Green Impact Sheffield
The University of Sheffield

Labs Switch Off!


As part of our behaviour change work at the University of Sheffield, we are taking part in the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Behaviour Change Pilot Scheme. This involves creating a two-year plan to help reduce the university’s carbon emissions.

Four stickers used in the Labs Switch Off campaign

Our first campaign, which ran between December 10th, 2012 and January 27th, 2013, was Labs Switch Off!

Six departments, based in 12 buildings, took part (APS, BMS, Chemistry, MBB, Psychology (Alfred Denny building) and SITraN), aiming to lower their energy use and carbon emissions by switching off lab equipment.

Stickers (right) raised awareness and provided reminders in these departments. We monitored energy use weekly and overall, comparing to the equivalent period from the year before.

Congratulations to Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, who won the competition by reducing their energy usage by 9.49%! Their energy saved was equivalent to making 276,179 cups of tea, or travelling to New Delhi and back! Well done also to Animal & Plant Sciences (2nd) with an overall energy reduction of 3.48%, and Chemistry (3rd) with an overall energy reduction of 0.92%.
Here is the final league table, along with real-life equivalents of carbon emissions*.

Overall: December 10th 2012 – January 27th 2013 against December 12th 2011 – January 29th 2012

Overall league table

*Energy used to make one cup of tea=0.028kWh; energy used by an 80% full 747-400=53kWh per 100 passenger-km according to David Mackay ‘Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air’. Flight distances are ‘as the crow flies’ from Sheffield, UK, according to Travel Math. Distance around the world from About.com Geography. For comparison purposes only.