Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Sustainability

Myth busters

True and false tick boxes

Computer based myths

Leaving your screen saver bouncing around your screen uses less energy than your normal working screen

False

Explanation - Screen savers don’t save energy. The moving image can often use more!

Continually turning PC monitors on and off wears out the equipment

False

Explanation - A PC monitor only consumes one seconds worth of energy when being started up or closed down. As monitors account for 70% of the PCs energy use, its ALWAYS better to turn it off, especially when you are going on lunch or to meetings.

 

Continually turning your PC on and off causes it to wear out

False

Explanation - Regularly turning your PC off not only saves energy but also extends the life of your base unit as it reduces mechanical wear inside the unit. Manufacturers now recommend that users turn their base units off when not in use.

PCs and monitors automatically go into sleep mode

Sometimes

Explanation - Depending on your computer's settings your computer may. You will need to activate your PC and monitor's energy saving functions, but check with your IT department before you do.

Additional information

Computer Monitors

Base Units

Heating based myths

If the radiator is cold this must mean the heating is off

False

Explanation - The heating isn't necessarily off. Where a building heating system or radiator is thermostatically controlled the radiator may be off because the office has reached its optimal temperature (usually between 19-21°C). The heating will automatically come back on when the temperature drops.

Lighting based myths

Low energy lamps are too dim

False

Explanation - Modern eco bulbs produce bright, yellow light that is just as pleasant as incandescent lighting. Most modern low energy bulbs now turn on within a second, with no flickering. But it's true that they can take a few seconds to reach their maximum light levels, especially in a cold room.

There is very little selection of low energy lighting

False

Explanation - There are lots of different types of energy efficient lamps available now, Lamps for all kinds of applications. In fact, you can select any colour you want - warm, medium or cool looking lamps with all kinds of fittings and functions, like dimmable versions.

Low energy lamps are too expensive

False

Explanation - Prices have plummeted in recent years and, thanks to subsidy schemes, high quality bulbs are available in the UK for as little as £1 each. The more obscure eco bulbs are a little more expensive, but still excellent value if take into consideration how long they last and the comparative cost of using regular bulbs.

Low energy Lamps use more energy in production than regular

True, but...

Explanation - Energy saving bulbs take around four times more energy to make than regular incandescent bulbs do. But they last 10 to 15 times longer, so they can actually help reduce the total energy used in light bulb manufacture and distribution as well as reducing waste when it comes to disposal.

Energy efficient lamps contain mercury

True, but...

Explanation - They do contain tiny quantities of mercury (around 100–300 times less than you’d get in a thermometer). However, this can be safely disposed of by taking old bulbs to your local recycling centre. The largest source of mercury in the air is the burning of fossil fuels - in coal-fired power plants, for example. Provided they're properly disposed of, low energy bulbs can help reduce the amount of mercury energy entering the atmosphere by cutting the demand for electricity.

Low Energy Lamps are ugly

False

Explanation - The range on the market has dramatically increased and there are now plenty of regular-looking eco bulbs, available in globe, candle and other shapes

It is better to leave fluorescent lights on rather than switching them off when not needed?

Fluorescent lights use more energy to start up than they when they are left on

False

Explanation - The energy consumed to start a typical lamp is the equivalent of 2 seconds running time. If the light is going to be on for more than two seconds, turn it off!

Switching fluorescent lamps on and off reduces their life

Sometimes

Explanation - Fluorescent lamps are designed to be switched on / off up to seven times a day without any effect on their life

I haven't any time to be environmentally friendly

Being part of the It's Better OFF campaign does not take much time at all. Cycling to work is often quicker than sitting in a traffic jam. Choosing the correct bin for our waste takes a split-second decision. Turning things off, again, does not take time.

We're not asking people to make radical changed to their lifestyles, merely to think about environmental impact when making decisions so that we incorporate good practice. This can be as simple as boiling only the water needed in the kettle, which will actually save time, or bringing lunch to work in a plastic box rather than aluminium foil to save on waste.

Even being an environmental champion does not require large amounts of time. This means that it's a role suitable for all. Management throughout the University support the campaign and therefore environmental champions can attend a two hour training session without inconvenience. After training, it's simply about keeping your eyes and ears open, and about raising the profile of the campaign in your area through talking to colleagues.

If we all do a little, a lot will be achieved. So no matter how little time you have, just changing one action for the better will add to our collective success.

 

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