Managing energy responsibly

Now more than ever it is important to manage energy responsibly, and CERN is committed to continuous improvement of its energy performance.

Video showing some of the main measures taken by the Organization to save energy in 2022 and beyond.  (Video: CERN)

CERN is committed to improving its energy performance as part of its commitment to environmentally responsible research. In line with the strategic objectives of the CERN Management, and with the increasing need globally to manage energy, CERN is making improvements on the short and long term.

Energy management at CERN is overseen by the Energy coordinator, Nicolas Bellegarde, in collaboration with the Energy Management Panel (EMP), the enlarged EMP and the CERN Environmental Protection Steering board (CEPS).

"Energy savings are the day-to-day responsibility of everyone. Every member of the CERN community can contribute to this effort."

– Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN

Contents of this page

Breakdown Energy Consumption

Breakdown of CERN's energy consumption. Run 2 average (2015-2018).

CERN's energy consumption

Powering CERN’s unique array of accelerators, detectors and infrastructure primarily needs electricity, which accounts for about 95% of CERN’s energy use. In addition, the Laboratory uses gas for heating as well as fuel for transport and for backup diesel generators. 

Electricity consumption 2011-2022
CERN's electricity consumption 2011-2022.

For more detailed data on the Organization's energy consumption, you can go to the Web Energy Tool (only accessible from the CERN site).

Posters to raise awareness raising posters are one part of CERN’s energy policy to continuously improve energy performance.

CERN's energy policy

Published in 2022, CERN’s energy policy is designed to continuously improve the Organization’s energy performance and minimise the impact of its activities on the environment.

Its objectives are to:

  • keep the energy required for its activities to a minimum,
  • improve energy efficiency, and
  • recover waste energy.

Continuous improvement of energy performance will be made by:

  • defining, monitoring and updating guidelines, objectives and indicators based on energy use measurements, best practices and feedback;
  • training and awareness raising of the CERN community;
  • monitoring trends, regulatory developments and best practices in energy performance;
  • an energy management system compliant with the ISO 50001 standard.

CERN’s energy management system (ISO 50001)


CERN's ISO 50001 certificate was issued by AFNOR in February 2023.

As part of CERN’s commitment to managing energy responsibly, the Organization began the ISO 50001 certification process in 2022. The certification was obtained on 2 February 2023. ISO 50001 is the reference international standard that implements systems and processes to improve energy performance continuously. It requires setting up, monitoring and improving an energy management system aligned with CERN’s energy policy and with relevant legislation.

Benefits of ISO 50001 include:

  • Improving CERN’s governance and structuring on energy, whilst reinforcing best practices
  • Systematically improving energy performance from an initial energy baseline
  • Using data to make informed decisions about energy use and consumption
  • Fixing energy performance indicators and objectives
  • Identifying, assessing, and ranking energy improvement actions based on a common defined methodology
  • Measuring the results of energy performance improvements
  • Integrating energy matters within the relevant processes across the Organization (e.g. operation , design, procurement, human resources, awareness, communication, management review, internal audit)
  • Bringing together people around projects of common interest
  • Continually improving energy management to minimise CERN’s footprint, whilst ensuring benchmarking against other research institutes and industrials

CERN measures to save energy: highlights

Advancing the start of the 2022 year-end technical stop (YETS) of the accelerator complex by two weeks, and reducing the running period of the accelerators by 20% in 2023.
Delaying turning on the heating in buildings, as well as reducing the temperature of central heating boilers by one degree, saving around 2 GWh per year.
Replacing all lighting with LEDs, thereby reducing the electricity bill for lighting by 65%
Switching off CERN's street lighting from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to save electricity.
Everyone can help save energy: switching off lights and equipment when not in use, dressing warmly instead of turning up the heating and keeping windows closed when possible.

CERN’s response to possible energy cuts

In response to the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, CERN has examined a range of potential scenarios that could occur at CERN over the coming winter.

On 2 November 2022, CERN signed an agreement with electricity supplier EDF to manage further energy reductions, if needed. The agreement stipulates that EDF may ask CERN to reduce its electricity consumption for periods of 3–6 hours, once per day, subject to two days’ notice. CERN will endeavour to accept such requests up to three times per week. These reductions will be entirely managed from the CERN Control Centre and will have no impact beyond the accelerator complex. No action is required on the part of CERN personnel in this context.

What to do if there is a blackout

Given the unusual energy situation this winter, CERN is preparing for the unlikely eventuality that both French and Swiss electricity supplies might be lost at the same time.

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