Sustainable UCL


Christmas Switch Off 2022: Your Impact

6 February 2023

Thank you to everyone who participated in 2022’s Christmas Switch Off! 488 pledges resulted in a combined saving of 107 tonnes of carbon – that’s equivalent to planting 1,783 trees!* This saved UCL an incredible £140,023 over the festive period.

Image of the Christmas Switch Off results. A Christmas tree has a three baubles on it. One with We saved 555,588 kilowatt hours in it, one with That's 107 tonnes of carbon in it and the last bauble with And £140,023 off the energy bills in it

You may have long forgotten about Christmas, but we certainly haven’t! We finally have the results from 2022 Christmas Switch Off.  

Thank you to everyone who participated in 2022’s Christmas Switch Off from the 23rd December to the 3rd January.

488 of us pledged to switch off lights, computers, laptops, fridges, microwaves, projectors, lab equipment, ventilation and heating resulted in a reduction of 555,588 kilowatt hours, which led to a combined saving of 107 tonnes of carbon – that’s equivalent to planting 1,783 trees!* Also saving UCL an incredible £140,023 over the festive period. 

By taking part in the Christmas Switch Off we hope to have raised awareness of energy usage at UCL and help our community realise that much more than just our computer screens can be switched off. All of this helps us reach our target to have zero carbon buildings by 2024. 

Zero carbon buildings by 2024

Competition Winners 

The departmental winners of the 2022/23 Christmas Switch Off are... The Ear Institute!** A big congratulations to you! You will receive £100 for your efforts. 
The Ear Institute was closely followed by the Institute of Neurology, Careers Team, Division of Psychiatry and Security and Crime Science.  

Although we’ve mentioned a handful of UCL departments, there were members of staff from a total of 71 departments across the university who took part, without whom we wouldn’t have reached our results. So, thank you all! 

A similar message of thanks goes to the many students across UCL who pledged to switch off during the holidays. We will be getting in touch with the first 100 students who pledged to collect their Keep Cup which can be used at all the UCL cafés where you’ll receive a discount on all your hot drinks!

What Now? 

These results just go to show the incredible changes we are capable of here at UCL!

As well as the actions taken by individuals, teams and departments, UCL and its Estates team are focussing on further actions to reduce the university’s overall energy consumption including, but not limited to:

  • Repairing existing and installing more controls for heating, cooling and lighting.
  • Working with the Energy Institute and others to link our heating and cooling system to our campus weather stations helping to better match room temperatures with the demand of that room.
  • Connecting our room bookings system with our building management systems so unoccupied rooms are not running unnecessarily.
  • Targeting SKA Gold and BREEAM Excellent (both environmental benchmarks), as a minimum, for large scale refurbishment and construction projects. Thereby ensuring we are improving our energy efficiency going forward.
  • Implementing a ‘mini-SKA’ assessment for smaller scale projects, to establish a similar high standard.

> What is SKA Gold?
> What is BREEAM?
> What is mini-SKA?

More information is provided in the Community Saving Energy on Campus article including an article by Dr Aurore Julien from the UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy and Resources sharing ideas on how to reduce energy wastage at home. 

While there are certain appliances which must stay running to ensure UCL remains a world-leading research university, we hope that we've shown how small changes can lead to a huge impact. Simple changes in our everyday behaviours, like switching off non-essential equipment, will help to tackle the climate crisis. 

Time to get ready for the Easter Switch Off! 

Community Saving Energy on Campus
How to reduce energy wastage at home

Get Involved

For energy-saving tips and resources check out our Sustainable UCL energy webpages. If you’ve been inspired to further help UCL reduce its energy usage, click on the following links to see how you can get involved as a member of staff or student.

Sustainable UCL energy webpages
> Get involved as a student
> Get involved as a member of staff

*On average, one tree can consume approximately 60kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. 
**Calculated by percentage participation per department multiplied by the number of participants per department. 

Savings calculations:

  • The holiday period was from 23.12.2022 - 03.01.2023.
  • Electricity used during the holidays = 2,200,675kWh.
  • Savings compared to term time = 555,588kWh.
  • Average weekday energy use during term time = 289,096kWh.
  • Average weekday energy use during holidays = 222,061kWh.
  • Average weekend energy use during term time = 255,217kWh.
  • Average weekend energy use during holidays = 217,077kWh.