Shut-down and switch-off this Christmas

Posted on Dec 10, 2015 in News
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Most of us are taking a break from work over Christmas, and the holidays can be a great opportunity to give the planet a break too (not to mention making some real savings on your energy bill!). Remember – even when everyone is away on holiday, offices and buildings still use power.  By shutting-down and switching-off your office for a two week holiday period, you can save up to 5% on your annual energy bill and cut your carbon footprint.

This festive season follow our energy efficiency guidelines and use our Christmas Checklist so you don’t forget anything crucial before you leave for your holidays.

Starting now … think about your Christmas decorations

While they look very festive, Christmas decorations can really add to your energy consumption:

    • Consider purchasing LED lights as they use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights
    • Only use Christmas lights when people are in the building (installing a timer is a good way to make sure they get turned off)
    • Use fibre optics for illuminated decorations (in most cases fibre optics only use a single low-wattage bulb)

Make a plan before the break and share it with your colleagues

Before everyone goes on holiday, it is a good idea to agree on who will be responsible for switching off shared office and kitchen equipment, including:

    • Photocopiers
    • Printers
    • Scanners
    • Microwaves
    • Dishwashers
    • Air conditioners
    • Zips, urns and hot water boilers
    • Common area lights
    • Christmas tree lights

Print and display our Checklist and allocate who will be responsible for shutting down each item.

Remember to switch off equipment at the power point, as electrical equipment continues to use electricity even when in standby or sleep mode (this energy rating website gives a good explanation of standby power consumption).

Consider other areas where you can cut energy consumption (you may need to check this with your building manager)

Here are some areas you may want to focus on:

    • Ensure that regular timer settings for HVAC systems are switched off
    • Ensure hot water systems are switched to holiday mode or the temperature is turned down to the lowest setting (if they are gas – electric versions can be switched off)
    • If you have a server room ensure the temperature is set in the range of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
    • If you have car park or basement with automatic lighting don’t forget to switch off or adjust the timer settings
    • Defrost fridges and freezers and leave them left turned off with the doors open. If they have to be left on, change the temperature settings to a minimum of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (for the fridge), and -15 to -18 degrees celsius (for the freezer)

Ensure that power is still on for security, relevant lights, monitoring and internet access (if required).

On the last day of work, turn off everything in your personal area

    • Shut down your PC and monitor and switch off at the power point
    • Unplug all chargers and transformers, as they continue to use power while connected to a socket
    • And if you are the last person to leave, remember to switch off all the lights

Keep it green while on holiday

    • Christmas can often be filled with waste and overconsumption, so why not plan a sustainable festive season. Need inspiration? Environment Victoria has many great suggestions for Christmas celebrations that are a little gentler on the planet
    • Make a New Years resolution – think about what can you do to live more sustainably – switch to LEDs, start a compost heap, cycle to work? (It doesn’t need to be a huge step, even those little things make a difference!)

If you have any more suggestions feel free to share them in the comments below. Have a very merry, sustainable Christmas and we look forward to catching up with you in 2016!

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Catholic Earthcare is the part of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference which promotes ecological conversion to achieve a loving and sustainable relationship with the natural world. It uses environmental education, national and international links and advocacy to achieve this goal.

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