Sustainable UCL


The Christmas Switch Off: your impact

2 January 2019

Congratulations to everyone who joined in with the 2018 Christmas Switch Off. 386 of you pledged, saving almost 900,000kWh – that’s enough electricity to run the lights on a Christmas tree for 1,538 years!* The Switch off saved UCL £95k in total and £9.7k on Christmas day!

Christmas Switch Off results

Why the Christmas Switch Off?

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

What was the impact?

Comparing UCL's energy use over the holiday period with our normal operations, you helped save a huge 899,284 kWh of energy* (9% more than last year). The gas we saved could be used to heat up over 26 million mince pies!*

Who won?

Congratulations to the Institute of Archaeology for beating the Division of Psychiatry – a team which has been hogging the top spot for the past 3 years, and winning the Christmas Switch Off! This is a testimony to the work of their Green Champions who achieved an Excellence Award at the UCL Sustainability Awards 2018 for making their labs more sustainable.

Well done also to UCL Estates, for achieving second place and to Clinical Trials and Methodology for coming third! 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 Bartlett School of Architecture for saving the most with a 64% reduction! The top 10 energy savers over the closure were:

Top 10 energy savers - league table

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 2,200 tonnes and save nearly £500,000 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

Become a Green Champion to help your department become more sustainable! For details see our Get Involved page or get in touch.

  • *Total energy saved – closure period was 22.12.18– 01.01.19, 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 24 hours
  • *Gas saved – warming up 24 mince pies at a time, for 6 minutes in a 2kW gas oven