Middle East Technical University was awarded the second place in the 2023 Interuniversity Energy Efficiency Competition (ÜNVER-2), organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Council of Higher Education. In the competition aiming to increase information exchange between universities and encourage new studies on energy efficiency, the practices of universities regarding energy efficiency in 2022 were evaluated.
The awards of the universities were given at a ceremony held at the event “Turkey’s 2030 Strategy on Energy Efficiency and 2nd National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2024-2030),” organized by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources on January 8. At the ceremony, METU’s award was presented to President Prof. Dr. Verşan Kök.
One of the most prominent factors that brought METU its success was the improvement of the campus in line with sustainable, eco-friendly, green energy efficient, and smart campus principles, which were also among the important targets of METU’s strategic plan. Some of the efforts made so far regarding reducing water, energy consumption, and carbon emissions, planning energy needs and efficiency-enhancing applications, determining measures and procedures to reduce waste, implementing recycling programs, and meeting the energy needs of the campus from renewable energy sources on campus at METU are as follows:
Establishment of Energy Management Unit
In January 2023, the “Energy Management Unit” was established under the Division of Construction and Maintenance. METU personnel who successfully completed the “energy manager training” offered by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and received their certificates were appointed as university energy managers to work in this unit.
Provision of Building-Based Monitoring of Campus Electricity Consumption Data
In 2023, a total of 100 buildings across METU were equipped with electric meters and measuring devices to collect, report, track, and control building-based campus electricity consumption data.
Conducting Energy Audits of Campus Buildings and Establishing ISO 50001 Energy Management System
The efforts for conducting energy audits of the buildings on the campus started at the end of 2023. As a result of these efforts, an inventory of all energy-consuming devices will be taken in approximately 250 buildings across the campus. The causes of electricity and heat losses in the buildings will be identified, and proposals and projects will be developed to increase energy efficiency. In addition, as part of the planned ISO 50001 Energy Management System, an energy manager will be appointed to each building. Energy policy, objectives, and processes and procedures will be established to achieve these objectives. The process is expected to be completed by November 2024.
Use of Renewable Energy Sources on Campus
Rooftop solar power plants with a total power of 810 kWh were installed in the buildings of İsa Demiray, Faika Demiray, and Refika Aksoy Dormitories on campus, and they have been operating since February 2023. Approximately 1 Million kWh (worth approximately 4 million TL) of electrical energy was produced by the end of 2023 from solar power plants which were built with a total investment of 13.2 million TL, excluding VAT.
Using Energy Efficient Lighting Systems in Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
The existing lighting in the outdoor and indoor areas of the campus is being systematically replaced with LED lighting systems. LED systems are preferred because of their low power consumption, long service life, durability, and environmental friendliness. According to data from the METU Office of Electricity Supply, over 2,000 outdated units of lighting have been replaced with LED lighting systems within the last three years. In addition, as part of a project that was implemented in 2022 with an investment of 2 million TL excluding taxes, 1,500 outdated lighting units in the Library, which consumed a total of 102.8 kWh of energy, were replaced with 1,202 LED lighting systems that consume a total of 37.6 kWh of energy. As a result of this series of conversion to LED lighting, an annual energy saving of approximately 1.25 million TL (63.5%) was achieved.
Reducing Natural Gas Consumption through Adjustments and Improvements in Heating Systems
In addition to the computer-based monitoring, control, and automation system created for central heating systems and local boilers, the use of thermal insulation materials in heat transmission line pipes and fittings, the use of energy-efficient elements in systems with regional heating connected to the central system, and the regular maintenance and renewal of heating systems with low thermal efficiency to make them efficient have resulted in significant savings in natural gas consumption on campus.
As a comparison, 12 million 589 thousand cubic meters of natural gas were used to heat an indoor area of approximately 350 thousand square meters connected to the Central Heating System in 2000, while only 7 million 660 thousand cubic meters of natural gas were used to heat 470 thousand square meters of indoor areas connected to the Central Heating System in 2023 as a result of the maintenance and improvement works carried out.
Reducing Water Consumption through Adjustments and Improvements in Water Pumps, Water Tanks, Water Supply Lines, and the Water Systems of Buildings
By tracking water losses and leaks in the university’s water supply lines and making improvements in the water systems in buildings, both indoors and outdoors, the amount of water used on campus has been reduced by approximately 30% compared to the 2000s. Furthermore, significant water and energy savings were achieved by installing an automation system at the Eymir Pump Station in 2022, and ensuring that the pumps operate at optimum levels.
Energy Efficient Transportation Systems
Since 2018, a total of 6,130 meters of bike path has been built, including 2,530 meters between METU A1 and A4 Gates, and 3,630 meters between Western Dormitories and A2 and A7 Gates.
After earning the second place after Niğde Ömer Halis Demir University in ÜNVER-2, Middle East Technical University will continue its efforts in the field of energy efficiency and savings with the same commitment and sense of responsibility.