University and college campuses are buzzing this month as more than 19 million undergraduates are getting ready to head back to school. Students have an opportunity to help improve their campus’ energy-saving efforts and shrink their carbon footprints.
Higher education buildings — cafeterias, dormitories, laboratories, libraries, stadiums, and even police stations — serve a variety of uses and pose many energy challenges. For buildings open late or accessible 24/7, energy efficiency measures like simple sensors to control LED lighting or efficient heating and cooling systems that can be operated on a room-by-room basis, can boost comfort while using less energy.
This year, the Energy Efficiency Day team wants to amplify the climate actions of the students, professors, and chancellors who are working on initiatives and setting goals for efficient energy use on their campuses. We support the dozens of universities and a growing network of 7,000 other schools that have already declared a climate emergency and are on the path toward smarter energy use, which helps avoid climate pollution.
Universities and colleges are encouraged to issue a proclamation and show their support for Energy Efficiency Day this October 2nd. And if you’re a student with an approaching move-in day, here are some tips that will save energy in your dormitory right away.
It’s move in day, but don’t keep the door open. As you bring in loads of boxes, remember to close your door. Otherwise you’ll be letting cool air out. Shutting the door between loads can keep your room a little cooler for when you start to settle in.
Arrange your room with natural light in mind. While your room may be small and feel crowded, you can create a study zone next to a window with lots of natural light. You can also cover the window with a shade or curtain when the sunlight is too strong or on hotter days. Make sure you use energy-saving LED bulbs in any lamps and turn off lights when not using them.
Be smarter about electronics. Even if you host the first movie night with your hall mates, you can get ahead of the power zapped by laptops, tablets, printers, and TVs. The power you need for your study space, relaxation, and entertainment can be reduced by as much as 30% if you sync up your efficient electronics with an advanced power strip.
If you aren’t smart about electronics, they can use a lot of electricity. Plugged-in electronics will continue to draw power from electrical outlets, when turned off or idle. The average dorm room consumes about a third of its electrical energy while vacant. And NEVER use a game console to stream movies: they use 30 times as much energy as apps on a Smart TV, add-on devices like Google Chromecast, or a Roku box.
Look for ENERGY STAR®. It’s everywhere. Using an efficient appliance can make a huge difference, so look for the ENERGY STAR label. If you are a tea or coffee drinker, an electric kettle uses way less energy than a microwave. Get an efficient fan to supplement A/C (it can make you feel 4 degrees cooler) or use it instead of air-conditioning. It will cool the air with less energy.
Start or join an energy, environmental, or sustainability club. You can make new friends by joining clubs or hosting events focused on climate and energy. If you want to do more, consider hosting an ENERGY STAR dorm room showcase and invite students to look at how to best outfit an efficient dorm room.
Ready to play your part?
Share in the #EEDay2019 celebration by asking the president or chancellor your college or university to issue a proclamation and officially declare October 2nd as Energy Efficiency Day.
You can see who is leading in campus sustainability by checking out the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) list of greenest universities.