Aston launches crackdown on bad energy habits

Energy Awareness Campaign
1 November 2011 

Aston University is aiming to more than halve its carbon emissions by 2020, bettering government HEFCE targets for a 48 per cent reduction in CO2 levels for Higher Education institutions.

Aston has launched its Energy Awareness campaign to reduce its carbon emmison levels by 53 per cent compared to its 2005/2006 levels. The campaign’s aim is to encourage staff and students to carry out simple energy saving initiatives as part of its overall Carbon Management plan. The Institution has already been promoting good energy behaviour as well as investing in a series of energy improvement projects. Over the past five years, it has lowered its energy-related CO2 emissions on campus and in its halls of residences by over 16 per cent from an original 16,900 tonnes of CO2.

Top simple tips for future energy reduction on campus include;

  • Turning off either PCs or screens when going on lunch or to meetings. Screens account for 70 per cent of a computer’s energy use.

  • Fluorescent lights do NOT use more energy to start up than when they are left on. The energy used to start a typical lamp is the equivalent of  2 seconds running time. If the light is going to be on for more than two seconds when you leave the space, turn it off!

  • When working in a laboratory, turn off the fume cupboard after use. Left on 24/7, a fume cupboard could typically cost over £3000 a year.

                                                                                                                                                It is estimated that Aston spends on average over £3.2 million on electricity, gas, heat and water in a typical year. Andrew Bryers, Energy Manager from Aston’s Estates and Capital Development team, hopes these and other methods will reduce Aston’s energy bill, especially with the cost of energy set to increase by around 33 per cent in the next two years.

“Energy, as well as the increasing costs, play a big part in Aston’s CO2 reduction programme. This campaign will hopefully highlight to staff and students how simple behavioural changes can significantly contribute to reducing energy usage” he said.

Aston is already involved in a number of initiatives to promote a greener way of living and reduce carbon emissions. It has introduced a ‘binless’ office system, recycling posts for batteries, books and mobile phones and last June saw the launch of the ‘zero waste in halls’ project. The University also provides secure cycle parking, showers and changing facilities to encourage cyclists. Every February Aston Go Green Week aims to raise awareness about different aspects of sustainability amongst staff and students.

This year, the Institution was also awarded “First Class Honours” by the influential People & Planet Green League 2011, after being ranked 5th out of approximately 140 universities for the second year running.

For more information visit Energy Awareness or contact Kreesha Pattani, Aston University Communications, on 0121 204 4552 or email k.pattani1@aston.ac.uk