Turn off all unused electrical appliances when not in use.
Know and cooperate with scheduled hours of building operations; do not expect buildings to have fully operational HVAC systems during evenings and weekends when there is minimal occupant use.
Energy-Efficient Lighting Tips:
Use natural daylight when possible.
If you spend a lot of time working at a computer, consider reducing the overall brightness level in your room to enhance CRT screen visibility.
Report any lighting problems to your Zone Maintenance office. This might include a burned-out lamp, defective occupancy sensor, or a flickering bulb.
Turn off the lights in classrooms, offices, and restrooms when the rooms are not being occupied.
Consider using desk lamps ("task lighting") and reducing overhead lighting in the room.
If your building has areas where "occupancy sensors" are being used to turn lights on and off (such as in conference rooms, rest rooms, and hallways), please cooperate with their use.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs where possible.
Energy Conservation in the Laboratory
Keep fume hood sashes closed when not in use. Fume hoods operate in a vacuum by drawing room air and any undesirable fumes through the cabinet and exhausting it out the building's exhaust stack. In almost all laboratories on campus, the room air being exhausted is 100% fresh outside air. Fresh air is very expensive to heat or cool. Lowering the sash (the glass window) when the fume hood is not in use reduces the amount of conditioned air exhausted.
A Bio-Safety cabinet is another type of fume hood; it filters the air rather then exhausting it. This type of fume hood uses a recycling-air vent, which does not necessarily need to be kept on at all times. Remember to turn off the fan when not in use.
When using running water for cooling or condenser systems, remember to turn off the valve when finished.
If possible, use a cooling system with a re-circulating pump as opposed to running once through water.
Turn off all equipment when not in use. This includes everything from hot plates to lights to computers.
Keep the hallway door shut as much as possible. This is not only a safety measure, but it helps balance the air system in the laboratory.
When using automatic glassware washers, wait until you have a full load before operating.
Maintain refrigerators and freezers by keeping coils clean and doors properly sealed.
If refrigerator or freezer is over 8 years old, consider upgrading to a newer more energy-efficient model.
Do not place refrigerators or freezers next to room thermostats.
Consolidate contents of refrigerators or freezers--a full freezer is more efficient to keep cold than a half empty freezer. Turn off the empty, unused appliance.
Energy Efficient Computing
Do not leave your computer running overnight and on weekends. Also, wait until you are ready to use it before you turn it on.
A modest amount of turning on and off will not harm the computer or monitor. The life of a monitor is related to the amount of time it is in use, not the number of on and off cycles.
Try to plan your computer-related activities so you can do them all at once, keeping the computer off at other times.
Do not turn on the printer until you are ready to print. Printers consume energy even while they are idling.
Do not print out copies of email unless necessary.
If you spend a large amount of time at your computer, consider reducing the light level in your office. This may improve CRT (cathode ray tube) screen visibility as well as save energy.
Most computer equipment now comes with power management features. If your computer has these features, make sure they are activated.
The best screen saver is no screen saver at all - turn off your monitor when you are not using it. This option is second best only to turning off your computer all together.
Use "paperless" methods of communication such as email and fax-modems.
When typing documents, especially drafts, use a smaller font and decrease the spacing between lines, or reformat to keep your document to as few pages as possible, especially when typing drafts.
Review your document on the screen instead of printing a draft. If you must print a draft, use the blank back side of used paper.
Use a printer that can print double-sided documents. When making copies, use double-sided copying.
Always buy and use recycled-content paper. Look for papers with 50-100% post-consumer waste and non-chlorine bleached. Also, recycle your paper when done.
Buy a monitor only as large as you really need. Although a large monitor might seem more attractive, you should remember that a 17-inch monitor uses 40 percent more energy than a 14-inch monitor. Also, the higher the resolution, the more energy it needs.
Ink-jet printers, though a little slower than laser printers, use 80 to 90 percent less energy.
Request recycled/recyclable packaging from your computer vendor.
Buy vegetable (or non-petroleum-based) inks. These printer inks are made from renewable resources; require fewer hazardous solvents; and in many cases produce brighter, cleaner colors.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS—ENERGY CONSERVATION
Q: Is it more energy efficient to keep turning fluorescent lighting on and off all day or to just leave it on? Our office uses the room at least every 20 minutes during an 8-hour work day but no one is ever in there all day.
A: By leaving fluorescent lamps on you save the lamp life, but not energy costs.
It’s a tradeoff between buying new fluorescent lamps which are generally pretty cheap and the cost of electricity to run the lamps all day for 20 minutes of actual use. This depends on your cost of electricity. Basically, we’ve found it more energy efficient to turn lights off when not in use. (For that type of room it might be cost effective to install an occupancy sensor unless people actually turn the lights off when they leave.)
Q: Is it more energy-efficient to let a lightbulb burn for a short period of time, or to turn it off and then on again? I read once that the surge in power when a bulb is turned on is equal to letting the bulb burn for a while?
A: It is more energy efficient to turn the light off than to leave it on. Energy is measured with respect to time. The unit used to measure electrical energy is the kilowatt-hour or thousand-watt-hour, the amount of power or watts that you use in one hour. The momentary or millisecond or less surge of electricity required to start your light bulb will not impact your energy cost, but leaving it on all the time will. With the rising cost of energy, it’s probably a good idea to turn the lights out when you are not using it.
(Not to mention the pollution impact, less energy use, less emissions from power plants.)
Turning the lights on and off a lot will impact your lamp life, however. If you compare the number of bulb(s) you need to buy versus the cost to let the light burn all the time, it will still probably be cheaper to turn the lights off.
Q: How do I check to see if my computer equipment has an Energy Star feature? (Some computers, like mine, were built by someone and they don’t have the Energy Star logo on them.)
A: It will usually be necessary to make a few changes to the computer’s BIOS (Basic Input Output Options) before changing the operating system settings. Making these changes is typically quite simple, but because there are many different systems in use today, it is impossible for us to give you detailed instructions on every BIOS. Check the documentation that came with your computer or the manufacturer’s or distributor’s website.
A critical part of power management is the major system timers—these are typically called doze, standby (or sleep), and suspend, and occur in that order.
Doze reduces power during periods of inactivity by lowering processor (CPU) speed and powering down unused logic and memory.
Standby usually sends a signal to power down the monitor, but may also slow down the whole system (in a BIOS without a Doze mode).
Suspend typically sends the command to go to the lowest power operation by sending the “off” signal to the monitor and CPU and cutting system board power [Source: EPA’s Energy Star website]
Q: Yesterday I had a 7:30 pm meeting in the School of Education building, and two different thermometers registered 80 degrees! Why is it necessary for the heat to be on so high during the evening hours?
A: In order to conserve energy, many buildings utilize what is called a “temperature setback.” This is a process through which building air handling units are automatically scheduled based on occupancy patterns. In a building that is typically empty during nighttime hours, air handling units are shut down so so as not to waste energy by heating or cooling a space while it is unoccupied. In these situations, a particular space will only receive heating or cooling in extreme temperature cases. If your schedule requires you to spend extended periods of time in a building during its setback period, you may want to speak to your building facility manager to request an override or building schedule modification.
Temperature setback is the probable explanation if you experienced this during the summer months. However, if this situation occurs in the winter, it may be an indication of equipment failure and you should notify the Plant Department.
Q: Recently, the fluorescent bulbs in our office were replaced, but the plastic panels covering them were left off. I sit directly under this light at a computer 8 hrs a day. I heard that plastic stops the UV rays coming through and without it, a person is exposed to these rays unnecessarily. From a health and safety point of view, is there a real risk here?
A: Ultraviolet content emitted from the energy-efficient T8 fluorescent
lamps used at U-M is very low. The amount of UV produced by standard fluorescent
lamps is not hazardous and does not pose a major health concern. In fact,
a paper by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) explores
this subject in more detail. It cites a study in which it was determined that
UV exposure from sitting indoors under fluorescent lights at typical office
light levels for an eight hour workday is equivalent to just over a minute
of exposure to the sun in Washington, D.C. on a clear day in July [Source:
GE Lighting, NEMA]. For more, see the Permissible Exposure
Time PDF in the Energy Conservation Tools section.
Q: What is the most energy-efficient thing to do with your computer at the end of the day? Turn it all off or just turn off the screen or leave it all on? I don't have an Energy Star computer.
A: Just like fluorescent lighting, explained above, turn off your computer in order to use less energy, especially if it does not have an energy-saving mode.
Q: Does U-M have any R&D programs that are looking at developing alternative sources of energy?
A: The academic departments at The University of Michigan conduct research in these areas. We do have a 30-kilowatt array of solar panels on campus; however, Plant Operations in not involved with this type of research. We primarily deal with the maintenance and implementation of building systems.
Q: I was recently looking over your Energy Conservation Measures Checklist while doing some research for a project. I was wondering if I could get statistical data on average kW savings per square foot if these were to be implemented.
A: This information is building specific. Please feel free to contact us to discuss what has been implemented for the building you are interested in and we can discuss it in more detail.