Green UCL


The Christmas Switch Off: your impact

8 January 2018


Congratulations to everyone who joined in with the 2017 Christmas Switch Off. Over 400 of you pledged, saving almost 823,000 kWh – that’s enough electricity to run the lights on a Christmas tree for 1291 years!*

Why the Christmas Switch Off?

Whilst it seems obvious that UCL saves energy over the Christmas period- you’d be surprised at the amount of appliances which get left on without your help. This year thanks to you, our Green Champions and our Estates team we managed to switch off more equipment than ever. From chillers, to heating, ventilation and lab equipment, to lights, desktops, kitchen equipment and TV screens, you name it – it was switched off!

What was the impact?

Comparing UCL's energy use over the holiday period with our normal operations, you helped save a huge 822,534 kWh of energy* (2% more than last year despite the campus growing). The gas we saved could be used to heat up over 24 million mince pies!*

Who won?

Congratulations to the Division of Psychiatry. For the third year in a row they have won the UCL Christmas Switch Off, with 79 students and staff pledging to Switch Off over the break! This is a testimony to the work of their Green Champions who achieved a Gold Award at the UCL Sustainability Awards 2017.

Kirsten Moore, Division of Psychiatry Lead Green Champion says:

" The Switch Off is really important to us. We still feel that a lot of equipment is left on over the break, so we like to remind staff and students, so that they actually switch everything off before they go. All we did was send 3 emails to all staff and students in the 2 weeks running up to Christmas. In the last email we were able to say that we were leading the competition again so perhaps this spurred people on! We will be using the prize to buy plants for the office”

Well done also to UCL’s Human Resources team, with 29 pledges they achieved second place, and in third place the Institute of Archaeology with 28! Thank you to everyone who took part.

Who saved the most energy?

There was also a prize this year for the department or hall of residence which saved the largest amount of energy. Congratulations to Geography for saving the most with a 64% reduction! The top 10 energy savers over the closure were:

xmas switch off leaderboard

Well done to everyone who saved energy. You can find out your buildings energy use hour by hour here.

What now?


If we switched off like this every weekend, UCL could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by around 1,900 tonnes and save nearly £700,000 on its energy bill every year.

We know that for some appliances and equipment, it wouldn't be practical to switch off for such a short period, but hope these large savings highlight the impact we can all make through simple changes to behaviour.

Get involved

  • Find out more about what UCL is doing to save energy here.
  • If you’d like any help, information or resources to make your department or division more sustainable, please do get in touch.

  • *Total energy saved – closure period was 23.12.2017 – 01.01.2018, variance compared to average of preceding 4 weeks (normalised for degree days for heating savings)
  • *Electricity saved – average Christmas tree lights consume 1.2kWh in a day
  • *Gas saved – warming up 24 mince pies at a time, for 6 minutes in a 2kW gas oven