According to a 2003 study at Tulane University*, the top three energy users in a college residence hall are lights, computers, and refrigerators. Combined, these account for over 90% of the energy used in a typical room, and generate 2700 pounds of greenhouse gas in a year.
*Tulane University ENERGY STAR Showcase Dorm Room study by Maureen Devery, updated in Fall 2003 by Cassandra Pace. See the Energy Star website.
- MHC Residence Halls are "incandescent free areas". To get a free LED bulb for your desk or floor lamp email firstname.lastname@example.org with your residence hall and room number.
- Turn off the lights and use natural lighting whenever possible.
- Practice Green Computing by setting your computer to go to sleep when not in use.
- Keep windows closed in cold weather to keep the warm air in, and learn how to control your heater.
- Turn off and unplug TVs, printers, stereos, chargers or other electronics when not in use and over breaks.
- Defrost and unplug your refrigerator over breaks.
- Learn how to control the heat in your room.
- Reduce your shower time to save water and energy.
- Wash full loads of laundry and use cold water. Use concentrated high efficiency environmentally friendly laundry detergent.
- Use a drying rack to dry your clothes.
- Learn the truth about some common Energy Myths.
- Find out how much power appliances use.
- Burn calories, not kilowatts: use the stairs, not the elevator.
- Turn off all lights if you are the last one out of a room.
- Turn off computers in computer labs and classrooms when you are done working.
- Don't use automatic door openers unless you need to.
Changing some aspects of the way you do your laundry can help reduce your ecological footprint as well. Try some of these simple tips, compiled by the ECO-Reps:
- Wash full loads of laundry.
- Since 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is used to heat the water, use the cold water cycle by selecting "Bright Colors" or "Delicates".
- Use ultra-concentrated detergent to minimize the amount of chemicals entering the environment and the amount of plastic used for the containers.
- Recycle empty detergent bottles.
- Try switching to an eco-friendly detergent made with biodegradable ingredients.
- Use a drying rack or the laundry lines in your laundry room instead of the dryer.
- If you choose to use a dryer, clean the lint trap before starting the machine. This keeps air circulating efficiently and can cut down on drying time.
Five Steps to Tame the Energy Hogs before you leave for break
There's nothing you need to leave on while you're away.
1. The Office Refrigerator - empty it, defrost it, turn it off, unplug it, and prop the door open.
The biggest hog in your office is probably the refrigerator; it runs round the clock and uses 50 to 100 watts.
2. Computers, printers, Copiers, Scanners - turn off your computer and turn off and unplug other equipment.
Most office equipment uses energy even when they are "off" - staying at the ready to reduce warm up time when turned on.
3. Other Appliances and Equipment - turn off and unplug coffee makers, microwaves, cell phone chargers, radios, steros etc.
These too use energy when "off". Those little plug-in transformers can draw 4 to 7 watts even when they're idle. It all adds up. See a video clip on "Vampire Loads" from Treehugger.com.
4. Windows and Heat - close and lock all windows.
Leave the heat at the normal setting, FM will take care of heat set backs.
5. Lights - last one out, turn off the lights and have a great break!