Energy Policy

Washington and Lee University is committed to reducing campus energy consumption. Success depends on the involvement and cooperation of every department and individual on campus. Many gains can be made on an institutional level through the ongoing careful management of our heating, cooling, lighting and water systems, and each of us can have a huge impact simply by managing our own areas thoughtfully. The following guidelines draw on best practices for energy reduction and represent university expectations.

Guidelines for Individual Responsibilities:

The following guidelines indicate expectations for each member of the W&L community.

  • Turn off your computer, including your monitor and speakers, before you leave for the day. Network equipment will remain on.
  • Turn off any non-BizHub office equipment in your space, including copy machines, scanners and local printers, etc. before you leave for the day. When appropriate, Office Managers and Department Heads should assign responsibility for turning off computers, printers and other equipment in shared spaces. Fax machines may remain on.
  • Turn off your lights anytime you leave your work space, whether that is when you leave for the day or simply are taking a break to talk with a colleague.
  • Unplug personal appliances and other devices (coffee makers, radios, chargers etc.) when not in use. Most cell phone chargers continue to draw energy even when they are not connected to your cell phone!
  • Leave lights off when possible. If you have ample natural daylight and do not need artificial lights to work comfortably, keep them off. Remember that lights not only consume electricity, but also give off heat, increasing the amount of electricity needed to cool the room.
  • When working in a building outside of normal work hours, turn on only those lights in your immediate work space (e.g. faculty use office lights only; when possible , custodial staff turn on lights in rooms only as you use them etc.) keeping hallway and other general space lighting off.
  • Keep doors between air conditioned and non-air-conditioned spaces closed. Your window unit cannot cool the whole building, but it will use a whole lot of energy trying.

To help encourage what may be new habits for some, W&L's Energy Specialists will regularly visit buildings throughout the day and night and will leave reminders when appropriate (e.g. an individual computer has been left on overnight). This feedback will strengthen our efforts, and should be reciprocal. Please contact Energy Specialists Morris Trimmer (mtrimmer@wlu.edu; ext. 8387) and Jane Stewart (jcstewart@wlu.edu; ext. 8388) with any questions, concerns and suggestions.

Guidelines for Institutional Responsibilities:

The following guidelines indicate operating standards implemented by specific university departments.


  • Computers will be managed with energy savings in mind. For example, all capable PC's will be programmed for the "energy saver" mode using the power management feature. If network constraints restrict this for the PC, the monitor will be set to "sleep" after 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • Every effort will be made to program existing electronic equipment for shut down when not in use, and ease of periodic shut down will be a consideration in acquiring new equipment.
  • Exhaust fans will be regulated and turned off when possible.
  • An institutional preventive maintenance and monitoring plan for facilities and systems, including HVAC, building envelope, and moisture management, will be implemented to complement behavior-based changes.

Air Conditioning Equipment:

  • Occupied temperature settings will not be set below 74F without specific approval.
  • During unoccupied times (defined based on use patterns for each building), the air conditioning equipment will be off. Exceptions will be made for areas with instruments, artwork or other items requiring special conditions.
  • Air conditioning start times may be adjusted (depending on weather) to ensure a comfortable environment when space is reoccupied.
  • Outside air dampers will be closed during unoccupied times.
  • Relative humidity levels should not exceed 60% for any 24 hour period.

Heating Equipment:

  • Occupied temperature settings will not be set above 70F without specific approval.
  • During unoccupied times (defined based on use patterns for each building), the temperature setting will be 55F. This may be adjusted to a 60F setting during extreme weather.
  • All domestic hot water systems will be set no higher than 120F, or 140F for cafeteria service (with dishwasher booster).
  • All domestic hot water re-circulating pumps will be switched off during unoccupied times.
  • Heat pumps will have a 6F dead-band between heating and cooling modes.

Heating and Cooling Set Points:

  • Cooling Season Occupied Set Points: 74°F - 78°F
  • Unoccupied Set Point: 85°F
  • Heating Season Occupied Set Points: 68°F - 70°F
  • Unoccupied Set Point: 55°F

Set points are in accordance with ASHRAE 55 "Thermal Conditions for Human Occupancy"


  • All outside lighting will be off during daylight hours. Pre-programmed schedules will be regularly monitored for seasonal adjustments (e.g. daylight savings beginning and end).
  • Gym, Tennis Center and athletic field lights will be off when space is not being used.
  • Every effort will be made to eliminate unnecessary nighttime outside lighting, understanding that safety and security are the priority considerations.
  • When appropriate, lighting will be designed for intuitive shut-off when spaces are not in use.


  • Grounds watering will only be done between 4 a.m.- 10 a.m. Every effort will be made not to water during the heat of the day, typically between 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • When possible, water from spray irrigation will not directly hit facilities.
  • Water sub-metering will be introduced on irrigation and cooling tower supply lines to eliminate sewer charges when possible.
  • All plumbing and/or intrusion leaks will be repaired immediately.

Guidelines for Effecting Implementation and Measuring Impact:

  • The Energy Education Specialists will perform routine audits of all facilities and communicate the audit results to the appropriate personnel.
  • Energy Education Specialists will employ data loggers extensively to monitor relative humidity, temperature, and light levels throughout the campus and use resulting data to inform decisions about possible and necessary adjustments to building settings.
  • The Energy Education Specialists will make adjustments (directly or indirectly) to the University Energy Management System (EMS), including temperature settings and run times for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and other controlled equipment.
  • The Energy Education Specialists will provide monthly energy savings reports to key personnel detailing performance results.
  • Energy Education Specialists will keep the campus community informed of the program's progress through various communications avenues.

Environmental Management Policy

Washington and Lee University is committed to excellence in environmental, health and safety stewardship on our campus and in the larger community of which we are a part. The University will exercise responsible stewardship over the resources entrusted to it.

Washington and Lee University is committed to being at the forefront of academic institutions: minimizing, as feasible, the adverse environmental, health and safety impacts of our facilities, activities and operations to protect human health and the environment;

  • in achieving and maintaining compliance with federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and good practices in all of our departments, laboratories, facilities and operations;
  • in achieving a high standard of institutional accountability for environmental, health and safety stewardship;
  • in providing educational opportunities to our students and other members of our community, to reinforce the values exemplified in this policy and influence their activities during and after their tenure at Washington and Lee University;
  • in fostering openness and dialogue with the university community and the local community, anticipating and responding to their concerns about potential hazards and impacts of operations, services, or wastes;
  • in identifying and taking advantage of pollution prevention opportunities, to reduce waste and the consumption of resources (materials, fuel, and energy), and to facilitate recovery and recycling, as opposed to disposal, where economically and practically feasible.
  • in measuring and continuously improving our environmental, health and safety performance.

Energy Star Purchasing Policy

Washington and Lee has committed to the purchase of Energy Star rated products as part of the Presidents' Climate Commitment. The Energy Star program is run by the U.S. E.P.A. and Department of Energy to assist individuals and businesses save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Universal Procurement and Building Policy

All appliances purchased by the University must be rated as Energy Star compliant if that tyoe of appliance is rated by the program.

All new buildings and major renovations will be LEED certified.