Screensaver cuts Scarborough Council’s energy bills

Scarborough council saved £600 a month on energy bills – with just a screensaver, a poster and an email. The local authority in Yorkshire wanted to encourage staff to turn […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Scarborough council saved £600 a month on energy bills – with just a screensaver, a poster and an email.

The local authority in Yorkshire wanted to encourage staff to turn off PCs and monitors at the plug after they had been shut down.

The authority ran with a strapline: “If all Council-owned PCs and monitors were switched off at the plug after they had been shut down, in a year we would save enough energy to power Scarborough Sports Centre for 3 months.”

It ran a screensaver on computers for two weeks, followed by posters for a month. The following month the authority said it recorded the lowest electrical consumption at the Town Hall – where it has the largest amount of PCs and Monitors – on record.

Power use came in at 44,431 kilowatt hours (kWh), a whopping 11.75% down on same period previous year (50,346kWh), with savings just shy of £600 achieved in one month.

Jeremy Carter of Scarborough Council said a “lucky” email from the chief executive was key to the 2012 project’s success.

He said: “It was during the poster phase that we got immensely lucky, when our Chief Executive saw one of our posters and took it to a Senior Council meeting where it was discussed. Following that meeting an email was issued by the Chief Exec instructing all staff to ensure they switched off their PC and Monitor at the Plug after they had shut down.

“This email was immensely powerful as it presented the political backing required to really drive our message home. Following the email I began receiving a lot of enquiries from people enquiring into what else could be switched off, this lead to further investigations and savings.

“We also had people mentioning issues that they had been trying to address but didn’t know who to speak to for years, again this lead to identifying further savings.”