Innovation Scheme 2015 ready to launch sustainable projects

02 JUL 2015

Higher education and research institutions certainly have sustainability on their minds, as evidenced by the projects now starting in SURF's annual Sustainability & ICT Innovation Scheme. Under this scheme, institutions submit innovative, sustainable IT proposals to SURF which awards prizes for the best proposals. The 4 winners have been announced.

The winners

3 of the 4 winners submitted proposals for using ICT to make buildings more sustainable. The 4th winner submitted a concrete example of greening ICT.

Link timetable to climate control

Heating an unused room sustainably is not a sustainable practice. When we're not at home, we switch the heating off. So why don't we do the same with lecture rooms? This is the starting point of the Energy Efficiency proposal which SURF is supporting through the innovation scheme. The aim is to link the building management system for the lecture rooms to the timetable system. If no lecture has been scheduled for a particular lecture room, the ventilation and heating systems remain off.
View presentation (pdf)

Measuring = knowing = saving

The Energy Monitoring project was another prize-winning idea. In this pilot project, research universities and universities of applied sciences seek out deviations from normal energy consumption via the building management system. Insight into deviations in energy consumption patterns can point to possible problems and therefore save energy. It is important not only to analyse current energy consumption but also to compare measurement data with historical data and to collect data on other contributory factors, such as the outside temperature, wind-force and the quantity of sunshine. Furthermore, the opening hours of an institution, its holiday periods and the number of people using a building all influence energy consumption.
View presentation (pdf). 

SURF Innovatieregeling Duurzaamheid en ICT 2015

Start a competition

Who saves the most energy? Which building is the greenest? The 3rd project is the Sustainable Building Competition, in which the initiators seek to harness people's natural competitive tendency in order to make buildings greener. Their plan is to launch a platform that allows users to compete with one another. The plan applies serious gaming principles to encourage users to be more energy efficient.
View presentation (pdf).

Replace your desktop with a laptop

The final winning solution focuses on choosing the most energy-efficient hardware possible. The project From copper wire to Chromebook ('Van koper(draad) naar Chrome(book)') examined the institution's 5 study centres. These study centres are open all day until 10pm at night and host 525 computer workstations, with each a computer running 50 software applications. Desktop computers such as these require a ton of energy, while laptops on the other hand consume 70% less. And according to the Milieucentraal website, 75% fewer materials are used in the manufacture of laptops. Another advantage of laptops is that they are cheaper to use and offer greater flexibility. Plenty of reasons to run a trial with a stack of Chromebooks.
View presentation (pdf).

Making sustainability a routine consideration

SURF's resources put institutions in a position to test the feasibility of their ideas and measure exactly what savings can be made, so that they can potentially roll-out their sustainable IT projects on a large scale. This is how SURF aims to make sustainability a routine consideration in the choices made higher education and research institutions.