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A comparative study of approaches towards energy efficiency and renewable energy use at higher education institutions

Leal Filho, W and Salvia, AL and Paço, AD and Anholon, R and Gonçalves Quelhas, OL and Rampasso, IS and Ng, A and Balogun, AL and Kondev, B and Brandli, LL (2019) A comparative study of approaches towards energy efficiency and renewable energy use at higher education institutions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 237. ISSN 0959-6526

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Abstract

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd The potential for energy efficiency and for the deployment of renewable energy at universities is substantial, and they represent promising ways to meet an institution's energy needs on the one hand, without a large climate burden on the other. However, in order to achieve successful investment and results, it is imperative to understand the level of current commitment to energy actions. Therefore, this paper investigates the level of engagement in energy efficiency measures of a sample of 50 higher education institutions from round the world, and identifies which types of renewable energy are being used to date. Results show that in more than half of the universities only a small portion of energy consumption comes from renewable sources (1%–20%) and solar/photovoltaics is the most used source (70%). Investment in energy efficiency is more common in the sample, with 54% of the universities reporting higher levels of engagement, mainly in buildings (78%) and equipment/machineries (56%). Departing from the assumption that sustainable energy use is a pre-condition for campuses to pursue sustainability, the paper identifies current deficiencies and discusses improvements in this key area, with experiences which may be replicable elsewhere.

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