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Living and learning “24/7” doesn’t require extra energy. Savvy residents can learn more about their contribution to energy conservation below…

Heating and Cooling

The largest percentage of energy used on a university campus (about 40%) goes towards heating and cooling indoor spaces, according to the U.S. Department of Energy1. Decreasing demand for cooling is key in minimizing spikes in summer power consumption and can go a long way in reaching our overall goal of a 15 percent reduction (or more) in power usage.

Thermostats

If you can control the thermostat in your room, the suggested thermostat settings are 75°F in summer and 68-70°F in winter. A setting of 73°F in the summer uses 50% more energy than a setting of 78°F2.

Adjust your thermostat more radically when you are gone for the day; the typical residence room is unoccupied in the middle of the day. Adjust your thermostat when you are gone on extended breaks as well, like Spring Break.

Thermostat Management Tip: cranking the temperature down to a very low temperature doesn’t cool an area faster. Thermostats and cooling systems work together to cool an area based on a fixed time to reach the setpoint temperature – same goes for heating3. Avoid the thermostat yo-yo effect. If you think the indoor temperature seems extremely cold or hot, Please contact your RA or your Area Maintenance Supervisor and alert them to the temperature situation. A simple repair can save a lot of energy and improve comfort.

Can you really feel a difference of two degrees on the thermostat? Watch this video from ABC News on winter thermostat settings, and how your thermostat can reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Steam Heat in the Peabody Library

Some buildings are heated and cooled by steam and chilled water (instead of directly by electricity or natural gas). And in some buildings, Vanderbilt can centrally control the temperature set point. Thus, it is important to let your RA or your Area Maintenance Supervisor know if the building seems unusually cold or hot, instead of opening windows, bringing in fans or space heaters to regulate the temperature (which uses even more energy)…or turning on the heat in the summer!

Conserving hot water conserves energy, too! Watch this video from Andrews University on how energy conservation and water conservation goes hand in hand.

Air Vents and Space Heaters

Don’t block air vents with paper or cardboard or accidentally block vents with bookcases or other items. As much as 25% more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked4.

Avoid using space heaters. They are dangerous and waste energy! They can overload circuits; they are a fire hazard; and they are energy hogs. One electric space heater uses as much electricity as 45 fluorescent light fixtures5.

Shades, Windows, and Clothing

Close shades and blinds during the hottest period of the day in the summer to keep heat out and cool air in. Open shades during the winter to take advantage of the natural heating. A major source of heat gain (increasing cooling demand in the summer) is the sun6.

Avoid opening windows in air conditioned or heated areas. If you need to open the windows, it could be a sign that the heating and air conditioning system is not working properly. Please contact your RA or your Area Maintenance Supervisor if you feel the need to open windows for temperature control.

Accept more seasonal indoor temperature settings to avoid expensive (and sometimes wasteful) settings, especially during the “energy spikes” of August and January. Dress for the season and in layers to help moderate your own personal temperature.

The End Result

If Vanderbilt decreases its electricity demand for heating and air conditioning by 15%, it could avoid consuming up to 3.6 megawatt-hours of electricity in a day on peak demand days!

But what does this mean?

3.6 megawatt-hours of electricity is the same amount of power consumed by 83 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day. That’s a lot of juice, Commodore Fans.

For every megawatt-hour of electricity Vanderbilt purchases from its utility provider, 1,500 pounds of greenhouse gasses are emitted.

By not consuming 3.6 megawatt-hours of electricity for heating and cooling on a particular day, Vanderbilt avoids emitting almost 5,400 pounds of greenhouse gasses that same day.

Check The Math

40% of power for heating and air conditioning x 60 megawatt-hours consumption per day (on peak days) = 24 megawatt-hours

15% of 24 megawatt-hours = 3.6 megawatt-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours7

References

1 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, Building Technologies Program. “University Buildings”, 01/27/06.

2 Nashville Electric Service PowerNotes, July 2008.

3 Energy Star web page Proper Use Guidelines for Programmable Thermostats, 2008.

4 Energy Star web page Energy Star at Home and at Work August 2007.

5 Carleton College web pagesEnergy Management, April 2013.

6 ACC Environmental Consultants, Energy Saving Measures for Office Building Tenants.

7 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

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Lighting

Lighting accounts for about 22% of the energy use at a typical university, according to the U.S. Department of Energy1. Decreasing demand for power by decreasing lighting demand can go a long way in reaching our overall goal of a 15 percent (or more) reduction in power usage.

Have you heard the myth that it uses more energy to turn a light on and off frequently than to just leave it on? MythBusters set out to bust this myth and were successful! Turning off lights is the way to save energy, even if the room is unoccupied only for a few minutes. Click Here to get Mythbusters’ details on how “lights off” trumps “leave lights on”.

Turning off lights during summer afternoons is especially important, when the demand for electricity is at its peak. Turning off lights and utilizing day-lighting strategies can reduce energy demand by up to 50 percent2.

By turning off lights, you are setting a standard that others at Vanderbilt should follow. Click here to see how students at Dartmouth are conserving energy!

If you have your own desk lamps, switch to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs wherever possible. Energy Star-rated CFLs use 75% less energy than normal light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer3. There are many different kinds of CFLs available, and Vanderbilt recycles CFLs that (eventually) burn out.

Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb can keep up to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over the life of the bulb3. Watch this video from the CommonCraft Show to learn more about how replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs can reduce air pollution.

Reduce or eliminate the use of halogen floor lamps where possible as well. Halogen floor lamps can be dangerous because they use two to three times the energy of a traditional florescent bulb and operate at very high temperatures4.

The End Result

If Vanderbilt decreases its lighting demand by 15%, it could avoid consuming almost two megawatt-hours of electricity in a day on peak demand days!

But what does this mean?

Two megawatt-hours of electricity is the same amount of power consumed by 46 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day. That’s a lot of juice, Commodore Fans.

For every megawatt-hour of power Vanderbilt purchases from TVA, 1,500 pounds of greenhouse gasses are emitted.

By not consuming two megawatt-hours of electricity for lighting on a particular day, Vanderbilt avoids emitting almost 3,000 pounds of greenhouse gasses that same day.

Check The Math

22% of power for lighting x 60 megawatts-hours consumption per day on peak days = 13.2 megawatts-hours

15% of 13.2 megawatts-hours = 1.98 mega-watts-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours5

References

1 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, Building Technologies Program. “University Buildings”, 01/27/06.

2 Energy Center of Wisconsin, Energy Savings from Daylighting: A Controlled Experiment, Report No. 233-1, May 2008.

3 Energy Star web page Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, 2008.

4 California Energy Commission web page Lighting Efficiency Information, 07/01/08.

5 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

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Computers and Electronics

Computers, peripherals, and electronics account for 17% of energy use at a typical university, according to the U.S. Department of Energy1. Unplugging electronics and equipment that is not in use and using energy-savings settings can go a long way in reducing Vanderbilt’s overall energy demand by 15% or more. Some suggestions for curbing our energy usage related to computers and electronics are listed below.

Computers and Electronics

Use the “sleep mode” and “hibernate” settings on computers and monitors. Click herefor step-by-step instructions to enable the energy savings settings, which can also be found on most Windows-based and Mac-based computers.

Did you know…a computer in “sleep” mode or “hibernate” mode typically consumes less than 10% of its typical operating power consumption2?

Turning off your computer saves even more energy. Click here to read more about when it’s best to just power down. Even though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, it’s still worth it2.

Furthermore, today’s computers are actually designed to withstand frequent shut-downs. Using energy savings settings and turning computers off extends the life of the computer3.

Even if you don’t turn off your computer, turn off the monitor if you will be away from the computer for a while. Monitors can consume 30% of the energy from a typical system4.

Enabling sleep mode features for a monitor is just as important. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 2,000 kilowatts of electricity per year can be saved for every 10 monitors that have its sleep mode features enabled5. That same amount of energy could provide power to a home in Nashville for six weeks6.

Peripherals

Utilize sleep mode settings for printers. Similar energy saving features (and misconceptions) surround computers and peripherals alike. Today’s imaging devices are designed to accommodate sleep mode settings and shut-downs, and using energy savings settings (along with turning machines off when they are not in use) extends the life of the device7. Even though there is a small surge in energy when an imaging device starts up, these practices save energy7.

Using the double-sided printing feature on EnergyStar-rated printers and copiers saves energy and reduces paper use significantly8. Even if the imaging equipment isn’t EnergyStar-rated, double-sided printing is still worth doing! It takes 10 times more energy to make a piece of paper than it does to copy an image to it8.

Also, use the automatic paper feeder on copiers and printers instead of the manual feed tray; manual feeds use more energy9.

Electronics

Unplug battery chargers and equipment when not in use. Plug-in battery chargers for cell phones and other devices can use up to 20 times more energy than is stored in the device’s battery – even when not actively charging a device, according to an EnergyStar web site10.

Unplug electronics when not in use. TVs, DVD players, entertainment systems, and similar devices draw power around the clock. To make it easy, hook these devices up to a single power strip or surge protector. View these public service announcements on this topic from ABC News and Get Connected TV.

Modern electronics can consume lots of electricity if they aren’t used properly. Plasma TVs consume four times the energy of their predecessor, the old-fashioned cathode-ray tube TV11. If you are shopping for a new TV, whether it be plasma, LCD, or flat screen, consider purchasing an EnergyStar-rated model. These TVs use 30% less energy than their non-rated counterparts12.

In November 2008, a much more stringent specification for EnergyStar TVs went into effect12 - another good reason to get a new TV ! 

The End Result

If Vanderbilt decreases its power demand for computers, peripherals, and electronics by 15%, it could avoid consuming up to 1.5 megawatt-hours of electricity a day on peak days!

But what does this mean?

That’s the same amount of electricity consumed by 35 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day. That’s a lot of juice, Commodore Fans.

For every megawatt-hour of power Vanderbilt purchases from TVA, 1,500 pounds of greenhouse gasses are emitted.

By not consuming 1.5 megawatts-hours of electricity for computers on a particular day, Vanderbilt avoids emitting almost 2,300 pounds of greenhouse gasses that same day.

Check The Math

17% of power for equipment x 60 megawatt-hours of consumption per day on peak days = 10.2 megawatts

15% of 10.2 megawatt-hours = 1.53 megawatt-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours6

References

1 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, Building Technologies Program. “University Buildings”, 01/27/06.

2 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: When to Turn Off Computers, 07/22/08.

3 Energy Star Podcast No. 4.0, Computers, 10/25/07.

4 Dell Computers web pageFrequently Asked Questions about Dell and the Environment, September 2003.

5 Energy Star web page Sleep in Good: For Computer Monitors and Your Bottom Line, September 2003.

6 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

7 Energy Star Podcast No. 4.1,Imaging Equipment, 10/25/07.

8 Federal Electronics Challenge web page Energy Conservation with Energy Star, 05/26/06.

9 Eugene (Oregon) Water & Electric Board web page “Be an Energy Sleuth at Work”, Spring 2001.

10 Energy Star web page External Power Supplies, 2008.

11 BBC News Do Flat-Screen TVs Eat More Energy?”, 12/7/06.

12 Energy StarT web page TVs, 2008.

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Miscellaneous Items

Lighting, heating & cooling, computers, printers, monitors, and many other items consume a big part of Vanderbilt’s energy budget – and yet there are so many additional activities on campus that consume energy. Decreasing demand for power can be achieved by modifying practices in many areas. Consider:

Laundry

90% of the energy used by a washing machine is from heating the water1. Set washer loads for “cold” or “warm” wash instead of hot. Hot water washes use 50% more energy than warm water washes2, and hot water washing is also harsher on your clothes and can cause colors to bleed and fade.

Please do your part to reduce energy demand in the afternoon (when demand is highest) by doing laundry in the evening3.

Wash only full loads in clothes washing machines, and use clothes drying racks if possible1.

When using a clothes dryer, clean the dryer lint filter prior to each use to increase dryer efficiency by up to 30%2. Don’t let dryers run longer than necessary to dry the clothes.

Want to get some more great energy conservation tips for domestic living? Watch this video from the Great White North’s David Suzuki.

Compact Refrigerators

If you are going to purchase or rent a refrigerator for your room, get an EnergyStar-rated fridge. Compact refrigerators with the EnergyStar seal utilize 20% less energy than standard compact refrigerators4.

Keep the refrigerators running efficiently by following these steps:

  • Set the refrigerator temperature at 36° to 39° F and freezer at 0° to 5° F5.
  • Check refrigerator and freezer gaskets annually for leaks and wear, and replace as needed6.
  • Regularly clean out “dust bunnies” from underneath and behind refrigerators6. Refrigerator coils that are covered with dust lose their efficiency. Also, regularly inspect the freezer for ice build-up and defrost as needed6.
  • Open doors on refrigerators as little as necessary6.

If you like old-school, campy, animated Public Service Announcements, you’ll love this old PSA on refrigerator settings from Armed Forces Network.

 

Dishwashers

If your residence house has a dishwasher, run the dishwasher with a full load. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher goes to heat water. Since you can’t decrease the amount of water used per cycle, fill your dishwasher to get the most from the energy used to run it. Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features; instead, use your dishwasher’s air-dry option7. And use the dishwasher at night!3

Are you an “Average Joe”? Or Average “Jane”? You can do a lot to conserve energy on campus. See what “Average Joe” is doing to conserve energy at the University of Georgia campus by watching this video.

Elevators

Use the elevator wisely and increase your use of the stairs. Consider these elevator facts:

  • Elevators generally use 3-5% of electricity consumed in a typical building, anywhere from 1,900 to 15,000 kilowatts per year8, around the same amount of power that the average residence consumes annually in Nashville9.
  • Elevators use electricity going up and going down; elevators are not “zero-net energy” machinery8.
  • Elevator use generates heat. Using elevators in hot summer months increases demand on air conditioning systems8.

Vanderbilt has hundreds of elevators, and as you know, there are significant health benefits to using the stairs!

The End Result

Can energy conservation really make a difference? Absolutely! When energy curtailment notices have been sent out in previous years, the Vanderbilt community has come together to reduce energy consumption by 8-12%. Let’s make this a year-long commitment and conserve energy 20% over the next two years!

You can make a difference! A recent EnergyStar study demonstrated that occupant behavior change six key areas can lead to a 15% decrease in energy use10!

The six key areas in the EnergyStar study were: (1) turning off computers and peripherals, (2) turning off lights and harvesting daylight, (3) turning off task lighting (those little lights in library cubicles or desks), (4) using “sleep mode” on computers and monitors, (5) using EnergyStar-rated equipment & computers, and (6) having an energy conservation campaign.

But don’t stop with these six conservation practices; opportunities to save energy exist throughout the Vanderbilt campus!

 

And Mr. C says “Thank you for your support!”

(click on Mr. C to hear the Vanderbilt fightsong)

 
 
 
References

1 EnergyStar web page Clothes Washers and Dryers Best Practices and Energy Saving Tips, 2008.

2 Nashville Electric Service, PowerNotes, July 2007.

3 Video from www.davidsuzuki.org (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__StthsI93o)

4 Energy Star web page Refrigerators & FreezersAugust 2007.

5 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) web page “Energy Saving Tips“, 2008.

6 New England Gas Company, Energy Saving Tips, 2008.

7 EnergyStar web page Dishwashers, 2008.

8 Sachs, Harvey M. “Opportunities for Elevator Energy Efficiency Improvements”, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, April 2005.

9 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

10 Energy Star web page, “Best Practices to Improve Energy Performance”, 2005.

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