Student Switch Off is an energy saving competition which engages students in halls of residences to reduce their energy consumption and recycle better.
The campaign provides a valuable tool to engage with students, often during their first time away from home, and install behaviours they can take with them throughout their time at halls and then on to the private rented sector. As energy is often inclusive in halls there is no incentive to save energy and so this is where Student Switch Off steps in, offering prizes and running energy saving quizzes and competitions.
During the 2015/16 academic year the campaign worked with 140,000 students across 44 universities. Over 26,000 students actively engaged with the campaign, pledging to do their bit to save energy in their halls of residence. This achieved an overall average 6.6% reduction in energy usage. Saving over 3 million kWh of electricity, the campaign saved 1,800 tonnes of CO2 and £330,000 of electricity expenditure across the 44 institutions.
That's the equivalent energy consumption of making 105 million cups of tea and the carbon equivalent of offsetting 20,000 individual return journeys from London to Manchester. All from one year’s work, phew!!
One component of Student Switch Off is enabling students to volunteer as energy saving ambassadors. During 2015/16 over 1,000 students were trained as ambassadors and then went on to spread the message in halls, audit kitchen recycling performance, help run face to face competitions and run their own energy saving events. Some brilliant ambassador events happened across the country from an Energy Saving Club Night at Bournemouth University to a Green Cocktail Night at Brunel University.
New innovations are coming on board all the time, highlighted by the recent energy saving dashboard which enables universities to display near real time energy savings. This has been developed in partnership with academics at De Montfort University and has led to additional electricity reductions of 4% at seven UK universities this year. It also opens up opportunities to promote energy saving, for example University of Warwick displays the real time energy leader board displayed across university screens and has enabled mini competitions to be ran at certain times during the term.