Sustainable UCL


Time to switch off whilst we recharge over Easter!

17 March 2023

During the Christmas closure, we saved an incredible 107 tonnes of carbon – that’s equivalent to planting 1,783 trees! * Let’s bump up this number during our Easter closure. Go on - hop to it!

Bunny with stickers that read 'Hop to it' and 'Easter Switch Off'

In 2019, UCL committed to be net zero carbon by 2030. Whilst we have taken lots of actions, including switching to 100% renewable electricity, one way to further reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce our overall energy use. This means switching equipment off when not in use and reducing UCL’s use of heating, cooling and lighting.  

UCL spends an astonishing £3,000 per hour overnight on our overall electricity use. Sustainable UCL and the Estates team are working hard centrally to reduce our energy, but all of our personal actions can make a difference too! 

If you’re not convinced yet, there are great prizes up for grabs for the department or accommodation who pledges to switch off the most by Wednesday 5th April!  

How can I get involved? 

  1. Decide your switch off actions, by following our checklists here. Do you work in an office? Make sure your screens and appliances are completely off rather than on stand-by before leaving for the holidays. Are you living in halls? Check out what you can unplug before you go home.  

  1. Make your pledge to switch off via this form by Wednesday 5th April to be in with a chance to win prizes for your department and/or accommodation. There are prizes up for grabs for the egg-cellent department or division and the accommodation which has made the most pledges.  

  1. Encourage others to switch off using the resources provided by Sustainable UCL, including email templates and posters. Post about the Switch Off on social media, tagging @SustainableUCL and using the hashtag #ChangePossible. Include a picture of yourself showing yourself switching off if you can.  

How much impact do these changes actually have? Answer: a lot!  

  • Lighting a typical office overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of tea (The Carbon Trust).  

  • A PC monitor left on overnight can waste enough electricity to print over 500 pages (Energy Saving Trust).  

  • Air conditioning an office for an extra hour a day uses enough energy in a month to power a TV for over a year (The Carbon Trust).  

  • Leaving a computer on overnight for a year, creates enough CO2 to fill a double decker bus (The Carbon Trust). 

  • A typical window left open overnight in winter will waste enough energy to drive a small car over 35 miles (The Carbon Trust). 

Please note: Buildings will be open according to the standard Sunday schedule throughout the closure period (i.e., if your building is closed on Sundays, it will be closed every day). 

Check out our Easter Switch Off resources here!

*On average, one tree can consume approximately 60kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.