Office of Energy & Sustainability’s student ambassadors provide tips for reducing energy use over breaks

Some members of the campus community may be away from the office for several days for spring break or other vacations. Especially in offices that may be empty for a few days, individuals should take a moment to think about devices that may be left on unnecessarily for the duration of their leave.

To avoid wasting electricity, consider these energy-saving ideas from the Office of Energy & Sustainability’s student ambassadors to help reduce our carbon footprint and make our campus community more sustainable.

Tips for reducing energy waste in the office over breaks include:

  • Turning off computers, copiers and printers, as well as other computer or lab equipment (don’t forget to shut the sash on fume hoods).
  • Eliminating vampire loads by unplugging idle electronics (such as chargers, printers, microwaves, display monitors, coffeemakers, etc.) or use a power strip to turn off all devices at once.
  • Turn off all lights, even small task lights.
  • Be sure any operable windows are shut and locked.

Based on data collected from surveys in Case Western Reserve University buildings, conserving electricity in university offices this spring break could save about $1,200 per day.

Ways to continue saving energy in 2019 include:

  • Invest in “smart” powerstrips. These can be timer-equipped, current sensing, or occupancy-sensing to reduce energy waste and sometimes have remote controls.
  • When choosing equipment and appliances, choose energy-efficient equipment that can be identified with the ENERGY STAR logo.
  • Consolidate printers and copiers and use centralized printing for your office suite.
  • Activate sleep settings on all office machines. Suggested computer settings: display sleep after five minutes of inactivity and CPU sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.
  • Avoid screensavers, especially those that use 3-D effects, as they can consume even more energy than active mode.
  • Be sure to turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient, and use task-specific lighting where feasible. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10 to 40 percent.
  • Consider how your office makes coffee. Creating single servings of coffee one at a time is much less efficient than making a pot for the whole office.