UK offices will waste enough energy to roast 4.4 million turkeys over the Christmas period due to employees' failure to turn off unused office equipment over the festive break.
That is according to research last week from printer giant Canon which estimates that the UK workforce's well documented love of always-on electrical equipment means that 43.6m KwH of electricity will be wasted between Friday 22nd of December and the second of January, when most UK offices will either re-open or return to normal staffing levels following the Christmas break.
That represents enough energy to microwave 268m mince pies or power 350,000 tree lights for the whole period - meaning that £8.66m will be wasted in electricity bills and almost 19,000 tonnes of CO2 will be unnecessarily emitted.
David Smith, marketing director of Canon Business Solutions, insisted that the headline-grabbing research had relied on a robust methodology.
He claimed Canon had calculated the figures by using total UK office equipment data from the National Energy Foundation and market research firm Infosource and turn off rates gained from a Canon survey of 100 firms – which found that half of PCs, 60 percent of printers and 100 percent of faxes will be left on over the Christmas period. It then used figures from the Carbon Trust on the typical energy consumption of office equipment to work out how much electricity would be wasted.
Smith said that equating the amount of electricity wasted with the number of Turkey's that could be cooked using that energy was an effective way of highlighting the scale of the problem. "We've used this tactic in the past where we've shown customers that upgrading from an old printer to one of our new multi-functional devices will save enough energy in a year to microwave 17,500 chickens," he said. "It is a very effective analogy for getting the message across."
Smith added that it was hardly surprising that so many PCs and printers will be left on over the Christmas period. "At Christmas people's minds are on getting out of the office," he said. "Also many people think they have switched off machines when they have just logged off or put them on stand-by."
But Smith insisted there were real benefits for firms in encouraging staff to turn off PCs and monitors, power down all office peripherals, turn off lights, and, in the longer term, upgrade to more energy efficient technologies.
"For most businesses there are big cost savings to be realised," he said. "But beyond that, green issues are being driven up the corporate agenda and if you don’t show that you are making practical moves to reduce energy consumption you are going to lose competitiveness, particularly in government contracts."
And with that warning ringing in its ears GBN is about to turn off its PCs and printers and head home to cook its own Christmas turkey.
Hope you have an enjoyable festive season and a happy New Year, and we'll be back in the New Year with plenty more green business stories.
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