Find out more about the Sustainability Strategy of the University of Mannheim here:
As a place of learning and research, the University of Mannheim perceives itself as having a special responsibility to work towards sustainable development. In addition to its research activities on sustainability and conveying new findings to students and the public, in future, the University of Mannheim will particularly center on the strategic development of its own sustainability measures in order to further strengthen its function as a role model. In the spring semester 2020, the university founded the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” in order to collect ideas and suggestions and to coordinate and further develop its sustainability measures. For more information about the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim”, please click here.
Since 2012, the University of Mannheim has covered 100 percent of its power demand from renewable energy sources and thus saves 60 percent of CO2 (4,500 tons) annually.
Both the rooms in the Schloss and in the other buildings on campus are heated to 100 percent by district heating, 99 percent of which is obtained from cogeneration of heat and power (CHP). As cogeneration uses waste heat to generate heat, hardly any additional greenhouse gases are produced during production.
The University of Mannheim also relies on energy from photovoltaic systems: existing new buildings are retrofitted in cooperation with Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg, and future new buildings will be equipped with photovoltaic systems from the outset.
Since 2011, the University of Mannheim has been continuously developing and enhancing its energy management. Energy monitoring and building management systems are used to regularly control and evaluate energy consumption on campus. For electricity and heat consumption, for example, electronically readable meters have been installed that do not only record energy consumption for the building as a whole, but also for individual floors and utilization units.
Based on this, the adopted energy-saving measures have significantly reduced the energy consumption and costs of the University of Mannheim in recent years. This way, the university saves 70,000 to 100,000 kilowatt hours and 40 tons of CO2 annually.
In recent years, the university has adjusted the operating time of the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems to the actual room temperature: in the lecture halls, for example, presence detectors and CO2 monitors were installed in order to ensure that the ventilation systems are only in operation when they are actually needed.
In addition, half of the unregulated heat pumps have been replaced by highly efficient energy-saving heat pumps so far.
In case of renovations and when new buildings are constructed, the university installs heat recovery and energy-saving free cooling systems. For the new building of the University IT in A5, for example, it is envisaged to install innovative cooling solutions for the machine rooms and to benefit from waste heat by using heat recovery systems.
Exceeding the legal provisions stipulated in the German Energy Conservation Regulations (Energieeinsparverordnung, EnEV) of 2014, both the university and the Land of Baden-Württemberg, in their function as real estate developers, aim at implementing highest energy-efficiency standards in all construction plans for state-owned buildings.
For example, the energy performance of the building for research and teaching in B6, which has been financed by the university, is 40 percent higher than required by the EnEV. Moreover, the energy yield of the photovoltaic system covers about 15 percent of the electric power demand for the building.
High energy standards will also be implemented in the construction plans for the new buildings around the Friedrichspark, including the construction of the building envelope according to passive house standards, sustainable constructing with the objective of achieving at least a “silver” building certification according to the Assessment System for Sustainable Building (Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen, BNB), the partial on-site coverage of the energy demand, e.g. by the internal use of PV-gains from photovoltaic systems, as well as the implementation of technical monitoring and energy management to optimize the buildings during regular operations.
Special challenges arise with regard to the Schloss, which has the status of cultural property: taking into consideration the requirements regarding the protection and preservation of historic buildings, energy measures with respect to the shell of the building can unfortunately not be implemented easily or are not possible at all.
There are also good news on lighting: the proportion of LED lighting in all university buildings is at 20 percent already and even is to increase further. In corridors, washrooms, and basements, lamps will be gradually replaced by LED lighting wherever this is technically feasible. In these parts of the buildings, presence detectors will avoid unnecessary operating times.
95 percent of the paper that the print office (Hausdruckerei) of the University of Mannheim uses for standard prints is made from recycled paper fibers. Furthermore, the university has significantly reduced the amount of printed circulars and replaced them by large e-mail distribution lists. Since 2012, thanks to the digital coordination of committees and bodies, documents for the meetings of the university bodies have been forwarded electronically.
The university has a small vehicle fleet consisting of only four vehicles that may almost exclusively be used for transporting material and equipment. In April 2021, an electric car was purchased for transporting the mail, replacing an older vehicle with a combustion engine.
Current or future (energy saving) projects include:
Whether you would like to focus on energy law, environmental ethics, social entrepreneurship or one world seminars: many schools and chairs at the University of Mannheim are researching, teaching, and working on the topic of sustainability. Here, you will find a small selection of the university’s current research areas and projects.
Do you also research or teach on the topic of sustainability and would like your project to be included here? Please do not hesitate to contact Lutz Spitzner at the Sustainability Office.
The working group for sustainability is comprised of representatives of all schools as well as research groups, administrative staff, and students. The working group is headed by the Executive Vice President. Its members include representatives of the Staff Council, the University IT, the general student committee at the university (AStA), the student organizations, the Studierendenwerk Mannheim and the administration as well as the newly founded Sustainability Office. The working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” meets once or twice per semester with all its members.
The objective of the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” is to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the University of Mannheim.
The working teams that were formed at the first meeting meet several times per semester to discuss their respective focus areas.
Working teams and focus areas:
In its meeting on 24 September 2020, the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” met again via video conference. The three working teams each reported on their first meetings, the key focuses agreed upon, and their goals for the coming period. Important topics of discussion included the criteria for sustainability at universities, the communication of sustainability issues, as well as the topics of mobility, resource consumption, and the behavior of university members. In addition, the new website “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” was presented. The web page provides information about projects on the topic of sustainability in research, teaching, and university operations and at the same time serves as a central contact point for questions and suggestions.
The constituent meeting of the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” on 18 June 2020 was held via video conference. In an interactive workshop, the members first presented the status quo and outlined the current and future challenges for the university. In the following, the working group established three working teams that will deal in depth with the topics of “Research and Teaching”, “Operations and Mobility”, and “Governance” respectively. Their ideas and results will be presented and discussed at the coming meetings of the working group.