Top Energy Saving Tips

10919460_756276734463586_7398227301080169715_oThe results from the first half of the Interhall Energy Competition are in, with Andrew Melville, McIntosh, and Uni Hall leading the way in energy reductions, winning extra money for their hall committees and boosting their position in the Hall Champions League.

If your hall is struggling to keep up (or you’re trying to keep your bills down in private accommodation), read on for some tips that might help you turn the tables in semester 2!

Heatingblogpic1

  • Try not to have your window open and the heating on at the same time. Ventilate the room when you are not using it instead.
  • Keep your radiators clear of furniture – it will absorb the heat.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to shut out the night and keep in the heat.
  • Turn your thermostat down by one degree – you probably won’t even notice the difference!
  • Close doors to keep the heat in.
  • Cosy up at bedtime and turn your heating down at night whilst snug in your duvet.

 

Lights & Electric Appliancesblogpic2

 

  • Switch off lights in empty rooms.
  • Switch your appliances (such as laptops and TVs) off  and unplug them rather than leaving them on standby.
  • Towel dry your hair so you don’t have to use your hairdryer as much.
  • Try not to leave phones or other items charging overnight – a few hours are usually all that’s needed.
  • Watch your favourite TV shows with friends – it’s more social, and means you’re only using energy to power one TV!

 

Cookingblogpic3

 

  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need each time you boil it‌.
  • Cook with lids on pans and match ring size to saucepan size – this will also cook your food faster!
  • Try to avoid cooking in the oven and instead use other ways of cooking such as boiling, stir frying, or grilling, in order to save energy.
  • You can use a microwave instead of the oven for fresh food too. They’re quick, easy and economical to use and they’re handy if people in your hall eat at different times. For example, jacket potatoes take just five minutes in the microwave instead of an hour in the oven!
  • If you do need to use the oven, get your friends round to cook at the same time, or cook big batches of food together and freeze what you don’t need that day. It’s more energy efficient to use all the oven space available.
  • Try not to open the oven door while you are cooking. Keep the glass clean and you can peek in when you need to!
  • When cooking vegetables, use just enough water to cover the food.
  • Load and unload the fridge as quickly as possible – try not to leave the fridge door open for longer than you need to!
  • Never put hot food in a fridge or freezer. Let it cool first.

 

Washingblogpic4

Your dishes…

  • If you need to pre-rinse dishes, do it in cold water instead of hot.
  • If you’re washing dishes in the sink, use a bowl or sink full of water rather than leaving the hot tap running.
  • If you have a dishwasher, wait until you have a full load before putting it on, and use your dishwashers’ economy programme whenever possible.

Your clothes…

  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine – why not combine your washing load with someone else?
  • Use a lower washing temperature (between 30 -40oC), as 90% of the energy used in washing machines comes from heating the water.
  • Use a clothes horse to dry your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.

Yourself!

  • Taking shorter showers means there is less energy used to heat the water.

_____

Remember to ask your Hall Environment Rep if there are any upcoming events or campaigns you can assist with – energy saving is a team effort!

Image credit: The Green Age

We’ve gone electric…will you?

Wee Green Machine at Library

Ever seen our “Wee Green Machine” driving around town? It has been used by the University’s Grounds Team since 2009, and is soon to be joined by two brand new electric vans! Once delivered in a few weeks time, all the University’s mail and catering will be delivered with a little help from some clean, green energy.

To coincide with the expansion of our fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), three new dual socket EV charging points have been installed at the Bute Building, David Russell Apartments, and Agnes Blackadder Hall, and are available for all staff and students to use for FREE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook out for posts like these popping up on campus!

Although two of the six available charging spaces will be used to serve the University’s mail and catering vans, the other spaces are freely available for use by any member of the University community in line with our strategic commitment to reducing transport carbon emissions.

All you need to do to use one of the charging points is to register for a “charging card” to enable access to the charging facilities with provider Charge Your Car here.

If you’ve never considered going electric before, why not check out our interview with PhD student and long-term EV convert, Euan, to get the lowdown on what it’s like to drive one, and keep up to date on the latest EV news and reviews over at EV Association Scotland.

Waste Hierarchy – “The 6 R’s”

Everyone knows that it’s a good idea to recycle, but did you know that recycling actually falls quite far down on the order of preference for managing waste?

This order of preference is commonly known as the waste hierarchy, as shown in the diagram below. This diagram clearly shows the different options for waste management (“the 6 R’s”), with the most favourable option (refusing waste) located at the top of the triangle, and the least favourable option (rot – sending waste to landfill) at the bottom.

So how can the 6R’s help you reduce the environmental impact of your waste?

Waste Hierarchy

REFUSE to buy things you don’t need, and refuse to buy products that come overly packaged (like a box inside a box, wrapped in plastic, in a box…you know the sort!), or that you know will have limited lifespan.

REDUCE the amount of goods that you do need. The idea is to consume less, which results in less waste produced. Look out for multi-purpose products, and buy in bulk where possible e.g. buy larger sizes of toiletries, washing detergent, non-perishable food (pasta, rice, lentils), etc.

REUSE items you no longer need. Get creative and try to find alternative uses for your items, (inspiration available here and here) or donate them to a charity shop. For larger items, such as furniture, large electricals, and bikes, call the National Reuse Phoneline who will collect your items for free and give them a new lease of life.

RECYCLE items you cannot reuse. Look up your local council’s recycling guidance to make sure you are clued up on what you can and cannot recycle (Fife’s recycling information is available here) to make sure you are recycling as much as you can! Find your nearest recycling point, and use the banks of recycling bins located in all university buildings when out and about. Remember you can also recycle your glass, batteries, printer cartridges, and waste electricals, with more information available on our website.

RECOVER energy from your food waste if you don’t use it in a composter at home. By separating your food waste from the rest of your waste, it can be collected and anaerobically digested to produce biofuels and other useful products. Find out what happens to your food waste in Fife here.

ROT – the least favoured option. The waste you cannot reuse, recycle, or recover energy from will be sent to landfill or incinerated.

Follow the 6 R’s and see how empty you can make your landfill waste bin…and as an added bonus, by having less stuff in it you won’t have to empty it as often!

Green Resolutions for 2015

10resolutions
Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed a restful and enjoyable break for the holidays, and are looking forward to what 2015 has in store.

It’s not too late to make a green resolution for the year ahead, so here are some of our ideas…

Food

seasonalvegs

Eat less meat

Not everyone is ready to resolve to become 100% vegetarian, but resolving to eat less meat is a quick way to lower your carbon footprint. It is estimated that if each person cuts meat from their diet for one day a week it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road! Find some good vegetarian recipes, pick a couple of days a week where you will only eat vegetarian food, and make sure that when you do eat meat it comes from farms that ensure a high standard of animal welfare.

Eat more seasonal and local fruit and veg

Although supermarkets stock a wide range of fruit and vegetables year-round, those that are not in season locally will have been grown in energy-hungry greenhouses, or imported from afar. Find out what is in season, and be sure to buy locally where you can. By changing your meals according to the seasons, you’ll never get bored of what you eat!

.

Transport

bike

Pedal power

Put down the keys, grab your helmet and resolve to pedal more in 2015! By leaving the car behind and using a bike for short journeys, not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but will also give you a good workout and much-needed exercise after the festive holidays. It’s still very dark in January, so if you’re cycling after sunset remember to stay cycle safe and make sure your front and rear lights are working.

Public transport

Granted, if you live in a remote area, or there is half a metre of snow outside your door, cycling sounds less appealing. If that’s the case where you live, start using public transport to get around. If public transport connections are poor in your area, consider campaigning for improved services, or investigate other sustainable options, such as car sharing.

.

At home

Digital Thermostat and male hand

Energy efficiency

Make 2015 the year you resolve to increase the energy efficiency of your home! Simple changes like turning the thermostat down a degree, swapping your traditional lightbulbs for CFL (compact flourescent lightbulbs) or LED bulbs, fitting reflective radiator panels, and using window insulation film can all make a big difference to your energy consumption (and your bills!). If you don’t know where to start, contact the Energy Ambassadors who will give you all the information you need to get started.

Chemical-free cleaning

Detergents loaded with toxic chemicals end up in our waterways, poisoning rivers, and lowering the surface tension of the water, which presents another danger to aquatic life. Do a bit of research, and do your bit to reduce your impact by choosing eco-friendly washing and cleaning products as an alternative to harsh chemicals.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

As technology develops, we are able to recycle more and more materials, so make sure you’re up to date on what your local recycling service can and cannot recycle by looking up your local council’s website (Fife’s recycling information is available here). Remember to try and reduce the amount of household waste you produce in the first place by refusing to buy over-packaged goods, and reusing materials where possible.

Take shorter showers

The average person in the UK uses over 63 litres of water each time they take a shower, with the average shower lasting around 8 minutes. Aim to bring your shower time down to under 5 minutes, and when lathering up turn off the water until you are ready to rinse.

 .

Out and about

Eco-Friendly Shopping

Reusable bottles

Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. Shockingly, that’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle! Aim to ditch bottled water, and instead take a reusable bottle with you when out and about to keep you hydrated. Taking a reusable coffee cup with you will also help reduce your paper waste and some cafes (including the University’s cafes!) will also bag you a discount on your hot drink.

Beat the bag charge

With the 5p carrier bag charge brought into place late last year, there has been a huge reduction in the number of plastic carrier bags used in Scotland. Make it your mission for 2015 to keep a reusable bag handy in your bag, coat pocket, car, by the front door, and in your desk drawer to ensure you never have to pay the charge again!

 

Remember that you don’t have to make these changes all at once! Why not resolve to make one green change to your lifestyle every month? This way, the change is more likely to be permanent as it happens more gradually…

Images: vegetables, bicycle, thermostat, reusable bags