June 27, 2024

Lake water for heating the university

The University of Konstanz is expanding its renewable energy infrastructure. One major project: Utilising thermal energy from Lake Constance to generate more than two thirds of the energy required for heating the university buildings.

One of the University of Konstanz’s goals for the future is to cover almost all of its energy demand through renewable energy sources. A major step to achieving this goal is to construct large heat pumps that will cover more than two thirds of the energy required for heating campus buildings from lake water, presumably starting 2027.

The heat pump project at the University of Konstanz is one of eight such pilot projects in Baden-Württemberg. The state of Baden-Württemberg is investing a total of around 25 million euros in the installation of Konstanz’s water heat pumps. The construction project was initiated on the basis of Baden-Württemberg’s energy and climate protection concept for state-owned properties.

How it will work
Several large heat pumps will enable the University of Konstanz to extract thermal energy from the water of Lake Constance. Taken at a depth of 42 metres, the water will be channelled to the university. The heat pumps cool the 6 degrees Celsius water by two to three degrees. The thermal energy extracted in the process will provide heat for the university buildings. The large heat pumps will be installed underground on the campus; the area above will be used for bicycle parking with solar panels used in the roofing.

Utilising lake water for a sustainable energy cycle is nothing new at the University of Konstanz: since its founding days, water from Lake Constance has been used to cool various university systems. The existing pipes of the cooling system between the university and Lake Constance will now also be used for the purpose of heating.

There is more
In addition to the heat pumps, the University of Konstanz will also expand the photovoltaic systems on its roofs: it is planned that a total of 28 roofs (16,000 square metres) will be equipped with photovoltaic systems by the end of 2025. Read more.

Contact: Hilmar Hofmann, Staff Unit Sustainability


In the picture: Lake Constance.

Photocredit: © University of Konstanz / Inka Reiter

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