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Low carbon Christmas could save UK economy £70m

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The Carbon Trust announces that businesses stand to collectively cut costs by up to £70m by turning off office equipment over the Christmas period. As well as helping the bottom line, implementing simple energy efficiency measures, such as turning off lights and heating in empty offices during the holidays would also cut around 450,000 tonnes of CO2 from the UK’s carbon footprint.

Turning off office equipment over the Christmas period could save UK business £70 million in costs and slash over 450 thousand tonnes of carbon.

Figures released by the Carbon Trust today show switching off non-essential kit over the festive period could make a big impact on businesses’ bottom lines: saving around nine million pounds and stopping over 50 thousand tonnes of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere every day.

While the next weeks will see the UK’s high streets benefiting from the year’s busiest shopping days, many other businesses will shut or open for fewer hours over the festive season.

These companies could cut their seasonal energy costs, as well as help fight climate change, by following the Carbon Trust’s five-step Christmas checklist.

Hugh Jones, Director of Solutions at the Carbon Trust, said: “This has been one of the toughest years on record for business so it’s vital that companies reduce their overheads wherever possible. Christmas is a great opportunity to reduce energy bills by turning down the heating when the office is empty or switching off equipment that’s not being used, such as lights, lifts and computers.

"The steps recommended by the Carbon Trust are straightforward and take very little time to carry out. This seasonal advice will give businesses a simple check-list which should help them look after their bottom-line over Christmas and put them in a strong position for 2010."

Carbon Trust’s five-step Christmas checklist for businesses:

  1. Don’t heat unused space - reduce heating over the festive holidays if staff are on leave. Reduce the thermostat to a level which just provides frost protection.
  2. Lights off – turn off all Christmas lights and non-essential lighting out of hours and install timers. Lighting an average small office overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee.
  3. Switch off equipment when you’re not using it – many offices close over Christmas. Always switch monitors off when not in use as they can account for almost half of a computer’s energy use. Failing to turn a single computer off overnight could cost around £50 per year. Photocopiers should also be turned off when the office is closed. In factories, ensure motors, pumps and air compressors are safely turned off.
  4. Get insulated – huge costs are generated by heating during winter and 25 per cent of a building's heat will escape via an un-insulated roof. Roof insulation is inexpensive and easy to install.
  5. Replace bulbs – Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs last eight times longer than tungsten and use 20-25 per cent of the energy.