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Meter Down

If your room or office is cool, put on a sweater or sweatshirt, and close the windows. (Photo by Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 11, 2016) — Conserving energy is a habit: automatically switching off a light when you leave the room, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or closing drapes on a cool night to keep the heat inside.

The Office of Sustainability is trying to build those habits through the University-wide Energy Campaign, a 10-week challenge to see if we, as a University, can reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. The campaign kicked off on Sept. 7.

So how are we doing?

Well, it’s a mixed bag so far. Overall, we’re down about 5 percent. The Social Sciences building is leading the pack, at a 17 percent reduction. The Business Administration building and SEFCU Arena next, at 14 and 13 percent, respectively. Physics and Earth Sciences are ahead of the curve too, both showing 11 percent savings.

But some buildings — Biology, the Massry Center for Business, Life Sciences, Physical Education and University Hall, for instance — are using more energy than their baseline numbers.

The easiest way to save energy is to turn off machines you’re not using — computers, copiers, printers and other electronics. If you’re leaving your office for the weekend, turn off or unplug your copiers and printers. Change your computer screen to go dark in resting mode, instead of making colorful but energy-sucking patterns.

“You can plug all your devices into a surge protector, and then flip the off switch at the end of the day to make it simple,” says Cassidy Drasser, assistant director of sustainability. “And don’t forget about the communal spaces, such as conference rooms and kitchens — turn off lights, computers/monitors, projectors, kitchen appliances, etc.”

Use the sun to your advantage. During the day, open curtains and blinds to let in light and warmth. At night, close them to cut down on unnecessary heating.

The Office of Sustainability has a couple of mini campaigns to remind people to conserve: take-the-stairs Tuesday and power-down Friday.

The energy campaign runs through Nov. 13th. What else can you do to reduce the amount of energy you use?

  • Close your windows if the heat is running. Sounds obvious, but walking around the Podium or the quads, it’s easy to spot open windows, even when the temps are dipping down into the 40s.
  • Plug your electronics into a surge protector and turn the whole thing off when you’re going to be gone for a few hours — or the weekend.
  • If your room or office is cool, put on a sweater rather than turning up the thermostat or, worse, pulling out a space heater.
  • If you still have a desk lamp with an incandescent bulb, switch it out for a CFL, which uses less energy and last far longer. You don’t even have to buy your own — email for a new bulb.


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