Students waste £11m of electricity

Students in the UK are boiling away nearly £11m in electricity a year by mis-using kettles. According to research by Lancaster University, the UK’s two million university students waste around […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Students in the UK are boiling away nearly £11m in electricity a year by mis-using kettles.

According to research by Lancaster University, the UK’s two million university students waste around £10.8m-worth of electricity by overfilling kettles or leaving them to boil for too long.

Now the university is to put wireless monitoring technology in students’ kitchens to help them keep a check on their energy use.

Already 52 units have been placed in campus flats, with 1,000 students taking part in the scheme. The university plans to put monitors in another 1,000 kitchens. Students are also getting cookery tips to learn how careful preparation can reduce energy consumption.

The programme is being run as a part of the GreenLancaster campaign, a scheme started by the student union and funded by V, a national youth charity, in conjunction with Lancaster University Facilities.

The monitoring device attaches to the mains electricity supply and logs electricity usage on a wireless LCD display, allowing students to see their energy usage in real time. The equipment is unique as the high-powered central receiver allows the information to be sent to a central control room so scheme organisers can monitor energy use.

Ben Matthews of GreenLancaster said: “This project is all about changing behaviour to reduce energy consumption and make the university a more environmentally-friendly place.

“By explaining to students what they can do to help and applying that to things which they can identify with, such as making a cuppa or a Pot Noodle, and showing them how simple it is to effect change, we are finding that they are more prepared to become part of what we are trying to do.