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Tackling energy wastage on campuses with Blackout

Friday 21 March 2014 Live Greener

Few people are more aware of the energy we waste on campsues as the staff who look after our buildings.

As hundreds of students across Wales are saving energy across campuses in our biggest ever switch-off event, we spoke to deputy head of house services at Aberystwyth University John Williams about the positive impact he thinks Blackout is having.

Do you see a lot of energy wastage on your campus?

In my current role supporting the academic buildings and other service staff buildings, I am acutely aware that there is energy wastage across many campuses.

Unfortunately, despite our best effort, staff become complacent, leaving windows open, lights switched and PC’s left in sleep mode.   I therefore believe that this is an excellent opportunity for the students in Aberystwyth University to take action and become involved in reducing energy wastage and highlight this issue to all users. 

Can turning stuff off really make a difference?

Clearly switching any electrical item off that draws electricity will make a difference, especially if the numbers are significant. Given the diversity of office users that we have and the number of PC’s within them, then I’m sure the impact will be measurable and having seen the previous figures from other universities that have already conducted this exercise, I would hope that we are able to match them. 

It would be great if our target were not that high, as this would demonstrate that our users are already mindful of energy waste. However I’ll wait and see the results.

Have there been other energy efficiency programmes at your institution? How does Blackout compare to them?

Clearly this is our first event and I believe that this is on par with other universities that have held events like this.  Hopefully if the response is good and we find that the impact we have made is significant then rolling this out across the rest of the campuses will get the message across.

I’m aware that we also have a busy team who are beavering away with the Green Impact initiative – so this may be the start of a regeneration in raising the awareness of energy saving schemes across our university. 

This is happening across six campuses on the same night. Should it be expanded even further?

Definitely, I truly feel that every site has a corporate and social responsibility for its environmental impact and it would be fantastic if every university in the UK embraced this scheme and worked alongside local governments, schools and other institutions to drive home this message that sustainability and good environmental practises should be incorporated into our lives and form part of our establishments mission statements that are linked to achievable aims, goals and objectives.