Reduce energy usage in halls of residence

Wednesday, 30th March, 2016

Most universities will be well aware of the need to reduce their carbon footprint; part of this is looking at ways to reduce energy usage across campus and halls of residence.

Reducing electricity usage in halls can offer some quick returns. Encouraging students to turn off lights when they leave their room could save you 25kg of CO2 per room per year and reduce your energy bills. If students understand that plugged in chargers still use electricity just by being plugged in and therefore are still creating CO2 emissions equivalent to driving 130 miles in a petrol car, your students might be encouraged to turn off lights and plugs!

It might not be that easy

But that might not be as easy as you hoped! A recent survey ‘Quantifying baseline consumption and pre-intervention behaviours – Year 2’ (you can read the full report here) identified some of the barriers that students face in becoming more energy aware. It cites things like:

  1. Lack of feedback on how much energy they consume
  2. Energy saved in halls isn’t their money being saved
  3. They have other things on their minds
  4. Sustainable living is not for them
  5. Lack of inspiration from the university to act in an energy saving way
  6. Being energy aware isn’t cool

Of course, number 5 doesn’t apply to all universities, many are signed up to Student Switch Off (www.studentswitchoff.co.uk) and actively encourage students to follow their tips and join in Student Switch Off’s energy-saving competitions.

And the research showed, on balance, students have a great attitude towards energy saving on the whole and do want to play their part – which is great news.

Offer a helping hand

What universities need to do is offer a helping hand to students and make turning off lights and plugs so easy the student doesn’t even need to think about it.

By putting energy saving devices (ESD) into each student room can help save up to 65% of energy consumption*

ESD are activated and authorised for use by ID cards with appropriate rights assigned. In student accommodation, only the student allocated to a particular room would be able to switch on the lights/power and the lights/power would automatically go off when the student removed their ID card to leave the room. Other functionality can include a window detector input, so if a window is left open any air conditioning would be turned off. The device has a blue LED light so it can be easily found in dim/dark rooms and blinks as a courtesy indicator after retrieving the card when leaving the room.

Energy saving devices come in two modes online and offline, the online mode option offers additional benefits such as indicating in real-time the presence of the card holder in the room and if you already have a SALTO access control solution it is a simple configuration to link the ESDs to your virtual network.

So simple

Energy saving devices are a simple little tool that can be a powerful weapon in your energy reduction arsenal. If you would like to learn more please contact us on 0113 273 0300 or email steve.blake@ait.co.uk

*Estimation based on SALTO survey on energy management.