10:10 results: there’s good news – and bad

CSE’s participation in 10:10 sees reductions in certain areas

2 June 2011

Last year CSE announced that, along with dozens of other organisations and individuals, it would be taking part in the national 10:10 event with the aim of reducing our annual energy consumption by 10% over the course of the year.

Well, the results are in and there’s good news – and bad news.

The early part of the year saw a lot of information gathering and the development of a number of initiatives, some of which were aimed at raising the profile of CSE's involvement in 10:10 amongst staff. It was thought that a number of the plans should result in a decrease in the size of our carbon footprint over the year; all good news.

However, at the same time, an increased focus on data analysis within our research projects has led to an increase in the number of servers and computing power needed, counteracting other cuts in our electricity consumption. So the final results for our 10:10 year show that we’ve not managed to cut our overall fuel consumption in the categories counted by the 10:10 process.

“It’s obviously not quite what we were hoping for,” said Toby Bridgeman, who’s been part of the team working on 10:10 at CSE. “But given the need to increase our computing power to drive our work on distributional impacts of climate policies and to analyse heat demand and smart meter data, it’s perhaps not altogether surprising that our ‘baseline’ has changed over the course of the year. Our gas consumption for heating is already very low – about 5% of benchmark for similar buildings. So with 10:10 not counting business travel, our achievements were always going to depend on electricity consumption.”

Along the way, CSE has invested in a lot of new kit which should make a long-term difference, including a consumption logger that measures the server room separately and means we’ll now be able to measure our consumption in and out of the room.

We’ve also been busy collecting data from appliances across the organisation to enable us to map exactly where energy is used, where energy is wasted, and how best to manage the settings on our office equipment. We’ve been using a PLOGG, which fits between the appliance and the wall, and which logs consumption and sends the results by a wireless connection to a data file on our research computer.

“These devices have helped to produce a number of key findings over the last year which, once plans have been implemented, will almost certainly see reductions in the coming years – providing we don’t increase our computing requirements any further!” Toby added.

Key findings:

  • Fax machine uses 7-9W when on – and we’ve got pretty good at turning it off at the wall at the end of the day
  • Each desk station uses between 6-8W all the time (including weekends and nights), 3.1-3.2W of this are accounted for by phones
  • We have bought more ‘dumbeldores’ over the last year to enable us to switch off the lights manually, overriding motion sensors
  • Increased awareness and use of the ‘hard’ switches that can be used to turn off appliances when closing up the office
  • New office opening procedures mean appliances like photocopiers aren’t turned on first thing – the first staff member to use the appliance turns it on

Although not part of the 10:10 process, CSE has also put in place recording processes to track how far we travel and by what transport; city cars, hire cars and trains – which will enable us to take stock of our wider carbon impact. “Given the importance of our work-related travel in our overall organisational carbon footprint, it’s important we track this and improve our performance, whatever the rules of 10:10,” said Toby.

Despite the disappointment of not actually cutting energy consumption in 10:10, Toby is confident that our improved monitoring and understanding of our energy use will enable us to keep on top of our energy consumption in future. “This isn’t a one-year process and we’ll take the learning from this year through into future activities to curb our emissions,” he added.

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