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Sustainable 2nd Century

Sustainable 2nd Century

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Take Action: Conserve Energy

Your challenge: Maximize your energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Find out how much energy you use

Graphic: Line graph showing a building's power usage over time

The Campus Energy Education Dashboard provides up-to-date information on a building's energy use.

To make a measurable impact on energy conservation, learn how much energy you already use and then set goals to reduce those amounts.

For on-campus energy use, the Campus Energy Education Dashboard website can help you by providing baseline information for your building's energy use. With information available by the hour, you can identify times when your building's energy use spikes and then identify if that timing coincides with the use of a particular appliance. Energy use should drop significantly in hours when the building is unoccupied. If you think the campus building where you work or live could increase its energy efficiency, contact the staff at the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, who can help you work with your co-workers or fellow residents on ideas of how to conserve energy in a coordinated fashion.

While creating the Climate Action Plan, staff found that heating, cooling and electricity use consistently accounted for about 85 to 88 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions measured at the Davis campus.

Be smart about room temperature

Heating and cooling is the biggest source of energy use on the Davis campus. You can help save energy by adjusting thermostats sensibly. A one-degree adjustment can save large amounts of energy. 

If you do not have control over your building's heating or air-conditioning, the systems will work most efficiently with windows closed, especially for windows facing south or west. 

At home, take advantage of natural heating and cooling during each season. In the summer, open windows in the evening to let the delta breeze provide you with free air conditioning. Then close the windows and curtains in the morning before outside temperatures rise. During cooler months, open blinds or drapes in the morning to let in the sun's light for some additional warmth and close them in the early evening to help insulate windows against colder outside temperatures.

Turn off lights

Photo: A light switch being turned off

It’s not a new idea, but sometimes we forget: When no one is in a room, office or bathroom, the lights should be off. If you’re in the room, you can also find ways to reduce your lighting use. Use daylight as much as possible and consider turning off lights during the day.

If you’re working at a desk, try using a desk lamp or another light that focuses on the task at hand instead of lighting the whole room. In offices with overhead lighting, removing some of the bulbs from ceiling fixtures can also help save energy; UC Davis Facilities Management can help campus offices get started.

If you're on the market for a new light, read these light buying guidelines from Professor Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center: Choosing the Right Light.

Evaluate your electronic equipment

Take stock of the equipment you plug into the wall. If you aren't using that image scanner or coffeepot, unplug it. Even if they're not turned on, electronics use some energy when plugged in. Paper shredders, electric pencil sharpeners, televisions and radios are other examples of equipment that you should plug in only when you need to use them.

If your office owns equipment that is rarely used, consider consolidating with another unit or nearby office. Once you've chosen equipment to share, contact Bargain Barn to recycle or resell your surplus. 

Replacing older appliances with more efficient models can also positively impact your energy use. For some campus-owned appliances — including printers, refrigerators and freezers — rebates and exchange programs are available to help campus units increase their energy efficiency without having to make budget sacrifices to do so.

Computers can also waste significant amounts of energy if not used efficiently. Replacing an older computer with a more efficient model can help, but only if you completely retire the old computer. Studies have also found that turning your computer off when not in use does not damage the hard drive and can, in fact, help your equipment last longer. Turning off your computer when it's not in use for 30 minutes or more is the best practice.

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