On Friday March 20th, seventy staff and student volunteers came together to audit and turn off unnecessary lights and equipment for the weekend as part of the National Union of Students’ Blackout campaign. It’s the first campus-wide energy audit the university has held for a number of years.
Students met at the Atmosphere Café in the early evening, before splitting into teams to audit buildings across campus, noting down and turning off unnecessary equipment (except computers) and leaving reminders for staff and students to either thank them for powering down or encouraging them to switch off at the end of every day. Most of the university buildings were audited, with the exceptions of research intensive areas (eg. Cockcroft), buildings in full operation (eg. the Library) and Media City due to location.
The auditors found 212 computers and 286 monitors left on (not including computer labs), 1002 lights, 35 projects and 51 printers. It is interesting to note that this is equipment left on even after communications about the event, which may have resulted in people making a special effort to switch off. Analysis of the energy data found that over the weekend there was a saving of £280 and 120 kilograms of CO2 as compared to the previous weekend. Based on this data, there are opportunities to save over £14,500 a year, just through weekend shutdowns alone! If good housekeeping practices were adhered to, even on weekday evenings, the savings could be even greater!
Shaun Wykes, Salford Blackout co-ordinator said “It was great that so many people got involved in the event and it does show that turning off unnecessary equipment and lighting really does add up and everyone can contribute to making an environmental and financial difference.”
NUS vice president for society and citizenship Piers Telemacque said “Making a huge impact on energy wastage starts with actions as small as turning things off at the end of the day. Our simplest actions can make a massive difference”.
By showing the huge carbon and financial savings which can be made on a single weekend, Blackout proves how easy it can be to make huge annual cuts to energy wastage and carbon output by taking actions as simple as turning off electronic equipment at the end of the day.
A group of TV and Radio students are making a short film for the Sustainability team this year and they were filming all the activity on the night so there will be a chance to see Blackout in action when the film is released in June!