Staff from the School of Population and Public Health participated in the 2017 Seasonal Shutdown.

This past December, departments across campus joined together to reduce UBC’s environmental footprint over the winter holiday by participating in Seasonal Shutdown, an annual campus-wide effort to turn down the heat in buildings and engage staff and faculty to complete energy-saving tasks.

Behind the scenes, energy managers and building operators collaborated to lower the temperature in buildings across campus during the shutdown period (December 23, 2017 to January 1, 2018), resulting in significant savings. A total of 450,000 kWh of electricity was saved, representing $32,000 in energy costs, equivalent to the average monthly electricity consumption of 455 Canadian households. The electricity and heating savings will result in a reduction in carbon emissions, helping to meet UBC’s climate goals.

“Turning down the heat makes a big impact, as much of the energy consumed in buildings is due to our building heating systems. By optimizing building controls, we can achieve significant energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping to achieve our climate action targets,” says Orion Henderson, Director, Energy Planning & Innovation, with UBC Energy and Water Services.

Across campus, faculty and staff took part by championing additional energy-conservation actions in their departments by switching off electronics, unplugging small appliances, turning off lights, closing windows and blinds, and shutting down lab equipment. Departments submitted ‘Shutdown Checklists’ with completed actions prior to the break for the chance to win one of three $100 prizes.

Overall, 30 buildings, 38 departments and 1,100 people participated in the engagement campaign. Three lucky teams won prizes for participating: UBC Bookstore, School of Population and Public Health (SPPH), and St. John’s College.

“It was wonderful to see a whole group from SPPH contribute their time to take part in this important campaign, says Jackie Carpio, SPPH Financial Assistance. “We had a lot of fun running up and down, checking all the offices and labs in our building to ensure electronics were switched off, appliances unplugged, and more, all while helping the university, and the environment.”

Seasonal Shutdown is an annual campaign organized by UBC Energy & Water Services, Building Operations, and Campus + Community Planning. The campaign contributes to UBC’s Climate Action Plan and energy reduction goals by engaging and educating staff and faculty about best practices in energy conservation. More information can be found online.