Behaviour change at Reading

Energy saving behaviours:

The University of Reading is committed to reducing its environmental impacts, underlined by its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 35% by the 2015/16 academic year (compared with a 2008/9 baseline.) A significant proportion of this saving has been assigned to energy saving behaviours.

By taking simple steps such as turning off lights, computers and printers in the evenings and at weekends parts of the University have reduced electricity consumption by up to 25%. We have an annual electricity bill in excess of £2.5 million so working to extend these savings across campus will have a big impact on our financial performance. All this by just by remembering to turn things off when they’re not used!

We have collected this data via a series of pilot projects around the University, focussing on reducing our energy consumption. These range from installing high tech monitoring equipment in buildings to promoting opportunities via Facebook and Twitter – why not follow us @unirdg_sust?

Here are a couple of examples of the great achievements to date:

  • NUS Green Impact Awards: This is a national scheme with over 50 institutions and over 950 teams taking part. Staff and students work through a common programme of activities to reduce our environmental impact, including making sure the correct bins are present, completing a shut-down checklist for vacations to ensure all non-essential equipment and services are not wasting energy and removing bottle-fed water coolers. During the 2012/13 academic year, it has been calculated that the project has saved the University over £45,000 and 217 tCO2e.
  • Carnego Behavioural Change Project: In The Carrington Building, Windsor Halls and RUSU we have installed a series of electricity meters giving a minute by minute picture of our energy consumption. This helps us understand where energy is being wasted by looking at peaks on the graphical output. The charts have proved to be a great motivator to change people’s behaviour.
  • Carbon Trust Behavioural Change Project: Focussing on behavioural change in office and classroom buildings has enabled us to reduce electricity us by approximately 7%. This focussed on simple measures like turning off lights and unnecessary equipment. Planned phases include automatically shutting down PCs and further educating building occupants.

To see this work in action, why not take a look at this video from the University: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlBUgOJ785o. From these simple examples, it is clear that even the smallest individual action contributes to a greater end.