Sustainable UCL


Dreaming of a GREEN Christmas?

6 December 2019

Help reduce UCL’s carbon to hear sleigh bells in the snow. 

Christmas Switch Off Campaign Image

UCL is powered by 100% renewable energy, and by 2024 our buildings will be net zero carbon, but this doesn’t mean we should waste energy over the Christmas break! On an average week UCL uses around 4.5m kWh of energy to heat and power our buildings. That’s equivalent to 630 flights to New York! Be a part of the solution and not the pollution, by participating in the BIG CHRISTMAS SWITCH OFF! Last year, 386 of you pledged to switch off, but we can do better than that!   

What is the BIG Christmas Switch Off?

Every Christmas, the UCL community and Estates staff do a BIG push to switch off as much as possible from heaters to fridges, computer screens and lab equipment. Last year we saved a staggering 900,000 kWh of energy – that’s enough electricity to run the lights on a Christmas tree for 1,538 years! It also saved UCL £95k over the break and £9.7k on Christmas day alone! This year we want to reduce our carbon even more, in the hope that we’ll have a white Christmas, just like the ones we used to know. Whether you’re a student or staff member, we want everyone to get involved. There are three competitons to enter and prizes to be won! 

Students living in Halls:

1. Pledge to Switch Off to receive a free reusable water bottle 

For the chance to win one of the much coveted Sustainable UCL water bottles, simply download our guide on ‘What to Switch Off in your Halls’ and pledge here. All students who pledge to Switch Off will be entered into a prize draw and one winning student per halls will be chosen, at random, from the pledging document.

Staff and Students in Departments:

1.Pledge to Switch Off to win £100 for your department 

Help us beat last year’s record by pledging to SWITCH OFF over the Christmas Break. Simply read our guide on ‘What to Switch Off in your Department’, and pledge here with your department’s name. We’ll be rewarding the department which gains the highest proportion of Switch Off pledges with a £100 voucher to spend on plants (or an approved sustainability initiative).

2. Promote the Switch Off to win £100 for your department

We are also giving £100 to spend on plants (or an approved sustainability initiative), to a group of staff or students who create the most engaging campaign to promote the switch off. Think big, fun and festive and make sure you get into the Green Christmas spirit by reusing and recycling! You could do the following:

  • Hold a lights-out party/film night 
  • Switch off one floor at a time and convene on the last lit room for a Christmas farewell  
  • Hand-crank those torches and radios 
  • Dress up as snow people to spread cheer and the switch-off message via festive tours of the department and door-knocking - you can even borrow the costumes from us! (Share the ‘What to Switch Off’ checklist with your department to save you time...and energy!) 
  • Social Media campaign
  • Video campaign (think cheesy, 90's educational videos like this). 
  • Let your imaginations fly! 

Campaigns will be judged via documentation of your event or any media (photos/videos/posters) produced. Contact your Departmental Administrator to get started and consult our Switch Off Checklist to find out which lights, appliances and heating you should switch off.  All media documentation to be submitted by 20th January to poppy.stockbridge.13@ucl.ac.uk and the winning campaign will be annouced on the 25th January. Media can also be posted to social media with the hashtag #UCLSwitchOff and please tag @SustainableUCL so we can repost and spread the Christmas cheer!

What can I switch Off?

Find out what should be switched off in labs, offices and halls and download all of our Switch Off resources. This includes stickers, live energy data, email templates and posters and energy switch off checklists.