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Long-term Agreement

Meer Jaren Afspraak; MJA

The long-term agreements with regard to energy efficiency are a set of voluntary but binding agreements between the government, business and various institutions to promote energy efficiency. The agreements can be regarded as a sector agreement with the industry world that aims to flesh out the plans from the cabinet’s Schoon en Zuinig (Clean and Efficient) programme and the Duurzaamheidsakkoord (Sustainability Agreement).


On 27 April 1999, a long-term agreement for academic institutions (Meerjarenafspraak Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs; MJA I) was reached between the university sector, united in the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (Vereniging van Universiteiten; VSNU), and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. MJA I contained the agreement that together all universities would realize a 14% improvement in energy efficiency (energy use/gross floor area) in the period 1996 – 2006.

MJA I results for the University of Groningen

Savings due to measures taken until 2006:

  • The total investment in realized projects related to technical measures amounted to EUR 1.3 M, enabling EUR 0.5 M in energy cost savings per year with a payback period of 2.6 years. This has resulted in a 10.2% decrease in energy use compared to the reference year 1996. The MJA I target was 8%. In other words, we have saved an extra 2.2% with the measures taken.
  • Organizational measures, ‘good housekeeping’ and the introduction of an energy management system have resulted in another 6% saving.

The total energy savings made by the University of Groningen until 2006 as a result of measures taken in accordance with the MJA I agreements thus amount to 16.2%.


In 2007 the VSNU signed MJA II, which was subsequently converted to MJA III in late 2008. MJA III requires extra effort with regard to sustainability and energy savings from all participating parties. MJA III will run longer than MJA I (from 2005 until 2020) and also includes a results obligation rather than a best efforts obligation.

The aims of MJA III are:

  • to improve energy efficiency by taking profitable measures
  • to introduce systematic energy management within institutions
  • if possible, to implement measures in the field of sustainable energy use and measures to improve ‘life-cycle efficiency’[1].

By signing MJA III, the University of Groningen has committed itself to a results obligation of 2% energy efficiency per year for the entire term of the MJA (2005 – 2020). 2005 is the reference year. In practical terms this means that a total efficiency improvement of 30% compared to 2005 must be achieved by 2020.  

[1] Life-cycle efficiency
Life-cycle efficiency focuses on the use of energy within the entire life cycle of a product, from raw material to reuse or disposal. This not only provides insight in the manufacturing company but also in the environment, including customers, suppliers, distributors and other companies in the area. Improvement of life-cycle efficiency will result in energy efficiency improvements over the course of the entire life cycle of a product, decreasing the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.  

Last modified:15 February 2013 10.21 a.m.
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