Support Office Sustainability and Diversity
The Hochschule Niederrhein

Hochschule Niederrhein. Your way.

Sustainability at The Hochschule Niederrhein

Sustainability means resource-conserving and responsible action with a view to future generations and is a central issue of our time. We are committed to the principle of sustainability in teaching, research and organization - as formulated in our University Development Plan 2022-26. The Hochschule Niederrhein has appointed a sustainability officer to fulfill this commitment. She is the central point of contact for all projects, initiatives and questions regarding sustainability at HSNR.

Did you know...?

➤ our entire university has been using only green electricity since 2020.
➤ we are building a sustainable teaching education and research building at the Krefeld West campus.
➤ the J-building at the Krefeld South Campus has a particularly sustainable energy system.
➤ we are currently redesigning our three university campuses with ecological sustainability aspects in mind. There are already wildflower meadows at the Mönchengladbach Campus and the Krefeld South Campus.

Our sustainability strategy formulates strategic goals, fields of action and a catalog of measures for more sustainability in teaching and studies, research and transfer, as well as operations and organization.

The starting point for the sustainability strategy is the University Development Plan 2022-26, which defines sustainable university development as a strategic goal of the HSNR.

In a broad-based participation process, the university community developed the sustainability strategy during 2022. The core elements here were the university-wide workshop on the topic of "Mission Statement Sustainable University Development", further workshops and working groups, digital forums and qualitative interviews with students.

The coordination and editing of the sustainability strategy has been taken over by the "Sustainability Strategy Steering Group", which is made up of representatives from the departments and is chaired by our Sustainability Officer, Dr. Renker. The "Scientific Advisory Board for the Sustainability Strategy" provided expert advice. It includes twelve of our professors who have particular expertise in the field of sustainability.

Following a positive statement by the Senate, the Executive Board adopted the sustainability strategy in February 2023.

If you have any questions about the sustainability strategy, please contact the sustainability officer.


Dr. Dorothee Renker
Head of the Support Office for Sustainability and Diversity Sustainability Officer
Christine Hepp (she, her), M.A.
Associate Family Service - on parental leave -
Xenia Böttcher
Student assistant
Annika Joosten
Support Office Sustainability and Diversity Employee for sustainable university development

Climate neutrality

The Hochschule Niederrhein wants to become climate neutral as soon as possible! Therefore, we have declared the climate-neutral operation of the university to be the lead project of our sustainability strategy.

We are currently developing a climate protection concept for the HSNR, involving all stakeholders. The first step is an as-is analysis with an energy and GHG balance. Based on this, we are defining milestones on the way to climate neutrality. These include setting up a measurement infrastructure to determine energy consumption and preparing for the introduction to an energy management system to continuously reduce energy requirements. We are continuously tackling individual measures such as the installation of PV systems to reduce general electricity consumption from the grid and the conversion of the existing energy supply to sustainable alternatives.

Our path to climate neutrality

According to the current climate protection law, greenhouse gas neutrality is to be achieved in Germany by 2045. This means that HSNR, as a role model, should also make university operations climate neutral. Since we want to take a pioneering role in this matter, we have explicitly set ourselves the goal in the university development plan of achieving climate neutrality at all three locations as early as possible.

For this purpose, the energy saving campaign "Our way to climate neutrality" will be launched, whereby all university members will be sensitized to the topic of energy consumption through stickers and posters and called upon to save energy.

Checklist with measures

Checklist for energetic behavior
"Set heating to level 2.75" Picture of a thermostatic head for 19°C

The room temperatures of the office and seminar rooms should not exceed 19 °C. Therefore, set the thermostatic valve on your heating system to level 2.75. This level corresponds to a target temperature of the specified 19 °C. If you leave your office and do not enter again until the next day or later, please set the thermostatic valve to level 2.

In offices and seminar rooms with a digital display, a room temperature of 19 °C should be set on this display.

"Better shock ventilation than tilt ventilation" Picture of an open window

Shock ventilation instead of tilt ventilation: Proper ventilation can save a lot of energy. A rapid exchange of air is recommended here. This can be achieved by airing the windows at regular intervals or by cross-ventilation. Depending on requirements, the window is opened completely for 5-10 minutes and then closed again. Tilt ventilation takes longer until the air in the room is exchanged. Therefore, the walls cool down, which are then heated up again. As a result, the room warms up again more slowly than with shock ventilation, which does not cause the walls to cool down.

"Electrical appliances turned off?" Picture of a light bulb

Remember to turn off the lights in your office when you leave it. This also applies to short periods of time, otherwise unnecessary electricity is consumed. Consider which areas of your workspace need to be lit and turn off other lights. In general, it is best to use natural sunlight as long as there is enough available.

"Electrical appliances turned off?" Image of a plug

Electrical devices not only consume electricity when in use, but also when they are in standby mode. Therefore, it is recommended to disconnect electrical devices such as monitors, PCs or telephones from the mains at the end of the working day, so that they really do not consume any power when they are not needed. To make this easier and faster, it makes sense to use a toggle switch, which can cut off the power supply to the connected devices at the touch of a button.

Keep doors closed

The doors between common rooms (e.g. offices and lecture rooms) and corridors or other unheated rooms should be kept closed as much as possible to avoid air exchange and thus heat exchange between the common rooms and the corridors. With the doors closed, the room can be heated to the desired temperature more quickly by using the same amount of heat. In addition, this saves a lot of energy.

Share devices and equipment

Some electrical devices, such as printers, consume more power on balance in standby mode than in actual operation because they require little time to complete the print job. Since printers should not be turned on and off all the time, they consume power all day, even though they are only in use for a short time each day. By reducing the total number of devices, they can be better utilized, saving electricity and reducing the number of new purchases.

Things to know

Energy consumption 2021 at the HSNR

The Hochschule Niederrhein had an energy consumption of almost 22 GWh (gigawatt hours) in 2021. This corresponds to approximately 2,400 tons ofCO2.

The electricity consumption of the Hochschule Niederrhein (7.6 GWh) corresponds to the equivalent of approximately 1900 households, each with 4 people in a single-family house.

The gas and district heating consumption (14.1 GWh) corresponds to approximately 710 households, each with 4 persons in a single-family house.

The figure above shows the energy consumption by the considered sectors and locations from the year 2021 with the respectiveCO2 emissions. According to this figure, electricity consumption does not result in any emissions. This is because HSNR has been purchasing 100% green electricity since 2020 and the upstream chains are neglected here for the time being. According to the federal electricity mix, HSNR's electricity consumption in 2021 would result in 3,200 t ofCO2.

100% green electricity

The Hochschule Niederrhein has been using 100% green electricity at all three campuses since 2020. This is particularly sustainable, as it is generated only from renewable energies. Nevertheless, we continue to work on the expansion of renewable energies, such as photovoltaic systems, so that we can use our own renewable electricity.

Sustainable heat supply J-Building KR-South

The J-Building at the Krefeld South Campus has a particularly sustainable energy system. The energy for heating and cooling is provided by geothermal energy in combination with a heat pump. Due to the so-called heat exchanger technology, the building can be cooled in 2/3 of all cases without the use of the heat pump. This allows us to use the heat stored in the ground from the summer months also in winter. This energy concept is rounded off by the lattice elements of the building façade, which adjust their position depending on the position of the sun to achieve the greatest possible shading.

How do members of the university come to HSNR

Voluntary participation in a mobility survey at the HSNR with a total of 1,102 persons, corresponding to 7.7% of the university staff (7.2% of the students and 14.3% of the university staff), resulted in the distribution of the means of transport to the university shown here for the year 2023.

By extrapolation and conversion, this results in emissions of approx. 8,300 tons ofCO2 equivalents.

What can I do as an individual?

Climate neutrality at HSNR can only be achieved together through the support of all university members. For this, it is important that each individual participates. This can also be small measures, such as switching off the lights or other electrical devices. But also addressing the responsible person who should turn off the devices is already a small step.

Voluntarily submitting ideas and suggestions on how energy can be saved at our university or on ways to make it easier for you to save energy and thus encourage other university members to save energy is also a good contribution to our big goal.

Way to our goal

In addition to personal savings measures, technical measures in particular are also implemented to save energy.

Convert to LED lighting

Since LEDs are much more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, all incandescent bulbs at our university are being replaced with more energy-efficient LEDs. A concept for converting the lighting to LEDs is currently being developed for this purpose.

Introduction to energy data management system

In order to be able to save as much energy as possible, work is currently underway on the introduction to an energy data management system. This will identify large consumers (plants and machines) and then analyze how they can be used more energy efficiently. In addition, the EnDMS identifies outliers in the heat and power supply and regulates them accordingly.

More information

What does climate neutral mean?

Climate neutrality means that human activities have no impact on the climate system. These include emitting emissions that affect the climate, removing greenhouse gases from the atmospheric cycle, and causing biogeophysical effects.

This means that a balance must be struck between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases from sources and the removal of such gases by sinks, and that other effects of human activity on the climate must also be taken into account. These include, for example, the sealing of land by parking lots.

How can I imagine a kWh?

A kWh is a unit of energy. The following are examples to make a kWh tangible or imaginable. With the energy of 1 KWh can:

- 50 hours of work on a laptop (at a power of 20 W)

- 5 hours of work on a desktop computer (at a power of 200 W)

- run a light bulb for 20 hours or an LED lamp for 167 hours (50 W; 6 W; 300 lm)

- 67 minutes of vacuuming (at a power of 900 W)

- 40 minutes of cooking on a hotplate at the maximum level (at a power of 1400 W)

- heating 10.75 l of water from 20 °C to 100 °C

- driving 1.6 km with a gasoline engine (7.3 l /100 km)

- 12.5 minutes (20 km / h) cycling (equivalent to 4.2 km)

Where can I contribute my ideas?

We are very happy about your cooperation and also gladly accept all ideas on our way to climate neutrality.

A forum is currently being created where you will soon be able to submit your ideas and comments related to climate neutrality at HSNR.

Until then, please feel free to submit your ideas via email.

Project KSI
Funding document

Project title: "KSI: Integrated Climate Protection Concept of the Hochschule Niederrhein - Initial Project".

Duration: 01.08.2022-31.07.2024
Funding code: 67K19101

National Climate Protection Initiative

With the National Climate Initiative, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment has been initiating and sponsoring numerous projects that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 2008. Its programs and projects cover a broad spectrum of climate protection activities: From the development of long-term strategies to concrete assistance and investment support measures: This diversity guarantees good ideas. The National Climate Initiative helps to anchor climate protection at local level. It benefits consumers as well as companies, municipalities and educational institutions.

Kevin Kaiser
Climate Protection Manager