University of Leeds

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Wise way to save energy

Emily shows off one of the OWL monitorsEnergy bills in student residences could be slashed thanks to the installation of ‘OWLs’ – realtime wireless electricity monitors that show exactly how much electricity is being used.

Monitors have been installed in three blocks of the Leodis residences in the city centre and with each flat being monitored as a whole. Each flat consists of six ensuite bedrooms and a kitchen/living area. The year-long project is being organised by student Emily Bradley (Earth and Environment), who is on a placement with the University’s Sustainable Development department.

Each monitor is attached to the mains supply and electricity usage is transmitted to an LCD screen, where it’s displayed clearly in pounds and pence, and in kilowatts. The monitors help to reduce electricity use by changing behavioural habits, because people can immediately see the impact of turning off lights or electrical appliances.

“It’s too early to draw any conclusions about how having individual monitors affects how students use energy, but we have already noticed that energy use differs widely from student to student,” said Emily. “Last term the heaviest energy consumers used around six times more than the most energy efficient occupants!

“Long-term we hope that the monitors will encourage students to use energy more carefully and, if the expected reductions do result, the monitors could be installed in other residences and buildings on campus.”

University staff are also being encouraged to use wireless electricity monitors in their homes to save energy and money and can purchase an award-winning OWL monitor for £29.95 – a 15% discount on the normal price. For information visit and quote promo code LEEDS15.

Win an OWL
What are your favourite energy-saving suggestions?  We have ten OWL energy monitors to give away to the originators of the ten best suggestions. Simply email your ideas to marking the email ‘OWL competition’ or post them to the Reporter, 12.72 E C Stoner Building, University of Leeds LS2 9JT.

Emily shows off one of the OWL monitors

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