Switch Off the Office PCs over Xmas

AlertMe, the consumer home energy management and connected home company, today releases data from a live study of the energy use in an average small business in the UK. The office of 50 staff was monitored over two weekends to model the use (and waste) of energy when staff are at home over the Christmas holiday. The study highlights how businesses are unwittingly wasting energy, money and contributing to global warming.

According to findings from the AlertMe study: 

  • If just one person in the office leaves their desktop PC and monitor on standby for 10 days during the Christmas period, they will stand to emit 4kg of carbon dioxide. This is 200 times more CO2 than 100 Christmas fairy lights
  • Scaling this up across 2.1 million small businesses in the UK, if just one computer and monitor is left on for the 10 days, this equates to 8,973 tonnes of CO2.
  • The impact could be even greater if 10 people out of an office of 50 leave their PC and monitors on standby, together with standard office equipment such as printers, scanners, fax machines and photocopiers, over the same period, they are predicted to emit 331kg of carbon dioxide per office, which is 695,000 tonnes across the whole of the UK.

According to AlertMe:

“Consumers are starting to take steps to control the way they consume energy in the home and we urge them to do the same in the workplace. People shouldn’t be feeling guilty about spreading the Christmas cheer at home, lighting up their Christmas tree and their home. Fairy lights today are cheap to run but it’s all too easy to leave your workstation on standby without even thinking and this will have even more impact if you are away from the office for the full ten days over the holiday.”

Of course it’s not just carbon emissions, all of this energy waste costs businesses millions every year. AlertMe’s model predicts that businesses could lose £41.31 million in wasted energy over Christmas if office equipment is left on during the holiday.

A full breakdown of costs and carbon consumption is below:


Wattage of equipment left on standby

Equivalent in terms of kg CO2 (over 10 days)

Black & white printer






Colour photocopier









Desktop computer and monitor



Laser printer



Fax machine



100 LED fairy lights



If 10 of a 50 strong workforce left PC and monitor on; together with general office equipment e.g. fax, 2xlaser printer, photocopier, scanner all on standby



If one person from every SME in the UK was to leave their PC on standby over Christmas

16,128 kilowatts

8793 tonnes

10% figure multiplied by number of SMEs in UK = 2.10 million

127,5120 kilowatts

695,221 tonnes


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