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Measure, Measure, Measure at Cardiff University

Author: Eleanor Evans, Student Ambassador - Cardiff University


As part of our participation in the Student Ambassador Program, my classmates and I formed a team and completed ‘Green Challenges’ in our lab at Cardiff University. ‘Measure, Measure, Measure’ is a Green Challenge designed to help students measure and reduce electricity usage in conservation laboratories.

We designed a spreadsheet (Fig. 1) for conservation students and staff to fill in over the week of 25th – 29th March 2019.

Rather than printing the spreadsheet and giving a paper copy to each participant, we used Microsoft OneDrive to share it online. This enabled us to avoid wasting paper, and it also made data analysis easier. Each participant had their own page (or ‘sheet’) on the spreadsheet, which was anonymous.

Figure 1. Image of the Measure, Measure, Measure spreadsheet, which was shared with and completed by participants. (Source: own image).


The first column of the spreadsheet lists various pieces of laboratory equipment that use energy, including Euromex Fiber Optic Lights (incandescent), Schott KL1600 LEDs, Ikea One Bulb LEDs, laptops, phones, hairdryers, vacuums, weigh scales, and lightboxes. There is also a space to write in additional equipment under ”other.”

In Cardiff’s laboratory there are three types of local bench lighting (Fig. 2): Euromex, Schott, and IKEA. In the spreadsheet, there are lists of numbers underneath “Euromex” and “Schott” which allow the students to indicate the brightness setting they chose when using the lamps.

Next are a series of columns containing different time values, including 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and over 2 hours.

Participants were asked to put an ‘x’ in the boxes which corresponded to each piece of equipment they had used, the setting at which they had used it (if appropriate), and how long the equipment was on.

Figure 2. Euromex fiber optic light, Schott KL1600 LED, and IKEA LED local bench lamps (left to right). (Source: own image)



Of all the equipment, laptops were used for the greatest length of time: 56 hours.

Each type of lamp was used for similar periods of time. The Schott LED lights were used for 4.75 hours (figure 3) on settings 3 and 4, and the Euromex (incandescent) lights were used for a similar length of time at settings 5 and 7. All types of bench lamps were used for a combined total of 27 hours and 44.4 minutes.

Electricity in general was used for 100 hours and 44 minutes over the course of the week.

Figure 3. Bar graph showing the length of time (hours) each piece of equipment was used (Source: own image).


The wattage consumed by each piece of equipment was measured using an ‘Energenie’ power meter. This information was then used to calculate the kilowatt-hours consumed.

The equation to calculate kilowatt-hours is:

Energy (in Watts) x time (in hours)


The total kilowatt-hours used during the week was 4.24 kWh.

Figure 4 shows the wattage consumed by each piece of equipment over the surveyed period. The results reveal that vacuums and hair dryers are much more significant energy consumers than the rest of the equipment in the laboratories.

Figure 4. Bar graph showing the energy consumption of each piece of equipment (in Watts) (Source: author’s own image).

There is a dramatic difference between the energy consumed by the Euromex lamp and the energy used by the Schott and IKEA LED lamps. On setting 1, the Euromex lamp consumes 16.5W whereas the Schott LED and the IKEA LED only use 2.8W and 3.2W, respectively. The Euromex lamp uses more wattage at setting 1 (16.5W) than the Schott does at setting 4 (10.8W). This shows that the Schott and IKEA LED lamps are much more energy efficient than the Euromex lamp.

Figure 5 shows the kilowatt-hours for each piece of equipment monitored in the survey. Even though the vacuum consumed a lot of power, it was only used for 15 minutes (0.25 hours). Thus, its kilowatt-hour value is significantly lower than that of the hairdryer, which was used for 2 hours.

Figure 5. Bar graph showing the kilowatt-hours of each piece of equipment (Source: own image)


A range of improvements could be made to this survey. For example, the survey could be carried out multiple times during each semester to compare how often pieces of equipment are used during different parts of the course and throughout various seasons.

Some participants were confused by the list of numbers under “Euromex” and “Schott” on the spreadsheet. They thought that the numbers referred to the day of the week rather than the settings on the lamps. The meaning of the numbers could be made clearer in future surveys by inserting the word “setting” before each one.

The estimated length of time that each piece of equipment was used would be more accurate if respondents were able to choose values up to 24 hours and as low as 5 minutes.


This survey can be used by Cardiff University staff to ensure that the equipment they purchase in the future is as energy efficient as possible. Also, if the survey is repeated over several years, the results could be displayed on posters in the laboratory. This would encourage each class to improve on their predecessors' work.

The survey results suggest that lightbulbs should be of the LED variety wherever possible.


The results of the ‘Measure, Measure, Measure’ Green Challenge contain some surprises. They show that the vacuums and hair dryers in the labs consume massive amounts of energy, and they also suggest that there is a wide discrepancy between the amounts of power used by different types of lamps.

Breaking these survey results down into graphs enables us to interpret the data easily, which in turn helps us to implement measures that will reduce energy usage.

The data from the survey needs to be shared with staff, students, and laboratory managers in order to help everyone combine their efforts and reduce energy consumption in their workspaces.


Spreadsheet_Form.jpg – Own image. (Figure 1).

Three_Lamps.jpg – Own image. (Figure 2).

Graph_Time_Used.jpg – Own image. (Figure 3).

Graph_Watts.jpg – Own image. (Figure 4).

Graph_kWh.jpg – Own image. (Figure 5).

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