Do you find it a turn-off? Sunderland University’s battle to cut energy waste

Back l-r: Veronica Rudd, heath, safety and environment adviser, Professor Peter Fidler, vice-chancellor, Pauline McCulley, project support manager.'Front l-r: Students Adrian Podar, Virginija Rakauskaite and Thu Tran.
Back l-r: Veronica Rudd, heath, safety and environment adviser, Professor Peter Fidler, vice-chancellor, Pauline McCulley, project support manager.'Front l-r: Students Adrian Podar, Virginija Rakauskaite and Thu Tran.
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GREEN campaigners are hoping their latest scheme will be a big turn off.

University of Sunderland has launched The Big Turn Off campaign to encourage its 17,000 full and part-time students and 1,400 staff cut their energy usage.

The university has already exceeded its targets in slashing the amount of carbon emissions across its campuses by almost a quarter in just six years through a range of measures, including improving insulation and installing smart meters.

Now, they want individuals to join in with everyday things ranging from switching off computer screens and phone chargers to sharing the cooking of meals to cut domestic fuel costs.

Collectively these small measures can have a massive impact on the amount of carbon produced by the university and help it meet bold government targets of slashing carbon levels by 48 per cent before 2021.

The Big Turn Off, a joint campaign with the Students’ Union, is being launched during the Freshers’ Week and one of the features will be a traffic light sticker scheme across all campus buildings, with all switches and plugs having coloured stickers - green to be switched off when not in use, amber to be checked before being switched off and red for never to be switched off.

Professor Peter Fidler, university vice-chancellor, said: “Many of the changes we are asking people to make are actually quite small, but collectively the impact can be huge.”

Phil Marsh, university director of estates and facilities, said: “The university has made huge progress in reducing its energy use and in turn cutting its carbon emissions which contribute to global warming. So far this has mainly been achieved through improvements to buildings and procedures.

“Now we are aiming to permanently change people’s behaviour as we look to make even bigger savings and reductions in the next few years. Many people have already made these small changes in behaviour in the home, from switching off lights when leaving rooms to recycling. Now we simply want people to be more aware when they are studying or at work in the university.”

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