Winter Energy Setback 2020

December 11, 2020

Unplug and power down your space before winter break December 24th 2020 – January 1st 2021

Dear Cornell Staff and Faculty,

Whether you are working on campus or remotely, we encourage you to “power down” your workspaces over winter break. If you are currently working on campus, please join your colleagues in saving energy within your offices, labs, and common areas before you leave campus. Each year, your participation in Cornell’s Winter Energy Shutdown avoids powering unused electronics, heating unoccupied buildings, and lighting empty offices. This collective action saves a huge amount of energy on campus, minimizes the use of natural resources, and reduces our university’s carbon emissions – critical steps toward our carbon neutral campus goal by 2035. .

As you prepare to leave, please take the following key actions in spaces you occupy:

  • Turn off power strips and unplug any electronics plugged directly into the wall
    Many devices use electricity even when “turned off,” including TVs, printers, chargers, copiers, coffee makers, microwaves, lamps, and space heaters.
  • Switch off all lights
  • Shut all windows & shades
  • Close all interior and exterior doors
  • Set your thermostat to 65F, if easily adjustable
    Do not turn heat “off.”
  • Shut the sash completely on all fume hoods that cannot be hibernated
    Any fume hood not in-use for six weeks or more is a candidate for hibernation. Lab personnel must inform their facility coordinator that they have fume hoods that are candidates.
  • Report facilities issues like leaky faucets, running toilets, overly hot or cold rooms.
    Questions? Contact Facilities and Campus Services (FCS)
  • Remind colleagues and students to take these actions before they leave too

Our collective actions help the campus run more efficiently. Last year, we saved 1.2 million kWh of electricity during the weeklong winter shutdown saving the university nearly $100,000. This is equivalent to eliminating 98 homes’ energy use for one year, growing 14,000 trees, switching 32,200 light bulbs to LEDs, or charging 108,200,000 smartphones. The impact is huge – and needed as much now as in years past.

If you are currently working from home, you can check out the Sustainability Life Recipes from the Campus Sustainability Office for more ideas on how to save energy at home. Thank you for your continued efforts to save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and adopt sustainable practices.

I hope you have an enjoyable, healthy, and restorative winter break.

Rick Burgess, Vice President, Facilities & Campus Services
Cornell University