UCL News


Energy conservation at UCL

9 January 2008

This year, one of UCL's New Year's Resolutions will be to work towards a greener UCL, together with all members of the UCL community.

UCL is currently reviewing its energy consumption, with a view to becoming more environmentally sustainable. 

Energy conservation
UCL's Energy Officer is David Anderson. Since David came into post at UCL in June 2007, he has been working on a Strategic Implementation Plan to reduce UCL's carbon emissions. "I spent my first months at UCL working out UCL's carbon footprint, and I am now working with the Carbon Trust on an environmental strategy to reduce UCL's carbon emissions by 20 per cent over the next five years." This five-year plan will submitted for audit to the Carbon Trust in February 2008, and then submitted to UCL Council before implementation.

The strategy sets forth a wide variety of ways in which UCL can save energy and become more environmentally friendly. As part of the plan, UCL is considering over 70 suggestions for conserving energy at UCL, and is currently incorporating these into the carbon management strategy.

He is now ordering the suggestions according to priority: UCL aims to introduce the most simple and practicable first, then move on to address more complex suggestions and possibilities: "Ideas have ranged from the lagging of UCL's many exposed hot water pipes, which is fairly easy to implement, through to building a wind turbine on one of UCL's outlying sites, which would clearly entail more thought and planning."

David is also leading the launch of the UCL energy-awareness website, You Have the Power. Accompanying the website campaign are a series of memory-jogging stickers, mouse mats and posters, reminding all of us to take opportunities to conserve power whether we're making a cup of tea, or switching off the computer at the end of the day.

How can I save energy at UCL?
To meet UCL's carbon targets, all members of the UCL community will need to be involved in reducing energy wastage on a day-to-day basis.

You Have The Power gives many simple tips about how to save energy. The following apply to the office:

Heating & Cooling

  • Set your radiator thermostat, if one is fitted, to reasonable levels. The statutory aim is 19°C
  • Ensure radiators are not blocked by furniture or filing cabinets, as they will absorb the heat
  • If it gets too hot in the winter, don't open a window, try turning the radiator off first
  • Ensure all extractor fans are off overnight and when not required
  • Don't leave doors open between areas of a different temperatures
  • Do not use portable heaters. If it's too cold report the problem to Estates & Facilities Division. Call the help desk on 30000.
  • Keep doors and windows closed in air-conditioned areas. If you don't your letting the cool air escape requiring further cooling
  • Do make correct use of window blinds where fitted. These can help reduce overheating on hot sunny days and also reduce lighting requirements on bright cooler days
  • Lighting
  • Try to use as much natural light as possible - working nearer windows will save turning on lights so often and ensure windows are kept clean
  • Switch off lighting whenever you leave the room (toilet, meetings, lunch and evenings)
  • Between your colleagues make sure the last to leave in the evenings is responsible for turning off all lights
  • Does your work area have a cupboard, storeroom, etc lit by means of an old style tungsten bulb? If so arrange to have it changed for an energy efficient bulb.
  • IT Equipment
  • Switch off computer screens when away from your desk (especially during lunch and meetings).
  • Don't switch on computers and printers which have been turned off until you need them
  • Make sure you share printers between colleagues
  • Switch off photocopiers and printers at night
  • Purchase electrical equipment with a high energy saving value
  • Kitchen
  • When you make a hot drink, boil just the amount of water you need and in a day we could save enough energy to light every street lamp in the UK
  • Regularly defrost your fridge to avoid wasting energy. You should also check the seals on your fridge/freezer to ensure no warm air is getting in - the seals should be tight enough to hold a piece of paper securely when close
  • Have a seven-day timer fitted to vending machines and water coolers so that they are not unnecessarily using electricity at night and over the weekends.