Sustainable UCL


Big Energy Sprint: The Results

10 March 2020

Congratulations to Campbell House for saving the most energy this February! Campbell House’s energy consumption was down by a whopping 19% compared to February last year!

Big Energy Sprint Results image

Thank you again to everyone who participated in our campaign to save energy in halls.

UCL is powered by 100% renewable energy but the best way to reduce UCL’s carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of energy we consume in the first place. This is because if we do not reduce energy use across the UK, we will not be able to generate enough energy from renewable sources to replace fossil fuels.

Check out the leader board to see how much energy was saved per halls compared to the same period last year.

Graphic of the energy saving leaderboard

Winners Tips!

Keep saving energy with these top tips and enter our Easter Switch Off competitions to win prizes!

  • Tip #1: You can save enough CO2 to fill a London bus if you turn your laptop off every night for a year! (1).
  • Tip #2: If you switch off your lights every night, in a year you’ll save as much carbon as is emitted by driving from London to Paris (2).
  • Tip #3: Hang your clothes out to dry, instead of using a tumble dryer. If everyone in the UK did this, it would save over a million tons of CO2 in a year (3) – that’s equivalent to planting 4 million trees! (4)
  • Tip #4: Reducing the brightness of your computer screen from 100% to 70% can save 20% of the energy the monitor uses (5).
  • Tip #5: If everyone boiled only the water they needed when using the kettle, we would save enough energy in a year to power the UK’s streetlights for nearly 7 months! (6)
  • Tip #6:  A typical window left open overnight in Winter will waste enough energy to drive a small car 35 miles! Close windows and draw curtains to keep in the heat. (7)
  • Tip #7: Take short showers instead of baths – heating water takes a lot of energy, and a quick shower generates under half the CO2 emissions of a medium sized bath (8).
  • Tip #8: Turn down the heating and wrap up warmly in extra layers instead. For every degree you turn down the heating, you save 127 hot air balloons of carbon dioxide (9). Putting on a jumper raises your body temperature by 3 degrees Celsius.
  • Tip #9: Use the microwave to heat food – this is ten-times more energy efficient than using a conventional oven (10).
  • Tip #10: Spot any faults with radiators? Report them to your Halls reception right away, so that we can work together to make sure energy is being used sustainably at UCL.
  1. Carbon Trust, “Average computer use overnight for 1 year = 1.498kWh x 365 days x 0.43kgCO2/kWh = 235.11kgCO2. Volume = 235.11/1.98 = 118.74m3 CO2. Estimate double-decker bus volume = 9.5m (L) x 4.3m (H) x 2.5m (W) = 102.12m3 . For full calculation see www.carbontrust.com/resources
  2. Source: University of Cambridge
  3. An average drying-machine cycle uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2. If all households with a tumble dryer dried one load of washing outside each week, instead of by machine, they would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year. Source: The Guardian 
  4. "Calculating carbon sequestration rates is also a complicated process. The amount of carbon captured by forests depends on a variety of criteria including the tree species, densities and the climate. This makes it very difficult to get a global estimate for the CO2 sequestered by 1 tree […] Our best estimate at the moment comes from our project at the Scottish Highlands. Here, it is estimated that 4 trees will sequester approximately 1 tonne of CO2 in above ground biomass over a period of 100 years (estimate from Trees for Life).” Source: Mossy Earth 
  5. Source: Harvard University
  6. Source: Energy Savings Trust (2009): University of Cambridge 
  7. “A typical window left open overnight in winter waste enough energy to drive a small car 35 miles.” (Carbon Trust). If 200 residents in a UCL hall all did this, it would be equivalent to driving 7,000 miles.
  8. A 10 minute shower costs 0.5kg CO2. Source: Confused About Energy. A 150L bath costs 1.1 kg CO2. Source: Confused About Energy  
  9. Source: Carbon Trust
  10. Source: Nicola Terry