Blackout: a night out with the lights out

Friday 14-11-2014 - 15:22

We could always be doing more to improve the energy efficiency of our campuses, and it’s crucial that we do. More and more students’ unions are embedding sustainability into their facilities management, with retrofits and efficient lighting and heating as a core part of how they operate. But there’s also so much wasted energy which could be eliminated by small actions and simple behaviour changes.

Tonight, hundreds of staff and students across the UK are taking action through Blackout, our switch off campaign developed in partnership with the University of Southampton.

Every Friday evening, thousands of staff and students leave campus for the weekend, leaving monitors on standby, lights on in rooms, and appliances needlessly switched on. Individually, nobody’s wasting that much energy. But collectively, across entire campuses, over an entire country, this is an opportunity to make huge carbon savings very easily.

This evening, volunteers across the UK are having a night out with the lights out – working across their campus to turn off lights and appliances in all of their buildings, and monitoring the savings they make. They’re leaving notes to remind people to switch off in the future, and treats for those who already do. And they’re doing this because students want their institutions to be doing more on sustainability, which means shaping truly energy efficient campuses.

This isn’t a negligible amount of waste. In our pilot across Wales last year, and over many years at the University of Southampton, we’ve seen colossal savings. We’ve saved energy, money and – most importantly – tonnes of carbon.

77 per cent of students are concerned about the effects of climate change, and that’s why they’re taking action to cut carbon with Blackout. But it’s only the beginning. We should always be working together to innovate on energy savings, shaping systemic change from the top alongside behaviour change from below. The numbers participating in Blackout tonight is a huge testament to the student demand for more sustainable campuses, and we hope institutions across the UK reflect this in their energy policies. Together, we can turn our campuses into beacons of good practice for energy efficiency.

We’re running another Blackout event in spring 2015, which we want to be our most impactful yet. Talk to us about getting involved in helping bringing your staff and students together to make huge savings on a national scale.



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