Energy Update

The rapid increase in energy costs has been a key driver of the recent increases in inflation. The squeeze on finances is being felt by all despite the recently announced energy price guarantee to limit gas and electricity costs.

There has been some discussion in the media about possible power cuts in January-February. While only a possibility at the moment, the University is undertaking contingency planning; we will share more information in the future if needed.

In the meantime, the University is already leveraging its expertise and partnerships to adapt to rising energy costs and potential supply issues. It’s also playing a significant role in tackling global sustainability challenges, and has set a number of ambitious sustainability targets.

As we head into the colder months, we will need the help of our campus community to meet these challenges whilst helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. We also recognise that many of our staff and students will be concerned about the increase of energy prices, so we have put together some top tips of things you can do at home to reduce energy prices and while at work to support the financial sustainability of the University:

At home

Simple measures to reduce your energy use – these simple tools could save hundreds of pounds each year:

  • Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree. This will reduce your gas use by up to 8%.
  • For some boilers, you can simply adjust the flow temperature of your boiler, improving the efficiency of your boiler and reducing gas use by 6-8%.
  • Adjust radiator valves, so that you only heat rooms to the appropriate temperature
  • Are any radiators cold? If so, there may be air in the system in which case they will need to be bled.
  • Use a bowl when washing up, rather than leaving the tap running.
  • Dry washing outside on a clothes airer or washing line, rather than in a tumble drier.
  • Switch off appliances at the mains when not in use, rather than putting them into standby mode.
  • Spend 1 minute less in the shower.
  • Only fill the kettle to the amount you need.
  • Go to MoneySavingExpert for more energy saving tips.

Opportunities to invest to reduce your energy use

  • Ensure all lamps are upgraded to LED.
  • Fit a water efficient shower head.
  • Increase the thermal performance of your home with insulation (loft insulation can be purchased at DIY stores and does not require specialist skills to install).
  • Install smart heating controls (like a Hive, Tado etc), to better manage your central heating.
  • If you have ever considered installing solar panels, now may be a good time to investigate further, with prices falling considerably in recent years.

Further information and links to help

  • Firstly talk to your energy supplier if you are struggling with increased housing cost, they may be able to help directly or signpost you to appropriate support.
  • You may be eligible for grants and benefits to support keeping your home warm.
  • People receiving some types of benefit and support may be eligible for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
  • If you are renting your home, check your Energy Performance Certificate. If your home is rated F or G, your landlord is obliged to make improvements to your home

At work

  • Turn off small power items (monitors, laptop & mobile phone chargers, etc) at the switch when they are not in use.
  • Ensure lighting (if manually controlled) and any standalone air conditioning systems are turned off at the end of the day.
  • Make sure equipment is being used efficiently – freezer space should be fully utilised and any ‘spare’ units switched off. 
  • Some of our older buildings have older, inefficient heating systems. Please notify the Estates team if your building or area is too hot or too cold – each extra 1 degree of heat can use around 8% additional energy.
  • As the weather gets colder, dressing appropriately and keeping doors & windows closed when heating a room will help maintain warmth. Please do not use equipment such as portable heaters – these cost around £1 per hour to run.
  • Do not print something unless you absolutely need it in hard copy– refer to a digital version instead or, if someone needs a copy, email it or share it via Teams or SharePoint.

Did you know...

... That we have a major energy efficiency programme under way?

As part of our collaboration with Siemens, the Edgbaston campus is receiving a combination of building services upgrades that will help the University reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and will mark the first phase of the University’s transition to net zero carbon. For more information, visit our website.

If you have any queries or concerns about heating, cooling and energy use in your building, please do not hesitate to contact the Estates team.

Thank you for playing your part in helping us become more sustainable.


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