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How to Save Energy in Your Building

[2010 Challenge Tip of the Day Archive]    [How & Why Action Grid]

Got good ideas on how to save energy on campus?  Tell us about them! 

  • Turn off lights where they aren't needed
  • Use natural light and task lighting instead of overhead lighting
  • Use only as much light as you need
  • Replace traditional incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) (Request a CFL from your Building Rep!)

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent lamp, which makes them great for energy savings.  However, they do have a few requirements to keep in mind to ensure a successful application:

  • Placement & Use: The life of a CFL is reduced by moisture, excessive heat, and frequent on/off cycling.  Avoid installing recessed lighting fixtures (can lights for example) where heat cannot be dissapated.  Most CFLs are not compatible with dimmer switches.

  • Light Color: A common complaint about CFL's is that they are "too cold" or "too white".  A lamp's rated color temperature indicates the lamp's "warmth"; for light similar to a traditional incandescent, look for a color temperature of 2700K or lamps labeled "warm white".

  • Safety: CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury (~5 mg) which is released if the lamp is broken.  See the EPA's recommendation on how to deal with a broken CFL.

  • Disposal: Because of the mercury contained by the lamp, CFLs must be disposed of as hazardous waste.  For on-campus disposal, please fill out the Hazardous Waste Pickup Request form.  For personal use CFLs, Home Depot accepts burnt out CFLs for proper disposal at no charge, as does Allied Waste at their recycling center. 

Seattle Power and Light has a great site dedicated to CFLs.

Electronics and Plug Loads:
  • Set your computer to enter standby after 30 minutes and to turn off the monitor after 15 minutes. Use standby or turn off computers at night.
  • Turn off printers and other electrical equipment at night.  To further conserve electricity, unplug, or use power strips, to disconnect equipment and eliminate phantom loads.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR® or EPEAT™-certified electronics and appliances.
Heating and Cooling
  • In winter, keep thermostats at or below 68 degrees. Use radiant heaters like Cozy Toes instead of inefficient forced air electric heaters, which also present a fire hazard.
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioning (AC). If you have AC, set it at for cooling at 76 degrees or higher.
  • Make sure windows are closed if you’re using either heat or AC.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. In summer, wear light, breathable clothing; in winter, layer clothing.
  • Consider installing window films if you experience high temperatures from direct sunlight.  Blinds and shades help too.
  • In the summer, close blinds during the day and open them at night to minimize heat gain.  In the winter, do the opposite (closed at night, open during day).
  • Reduce hours of use of non-essentail exhaust fans.  Not only are they needlessly using electricity, exhuast fans vent conditioned air, which requires significant energy use to replace.
  • In the lab, turn off equipment when not in use (or use timers to do it for you)
  • Keep fume hood sashes at the indicated height when in use and closed when not in use.
Tips from other organizations:

US Dept. of Energy:

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy:

Michael Bluejay:

Conservation Concepts

We know you have good ideas on how to save energy on campus, so let us know what they are and you could win a $50 gift certificate to the OSU Bookstore!

Submit your great ideas to Greg by midnight on February 18th for a chance to win.  The winner will be announced on February 28th, the last day of the Challenge.

Conservation concepts will be judged on originality, overall impact, replicability, ease of implementation, and visibility.

2010 Tip of the Day Archive:

February 2nd:  Leaving the room for more than 10 minutes?  Turn those fluorescent lights off! The energy consumed during the ‘power surge’ at start-up is equal to 5 seconds of normal light operation.  Then why wait 10 minutes?  Frequently cycling fluorescent lights on & off reduces lamp life.

February 3rd: Fluorescent bulbs still use energy even when they’re burnt out! Contact Custodial if a lamp has been out for more than 2 weeks.  Space well-lit without that bulb? Contact us to discuss delamping options.