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Hundreds of staff and students pledged their support and saved energy during the University’s second Switch Off Week. Held from 10 – 16 November, the week highlighted the role of the individual in reducing the University’s £16 million energy bill.

Why 'Switch Off Week'?

All staff and students have a role to play in how the University saves energy. Throughout the year the University’s Environment and Energy Section (E&E) implements projects to reduce the University environmental impact and promote sustainability but, although a team of ten can do a lot, they cannot do everything.

Switch Off Week was a chance for us all to focus together on switching off lights, office and laboratory equipment when not needed, improving the University of Cambridge's environmental sustainability by reducing our electricity wastage.

What were the results?

Switch Off Week demonstrated that small, simple actions by individuals all add up. Total electricity use was down by 0.24% during Switch Off Week, compared to the previous week (not adjusted for weather), with a reduction of 4,898 kWh. If continued throughout the year, this would save £26,234!

 Download the final results for Switch Off Week 2014

Due to the variability of research patterns this figure may mask individual successes, so we also calculated the less tangible benefits of the Week...

Switch Off Week engagement in numbers

Over the 7 days of Switch Off Week 2014, the Environment and Energy team:

  • Ran 22 events
  • Interacted with 942 people
  • Reached 1000 views of our Switch Off Week video
  • Had 123 hours of face-to-face staff and student engagement
  • Received a total of 1,553 social media interactions!

What did we do?

The Environment and Energy Section hosted and promoted events, celebrated successes throughout the week, heard from top academics in energy efficiency and related fields, and invited staff and students to take part in various challenges.

With a range of materials, such as posters and stickers for staff and students to put up around departments and colleges, take-away information postcards and energy fortune cookies, as well as promotional bike seat covers (not shower caps!) and water bottles, the E&E team spread the message of the Cambridge Green Challenge far and wide.

Our Roadshow toured the University estate to try and reach as many staff and students as possible. We ran an 'Energy Bike Challenge' for the first three days, inviting University members to see how long they could drive 90 watts-worth of electrical items with leg power alone. The longest on the energy bike was Tim Hele at the Department of Chemistry, who turned up in Cambridge University Cycle Club kit, set a new record with 1 hour, 1 minute and 1 second!

Did you know...?

  • The University of Cambridge spends £1825 every hour on energy.

  • Reducing your PC monitor brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% of the energy the monitor uses.

  • A photocopier left on overnight uses enough energy to produce over 1500 copies.

  • Electric heaters can be up to three times as expensive as central heating. Gas is also a lower-carbon form of heat production than electricity from the grid.

  • You CAN make a difference by joining your colleagues to make the University of Cambridge greener: remember to continue the Switch Off Week message by switching off (properly off, not just to standby) lights and equipment when it's not needed.

Switch Off Week is part of the Cambridge Green Challenge – how much energy can we save together by switching off unnecessary lights and equipment? How can you get involved, and who can you challenge to reduce their energy impact?