Save energy. Save the environment.
Updated on 26 October 2023
As winter approaches, we are asking all staff and students to Be Energy Friendly once again.
Last winter, the University community worked together to reduce our energy use. This resulted in a 17% reduction in gas consumption over the winter months, representing an emissions reduction of 3,400 tCO2e, financial savings of £1.1M and contributing to us reaching our environmental sustainability ambitions.
Once again, this year, energy-saving policy measures will be put in place, including setting ambient temperature of buildings to 19 degrees. This is in line with the EU and World Health Organisation guidance to heat buildings.
Play your part
You can play your part in reducing energy consumption by following the steps below. These ideas are not new, but they may not be front of mind; try to build them into your daily routine wherever possible:
- Lights off: turn off the lights if you are the last one to leave the room
- Boil less: only boil as much water as you need (this could save £3 per day per kettle)
- Layer up: bring a jumper for comfort during the winter months
- Switch off: turn off appliances at the socket when not in use, and keep electric heaters off for good (they consume up to £1 of energy per hour and can increase the risk of fires)
- Power down: turn off your computer and screen at the end of the working day, and make sure your computer is set to ‘hibernate’ if you are away from your desk. We realise that you might need to dress differently considering the new heating arrangements. Supervisors are asked to be supportive of changing from traditional work clothing to multiple layers and jumpers. You should talk to your supervisor if you feel uncomfortable with a building temperature or have medical conditions that causes a persistent feeling of cold.
With more than 26,000 students and 14,000 staff members taking these actions, the cumulative effects will save a significant amount of both money and carbon emissions. For example, reducing the ambient temperature in all University buildings by just one degree will save up to 8% of heating energy.
Colleges will be introducing local energy-saving measures; college staff and students should contact their college for more information.
Support for staff
With increased energy bills and difficult decisions about expenditure. The Energy Saving Trust is one of many organisations to provide practical help to reduce energy bills, including the ideas highlighted above – some of which can be implemented instantly at no cost.
The University also has a Staff Financial Support Fund to assist those with unmanageable financial burdens.
Please remember the HR webpages also provide resources to help support mental wellbeing during these uncertain times.
Support for students
If you find yourself struggling with the cost of living, then talk to your college and/or student welfare team. Don’t suffer in silence – these teams are there to help and will not judge. Details of financial assistance for students can be found on the Oxford Students website, along with useful information about managing your finances and planning you study and living costs. You can also visit the University’s Sustainability page for tips on reducing energy consumption, including for those in rented accommodation.
Please remember the student welfare and wellbeing webpages also provide resources to help support mental wellbeing during these uncertain times.
Resources for the Be energy friendly campaign
Our Be energy friendly campaign includes materials to reinforce these messages; the latest version of the energy friendly campaign pack can be found on SharePoint (SSO required). The campaign uses some familiar characters from around Oxford, who will be asking all of us to take individual action to reduce our personal energy consumption.