The first PhD thesis on energy efficiency and management in Portugal was completed at the University of Coimbra (UC), back in 1985 in the Electrical Engineering Department. Work in energy efficiency and renewable energy began at UC even earlier, in 1979, while the first MSc course on energy management was taught in 1990.
Since then, a large number of MSc and PhD theses have been completed on topics including:
- energy efficiency and management (both thermal and electrical energy, in buildings and industry);
- sustainable buildings;
- urban and regional energy planning;
- electricity generation planning;
- demand-side management;
- energy market transformation;
- energy network management;
- energy-environment-economy interactions;
- liberalization processes and wholesale electricity markets;
- industrial ecology models integrating environmental and economic aspects over the life cycle of products.
The Energy for Sustainability initiative was launched in the UC in 2006, gathering a set of disciplines, researchers, departments, faculties and research units.
In the last four years, the University took several measures to foster energy savings and energy efficiency, such as energy audits in several buildings, power factor correction or retrofit of lighting systems and electrical systems in general.
In 2007 the UC became a partner of the EU initiative GreenLight. There is an ongoing project of total replacement of incandescent lamps for CFL. An application presented by the UC to a national program to promote energy efficiency was selected to provide financing to a massive replacement of ordinary fluorescent lighting, in four big buildings, for lighting systems with electronic ballasts and high-efficiency lamps.
Undergraduate and graduate students regularly develop activities strongly involved with the improvement of energy efficiency in the university campuses, integrated in their curricular activities, such as development projects or theses.
Additionally, the UC has adopted waste minimization procedures directed at a number of waste categories. It also has a policy for the sustainable disposal of hazardous laboratory waste. It has a policy of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing on a growing number of products.
A DGEEI-UC intervention replacing incendescent lighting at the Joanina Library resulted in annual savings of 26 161 kWh, corresponding to avoided emissions of 12.56 metric tons of CO2, with a significative impact on greenhouse effect reduction.