UiO takes part in Earth Hour
Earth Hour starts at 20:30 pm on Saturday, 26 March. The Green UiO project is urging all students and employees to switch off the lights.
Photo: Franscesco Saggio, UiO
Everyone at UiO is being urged to switch off the lights when leaving their offices prior to Earth Hour. Lights in hallways, staircases and other common areas will be switched off by personnel from the Technical Department.
"But safety comes first, so we won't switch off power at the source", says UiO's Technical Director, Frode Meinich.
"The lifts will work and emergency exit signs will remain illuminated."
Meinich encourages everyone to get into a daily habit of turning off the lights when leaving the office. "There are 26,000 rooms at UiO. So this would really make a difference", he says.
Earth Hour is organised by the World Wildlife Fund and takes place in March every year. The initiative comes from Australia, but has become a global event. The aim is to raise awareness of sustainability issues, in particular unnecessary energy use.
At UiO, Earth Hour participation is relatively new, but the University's efforts to save on energy have a 30-year history. Measures have been taken since the 1970s, when oil-fired boilers were phased out and replaced by district-heating.
Today, large buildings are connected directly to Hafslund's district-heating system. Energy-efficiency certification processes will be completed for all buildings this year. Each building will be rated according to its energy efficiency. During the autumn, a new energy saving action plan will be developed for UiO as a whole.
A question of finances
"In our building plans for UiO we have to evaluate the benefits of energy-saving measures against the costs. UiO is struggling with a large back-log of general maintenance", says Meinich.
Meinich also points out that many environmentally friendly initiatives can be put in place through the purchase of technological solutions. But these also cost money.
Cooling is energy drain
On the occasion of Earth Hour, Technical Director Meinich urges us to think about our need for air conditioning systems when we say that we want our rooms to be cooler during the summer. Currently, UiO does not operate comfort cooling throughout its older buildings.
"Cooling systems for buildings in general consume incredible amounts of energy, and – unlike heating – are only very rarely required", says Meinich.