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Energy & Sustainability

Energy Saving Tips for Campus and Your House

From Natural Resources Defense Council


  • Unplug your chargers when you're not charging.
  • Use power strips to switch off televisions, home theater equipment and stereos when you're not using them. Even when you think these products are off, together, their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.

Set Computers to Sleep and Hibernate

  • Enable the "sleep mode" feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity.

Take Control of Temperature

  • Use sunlight wisely. During the heating season, leave shades and blinds open on sunny days, but close them at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Close shades and blinds during the summer or when the air conditioner is in use or will be in use later in the day.

Use Appliances Efficiently

  • Use the power-save switch if your fridge has one, and make sure the door seals tightly. You can check this by making sure that a dollar bill closed in between the door gaskets is difficult to pull out. If it slides easily between the gaskets, replace them.
  • Don't preheat or "peek" inside the oven more than necessary. Check the seal on the oven door and use a microwave oven for cooking or reheating small items.
  • Wash only full loads in your dishwasher, using short cycles for all but the dirtiest dishes. This saves water and the energy used to pump and heat it. Air-drying, if you have the time, can also reduce energy use.
  • In your clothes washer, set the appropriate water level for the size of the load; wash in cold water when practical, and always rinse in cold.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after each use. Dry heavy and light fabrics separately and don't add wet items to a load that's already partly dry. If available, use the moisture sensor setting. (A clothesline is the most energy-efficient clothes dryer of all!)
  • Don't forget to flick the switch when you leave a room.
  • Remember this at the office, too. Turn out or dim the lights in unused conference rooms, and when you step out for lunch. Work by daylight when possible. A typical commercial building uses more energy for lighting than anything else.

Look for the Energy StarĀ® label

  • Energy Star models are the most energy efficient in any product category, exceeding the energy efficiency minimums set by the federal government. Check Energy Star for details.

Energy-Saving Purchasing Tips


  • New refrigerators consume 75 percent less energy than those produced in the late 1970s. A family replacing a 1980 vintage fridge with one that meets today's standards will save more than $100 a year in utility costs.
  • Refrigerators with freezers on top use 10 to 15 percent less energy than a side-by-side model of equivalent size.
  • Generally, the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption. But one large refrigerator will use less energy than two smaller ones with the same total volume or a smaller fridge plus a separate freezer.

Clothes Washers

  • Choose the right size washer. A smaller washer may be more efficient for small households. But if you have a large family and have to do multiple loads in a washer that's too small for your needs, you could lose any possible energy savings.
  • Look for a washer with adjustable water levels. This gives you the option of using less water to wash small loads.
  • Choose a washer with a faster spin speed. This allows more water to be removed after the wash, reducing the drying time and your dryer's energy use.
  • Use a gas dryer rather than an electric dryer where possible.


  • The most efficient dishwashers use less hot water, have energy-efficient motors and use sensors to determine the length of the wash cycle and the water temperature needed to do the job.
  • Choose a dishwasher with a "light wash" or "energy-saving" wash cycle. It uses less water and operates for a shorter period of time for dishes that are just slightly soiled.
  • Look for dishwashers that have an energy-saving cycle that allows dishes to be air-dried with circulation fans, rather than heat-dried with energy-wasting heating coils.

Home Electronics

  • Ink jet printers tend to be more energy-efficient than lasers.
  • LCD televisions and monitors draw less power than CRT or plasma screens.
  • Small lightweight power supplies tend to be more energy efficient than large, heavy transformer-based power supplies.

Use the Internet

  • Several websites contain additional useful information. The EPA's Energy Star website has information on appliance models that carry the Energy Star label and where you can buy them. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy publishes a yearly list of the most energy-efficient appliances. And the Consortium for Energy Efficiency has information on programs promoting energy efficiency in the home.

Close Doors

  • Leaving doors wide open to a room or building may make it more inviting to come in, but it wastes energy. Don't prop doors open but allow them to close after people walk through the doorway.

Students - Get involved!

It's your school too! Get involved in saving energy.