December 18, 2012, by sustainablenottingham

Off for Christmas

Abstract christmas tree lights in star shape (Image credit: Marius Muscalu, Flickr)It’s hard to escape the flurry of Christmas-related activity, but as the Christmas break approaches, the Sustainability team are making preparations that don’t relate to turkey, trees or tinsel.

Historically, the University closes for around 11 days between Christmas and the New Year. With virtually all buildings closed and normal activity suspended, this offers a rare opportunity to monitor how much energy our buildings use when ‘at rest’ – their base load.

Last year’s results make interesting reading. During the 11 day break last year, the electricity consumed on UK campuses cost the University around £150,000 and generated approximately 850 tonnes of carbon dioxide – whilst the sites were deserted. And on average over 2,300 PCs were active each day of the break, with nearly 2,200 in use on Christmas Day itself.

This year (as with last year), we’re encouraging staff to switch off and unplug all non-essential electrical equipment before they leave for Christmas. Offices are a good place to start: 

  • Computers and monitors
  • Photocopiers, printers, scanners, shredders
  • Lighting – desk lamps, display lights, decorative lights
  • Display screens – plasma/LCD screens in foyers, televisions etc.
  • Chargers – for mobile phones, laptops etc.
  • Radios
  • Kitchen appliances – microwaves, coffee makers, kettles etc.
  • Hot water boilers
  • Water coolers

It’s more difficult to produce an exhaustive list of lab equipment, but the same principle applies: switch off and unplug equipment (such as drying ovens, incubators, shakers, stirrers) that doesn’t need to be on. Where possible, switch off fume cupboards; if you need to store chemicals, try to consolidate them in a single cupboard (where it is safe to do so) and turn the rest off.

This all contributes to reaching the University’s carbon reduction target and helps to reinforce the savings, both carbon and financial, achieved from investing £1.48 million in carbon reduction projects in 2011/12.

Please help to reduce our carbon footprint further by ‘pulling the plug’ before you leave for the Christmas break!


Photo credit: Marius Muscalu

Posted in carbon