URV emergency plan to reduce consumption by 20%

The supply of energy is one of the most important items of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), with a budgeted expenditure for this 2022 of 2.3 million euros. But the situation of the energy market and the completion of contracting the supply in a consortium with the Catalan universities means that the expenditure forecast, with the latest available reference prices, would be about 5 million euros higher for the year next if no action was taken that affects consumption. For this reason, in parallel to the negotiation of the energy acquisition system in a consortium, the Governing Council has approved an energy emergency plan that aims to reduce gas and electricity consumption, which has to affect the electricity bill. energy.

The plan is structured around two axes: improving energy efficiency and improving use and management. The first is for execution in the medium and long term and responds to the structure of the campus and equipment distributed throughout the territory. It includes the improvement of the infrastructures, the renewal of the air conditioning, lighting and enclosure systems, the sectorialization of the air conditioning and lighting system to be able to close building areas based on the use made and the renewal of the network of monitoring and energy certification of buildings.

This axis incorporates the company's own energy production with photovoltaic panels, which was already underway and is also included in the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The first phase of the project is already being deployed on the Catalunya and Sescelades (Tarragona) and Terres de l'Ebre (Tortosa) campuses, and in future phases panels will be installed on the Bellissens campus (Reus) and deployment will continue on Sescelades. However, the generation of energy through this renewable source will cover 6.6% of the total consumption once all the phases are underway.

The most urgent

The most immediate actions are those to improve use and management. For this purpose, on the one hand, a governance committee for the plan will be set up, which will be in charge of drawing up the global guidelines that will be applied in all the centers and campuses, and on the other, the different faculties, schools and consumption units will be which will evaluate the guidelines and also propose measures by sectors through what are called energy efficiency teams, with representation of members and managers of the centers and the Material Resources Service.

As for the calendar of the plan approved this Thursday, in the remainder of the year the monitoring system will be reviewed, working groups will be created and the first measures will be carried out. In 2023, execution will continue and continuous evaluation will begin to maximize the effects of rationalization until a 20% reduction in consumption is achieved. The following years will continue the savings measures with the aim of maintaining the reduction in consumption and spending but already at 10% per year from 2024, until the plan is completely revised in 2026.

Thus, the plan has the characteristics of a framework document and leaves part of the decision-making capacity in the centers and campuses, which will have to propose measures by sectors. For Juan Antonio Duro, vice-rector for Economy, Infrastructure and Institutional Relations, it is at this time that "small decisions take hold in the university community to achieve savings of 20% of consumption", as well as "capturing the maximum of external resources to execute the investments that allow us to be more efficient”.

in the form of a consortium

In parallel, the Catalan universities are negotiating the energy acquisition system in a consortium, for which the Governing Council has approved a multiannual expenditure for the contracting of energy supplies for the period 2023-26, which in 2023 would mean 6 .45 million euros without VAT. It must be taken into account that 73% of the energy consumption of the URV is electricity and 27% is gas.

Participatory budgets for students and the actions of the first 100 days of mandate

The Governing Council has also approved the bases for the participatory budgets of the students, which seeks that the students themselves propose and decide on which projects 50,000 euros reserved for this purpose will be allocated and that will have to be approved with the 2023 budget. Student Council which establishes the participation mechanism. This measure is one of the commitments that the government team acquired when assuming the direction of the University to execute or start during the first hundred days of the mandate. In this line, the rector, Josep Pallarès, has reviewed the rest of the commitments achieved or in the process of doing so, such as the creation of the URV's Festival, which will be held on March 23; the meetings with the units to prepare the work climate survey; the start of feminist gatherings; the celebration of 28-J and the adherence to DORA.

In the same Governing Council, the report on Gender Equality was presented, which highlights the balanced presence of men and women in the teaching staff with differences by fields and job categories and the increase in women in STEM education, the report on Social commitment and Internationalization.

The rector has also pointed out the main commitments that have reserved funds, such as the intervention in the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, the Martina Castells talent attraction program and the training and research support programs, and those that have supervening and, therefore, not budgeted, which represent 4.3 million euros.

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