoing maintenance with known heating issues
University staff are also being encouraged to partake in more rigorous cost-saving measures, including sharing kettles and wearing jumpers to work as opposed to using heating.
Staff are also being instructed to report any instances of energy inefficiency they identify to university management.
The University states that heating of buildings outside of the hours indicated, for example at events or late-night classes, will continue to be supported on a case-by-case basis, such that only spaces deemed required by the university will be heated.