Powering Down for Breaks

Before leaving campus for winter break, spring break, and other holidays throughout the year, follow these simple tips to save energy in your office, common areas, labs, residential rooms and spaces.

We need your help shutting down individual and common spaces before leaving campus to help reduce unnecessary energy and heating waste across our labs, residential communities, and academic & administrative buildings.
 

Shutdown Checklist

  • Turn off power strips and unplug any electronics plugged directly into the wall.  
    Many devices use electricity even when turned off. This "vampire load' contributes to a huge energy waste when added up across many dorms, offices, and common spaces.
     

  • Completely close fume hood sashes in labs.
    Fume hoods use 50% of energy use on campus.  Ensuring fume hoods are closed is one of the single biggest actions an individual or team can take to reduce energy waste on campus.
     

  • Turn off the lights in all spaces.
    Don't forget to check common spaces.
     

  • Shut all windows tightly, then close blinds and curtains if available.
    This keeps heating & cooling inside where it belongs.
     

  • Close all interior and exterior doors.
    This helps building energy systems perform better.
     

  • Shutdown non-essential equipment (printers, freezers, growth chambers) in lab and office spaces.
    Create a checklist with your team to ensure the right equipment is shut down when possible.
     

  • Check thermostat, and if easily adjustable, turn down to 64F (but not off) for winter, or 75F for summer.
    Reducing heating and cooling while buildings are unoccupied keeps energy waste to a minimum.
     

  • Report facilities issues like leaky faucets, broken windows, overly hot/cold rooms.
    Breaks are a good time to have partners in Facilities prioritize work that improves energy and water efficiency.

 

Image of beach with text "your electronics need a vacation too"

Remind colleagues and students to take these actions before they leave, too! Share these steps on social media:

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Your Actions Matter

Whether you are working on campus or remotely you can quickly “power down” your workspaces before a break to help us create our carbon neutral campus goal by 2035. Your actions make an impact:

  • In 2019, Cornell students and staff were able to save 1.2 million kWh of electricity and over $100,000. (That's equivalent to eliminating the energy use of 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!)

  • The 2021 shutdown saved Cornell over $117,000 during the 2021 winter break (12/24/2021 - 1/2/2022). Coupled with setbacks controlled by the Energy Management team, Cornell students and employees helped to achieve 583,240 kWh in electric savings ($44,000) and 3,160 klbs in steam savings ($73,000) this year.

  • Over the past decade, this program has saved the university over $1 million in energy costs.

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