The University of Twente committed herself to reduce the energy consumption by 30% between 2005 and 2020 (UT, 2010a; UT, 2010b). She is aware of her social responsibility and wants to be characterized as a sustainable, entrepreneurial and innovative university, where social and technological research and education complement each other. According to long term agreements (MJA3) with the national government, the University of Twente has multiple obligations in order to achieve a 20% energy reduction within her facilities and 10% outside her facilities in the chain of energy provision and transport (MJA3, 2009). Energy is also one of the main themes in the Centres of Competence and Excellence of the 3TU; the federation in which all three technical universities of the Netherlands participate (3TU, 2010). Energy will also become one of the four themes of the proposed 3TU Centre for the Built Environment.
In international perspective reducing energy use and making use of renewable sources receives a lot of attention. The European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) demands energy performance certificates for existing (public) buildings and requests to renovate them in such a way that the energy use will be reduced (EC, 2002; AgentschapNL, 2010). University buildings are important assets where large energy savings can be made. University buildings are interesting objects for several purposes:
1. Little is known about the energy consumption and ecological footprint of buildings offering space to very differ functions (e.g. Davis and Nutter, 2010; Scheuer et al, 2003);
2. They form attractive play grounds for researchers and students to implement and monitor new innovative technologies (e.g. Praditsmanont and Chungpaibulpatana, 2008), and;
3. The campus combines research, educational, living and recreational space which offer the possibilities to study multiple aspects of social behaviour in relation to the built environment (e.g. Alshuwaikhat and Abubakar, 2008).
Despite the University of Twente has been applying many new technologies, the dissemination of knowledge to an international audience seems to be limited. This was for example the case when the cool circle at the Horst was introduced. However, a Dutch network of energy coordinators at universities exists to exchange knowledge and experience in reaching the energy targets and offering comfortable work places. The energy coordinators exchange their experiences and are able to gain information within this network, but their knowledge and experience could be spread more widely. Simultaneously, the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) embraces the subject of developing a sustainable campus one of its focal points. International collaborative workshops are organised to reduce the environmental impact of joint universities (ECIU, 2010).
These developments and the knowledge and experience available within the department of Construction Management and Engineering inspired us to propose a research program that will help to analyse the energy use of buildings at the campus, to design specific measures to reduce the (fossil) energy use, and to create a knowledge centre on sustainable education and research facilities. Based on the MJA3, most of the Dutch education and research facilities need to reduce their energy use. Subsequently, based on the EPBD, the expectation is that many European facilities need to reduce their energy use as well. By conducting research and setting up the knowledge centre, Building Twenergy aims at giving the University of Twente a unique position regarding the knowledge on and management of energy use in educational and research facilities.