Big Christmas Switch Off 2014/15

It was lights out for Christmas as the Big Christmas Switch Off 2014 saw departments throughout the University turning off and unplugging any equipment which did not need to be left on over the week-long Christmas break.

The event was organised by teams within the Faculty of Engineering and aimed to reduce the amount of energy wasted over the Christmas period when unnecessary items were left plugged in or switched on. The Switch Off also aimed to raise awareness of energy consumption throughout the University.

The event was inspired by two successful Arts Tower Blackouts; in April 2014 we saved 1036kWh over the course of the weekend, the equivalent of £110!

The Switch Off took place from Friday 19th December until University opened one week later in the New Year.
Teams were reminded to make sure monitors were switched off, windows were closed, chargers and other unnecessary equipment was unplugged and the lights were turned off. Any equipment that needed to be left on had a ‘Don’t Switch Off’ sticker attached to it.

The word spread throughout the University and the following table shows electricity consumption in the week before Christmas compared the the Christmas break 2014/15. The break has been calculated from December 25th 2014 to January 1st 2015

  WEEK BEFORE Daily average CHRISTMAS BREAK Daily average Percentage CHANGE
ENGINEERING – ST GEORGES 15,303 kWh 9,375 kWh Down 39%
ENGINEERING – NORTH CAMPUS 15,318 kWh 14,785 kWh Down 3%
BARTOLOME HOUSE  652 kWh 351 kWh Down 46%
STUDENTS UNION – GRAVES & LINK 3,099 kWh 1,736 kWh Down 44%
ELMFIELD/GOODWIN SPORT CENTRE 2,856 kWh 1,787 kWh Down 37%
ARTS TOWER 2,760 kWh 1,704 kWh Down 38%
CHEMISTRY –WEST WING & NORTH WING 4,387 kWh 3,150 kWh Down 28%


  • ENGINEERING – ST GEORGES: Broad Lane Block, Pam Liversidge Building, Mappin, Central Wing, Mining Block, New Caledonia Workshop, Amy Johnson Building, Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Chemical Engineering
  • ENGINEERING – NORTH CAMPUS : North Campus HV electricity supply – Nanoscience, George Porter, Kroto

When we compared electricity consumption from the 2014/15 Christmas break to the same time in 2013/14, the Students Union, University House dropped a huge 16%! The Student’s Union Graves & Link were down 15% from last year too!

So, what exactly do all these numbers mean?

In total, electricity consumption dropped by 12,547 kWh over the Christmas break. That’s the equivalent of 6.8 tonnes of CO2.

One tonne of CO2 is as heavy as 10 baby elephants and would fill a 10m wide, 25m long and 2m deep swimming pool. So, in just one week, we have saved the equivalent of 68 little elephants or 6.8 swimming pools!

To look at that figure a different way, 6.8 tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to the emissions from burning 7304 pounds of coal or the CO2 from 4478 litres of petrol. It’s enough to provide the average UK home with electricity for almost an entire year and it would take 5.6 acres of US forest a year to sequester it.

It also saved the University a total of £1354!

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