How to Conserve Energy

In your Living Space

Check out this short Energy 101 video for tips on reducing waste when you are at home. It covers features specific to campus housing, but applies to off-campus living too!

In your Office

  • Unplug! From phone chargers to coffee pots, disconnect devices when they are not in use. Most devices continue to draw power even when they are off. Stop the phantom electricity load by unplugging, or use a power strip to make it as easy as flipping a switch!
  • Done for the day? Turn computers, monitors and speakers off. Turn your monitor off when it won't be used for 20 minutes or more, and your computer off when it won't be used for 2 hours or more. Multiply that saved energy by the 2,165 University owned computers on campus, and that's a lot of savings,
  • Be cool - lose the personal mini-fridge. Bringing a lunch from home is great. Bringing a personal refrigerator is not. Mini-fridges draw power continuously, and the less efficient models can actually use as much energy as a full-size appliance. If there is a communal refrigerator for your building or office, use it! And for just one lunch, insulated lunch bags and thermoses work great.
  • Is your office too cold? Before you bring in the space heater, bring in the experts from University Facilities. Space heaters are energy hogs, possible fire hazards, and can actually create more comfort problems by tricking your sensor into thinking your space needs less heat, not more. Start with a Work Order to see if there's an energy efficient fix.
  • Close exterior doors and windows when heating/air-conditioning is running. It takes a lot of energy to make that warm/cold air. Keep it inside where it's needed. And don't stop at your own doors and windows. In academic buildings, dining halls, event spaces... if you see an energy-wasting open door/window, close it!
  • Keep 25Live reservations accurate and up-to-date. Outside of standard business hours, building heating & cooling schedules are set according to 25Live reservations. If you cancel the event, cancel the reservation and save the energy! Pay special attention to academic breaks when "recurring events" will not be taking place.
  • You have unlimited digital storage! But it still makes sense to limit your storage. Thanks to cloud services, we can store all the videos and photos we want - forever. Box storage has no limits! But it does have consequences. Data centers "emit as much CO2 as the airline industry," (Yale Environment 360) and W&L's emissions from Box storage are significant. Ready to cull? Start with video you don't need, then non-essential photos. These files require much more energy to store than word documents and email.

Out & About

  • Hit the Lights. Every time, every room. Heard the rumor that turning lights off for short periods actually wastes energy? Ignore it! Generally, if a light is off for at least 5 seconds, there is a savings. So before leaving bathrooms, classrooms, meeting rooms, etc., hit the switch. Don't leave the job to the motion sensor. Sensors on campus can take anywhere from 5-90 minutes to shut off after last detected movement. Those wasted minutes add up!
  • When you can, choose feet over fuel. If you are able to walk or bike (you can check out a Blue Bike if you don't own one) between points on campus and in town rather than using a car, do it. Transportation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and every time you skip a fossil-fuel based trip, you are part of the solution. If you must use a vehicle, carpool.
  • Cut the engine to cut emissions. Don't let your car idle. If you'll be stationary for more than 10 seconds, it's better for the environment, your wallet AND your engine (post-1980's models) to turn the car off while you wait. And "no idling" isn't just a good idea, on campus and in W&L vehicles, it's a University Policy.
  • Consider the energy used in what you buy. We're used to thinking about fossil fuels used in our electricity and heat, but it's in our purchases too. That single-use plastic bottle? Petroleum based. That overnight delivery from Amazon? Hecka transportation emissions. When possible, choose long-lasting (ideally sustainably made) items and low impact delivery options.