Climate Compensated University

Leuphana University Lüneburg set itself the goal of becoming a climate-neutral university back in 2007. Goals and measures for a climate-neutral university operation were subsequently developed in a research project, integrated into teaching and implemented in the university's daily operations. Part of their concept for climate neutrality was to also include the neighbouring district in the project. The university finally achieved the goal of climate neutrality in 2014 for Scope 1, Scope 2 and part of Scope 3 and has since been climate neutral for the areas of

  • Business travel and vehicles
  • Electricity and heat
  • Water and paper consumption
  • Cafeteria food

The basis for the successful implementation of the concept of a climate-neutral university is the efficient use of energy and resources by increasing energy efficiency, using renewable energies, and promoting climate-friendly mobility and sustainable procurement. All measures have been successively implemented and optimised in many individual measures since 2007.

As a climate-neutral university, Leuphana fulfils its exemplary function, promotes corresponding competences as well as social and technological innovations and thus makes an important contribution to the sustainable development of society.

The Climate Neutral Campus project was nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2016 in the Research category.

Carbon footprint

In recent years, Leuphana has significantly reduced its energy consumption through measures to increase energy efficiency (including the widespread use of LEDs and hydraulic balancing). The university has replaced the remaining energy consumption with renewable energies, including photovoltaic systems. On campus, a combined heat and power plant (CHP) has been supplying heat from 100% renewable energy for the university and the neighbouring district since 2014. The greenhouse gas emissions as CO2 equivalent include emissions from biomethane production, the associated upstream chains and an electricity credit from the displacement of nuclear and coal-fired electricity. This creates a negative CO2 value for heat consumption on campus, which is used to internally offset further CO2 emissions from official vehicles and travel, paper, canteen and waste. The university itself is supplied with green electricity, which has a real CO2 displacement effect in the electricity mix. In addition, the university has improved its carbon footprint through sustainable procurement projects for office supplies and paper.


In November 2010, Leuphana received funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics for the realisation of a building and energy concept for a climate-neutral energy supply for the campus and the adjacent urban area of Lüneburg-Bockelsberg.

The goal of the scientific project was to develop an "intelligent" control system for the central building and the heating network, which was planned integrally with the renovation of the existing buildings in an innovative process and developed based on experience regarding heat storage underground. The funding programmes were "Research for Energy Efficiency" (EnEff-Stadt) and "Research for Energy-Optimised Building" (EnOB).

The planning has now been completed, the campus buildings have been optimised for energy efficiency, the central building has been completed with many energy-efficient technologies and an innovative heating system has been introduced for the university and the neighbouring district. The goals of the project were fully realised.

You can read the results of the Climate Neutral Campus research project here: Article "Climate-neutral and sustainable campus Leuphana University of Lueneburg".

"It was a long way to the climate-neutral university. It all started in 1999 with the project "Agenda 21 and University of Lüneburg". In 2000, the university was audited according to EMAS with a certified environmental management system. With the research and development project "Sustainable University", 2004 to 2007, the goal gained further momentum. When the new Executive Board set the course for a "humanitarian, sustainable and action-oriented university for the civil society of the 21st century" in 2007, the university began to think bigger: With the decision to build the new central building, the energy concept was revised and the goal of becoming a climate-neutral university was set."

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ruck, Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Climate Protection Officer, retired professor

In addition, the Leuphana Energy Forum has been networking business, politics, science and civil society in northern Germany as an annual conference since 2012.

Teaching on the climate-neutral campus

The project "Climate-neutral Leuphana" was and is regularly dealt with in seminars that deal with the topic from different perspectives at the university. In these various projects, the students developed ideas for the climate neutrality of Leuphana, for example in the following courses:

  • Sustainable heat supply Lüneburg 2030+ / How does the heat turnaround succeed?
  • Energy Turnaround - Scenarios and Options for Action University
  • Transdisciplinary project seminar Sustainable Campus District
  • Energy perception and energy awareness at the university
  • Development and presentation of an energy user profile of the university
  • Programming of a car-sharing service for the university
  • Project seminar on the expansion of renewable energies at the university
  • Transdisciplinary project seminar on a climate-neutral university
  • Project seminar on campus and traffic
  • Identification of electricity saving potential at the university