Small business will waste more than £40m and pump out unnecessary tonnes of carbon dioxide if they leave computers, printers and photocopiers on over the festive period.
Research by energy management specialist AlertMe, which monitored an office of 50 staff over two weekends, found that leaving just one desktop PC and monitor on standby for the extended 10-day Christmas period emits 4kg of CO2 - 200 times more than 100 fairy lights.
It calculated that leaving just one PC and monitor on in each of the approximately 2.1 million small businesses in the country, many of which are expected to shut their offices during the week between Christmas and New Year, would result in 8,973 tonnes of CO2 being released unnecessarily.
The company also warned that if 10 people fail to turn off their computers over the Christmas break while also failing to turn off printers, scanners, fax machines and photocopiers, carbon emissions per office would reach 331kg of CO2 per office, equating to 695,000 tonnes across the whole of the UK if the scenario is replicated at all small businesses.
Laser printers are the worst offenders, according to AlertMe, producing 27 kilos of CO2 over the 10 days, but photocopiers, printers and PCs all emit around four kilos, putting them firmly on Santa's naughty list.
"Consumers are starting to take steps to control the way in which they consume energy in the home, and we urge them to do the same in the workplace," AlertMe said in a statement. "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 10 days over the holiday."
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