Energy Saving Tips

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Use these tips to reduce your energy usage in your dorm or at home. These can help you win the Do it in the dark competition and reduce your CO2 footprint. They really make a big difference!

[edit] Before School:

  • Types of computers matter: Laptops and Energy Star devices use significantly less power than other desktops.
  • Think about what you will bring to school: on average an incoming freshman bring 13 plug-in devices, think about how many you will actually need and get in touch with your floor-mates to coordinate.
  • Be sure to exchange your light bulbs for Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs in all your lights. They use 75% less energy than incandescents (normal bulbs) and last 10 times longer.

[edit] In the dorm:

  • Turn off your lights whenever you leave. (turning on and off lights does not waste more power – that is a myth.)
  • 'Sleep is Good' Hibernate or shut down your computer. A desktop will use 780 pounds of carbon dioxide worth of electricity in 24 hours
  • Turn off TVs, radios and stereos.
  • Try to use less hot water by taking shorter showers
  • Coordinate with your suitemates to avoid bringing unneeded refrigerators. If you do bring a refrigerator, set the temperature between 36 and 42 degrees.
  • Wash your clothes on the cold water ("bright colors") setting
  • Dry your clothes on a drying rack or clothesline rather than using a dryer.
  • Beware of Vampires! 'Vampire' devices draw power even when they are not being used, these include anything with an adapter or charger such as cell phone chargers, lap top cords, printers, speakers, pretty much anything other than lights. The best thing to do is keep them on a power strip and just flick the power strip off whenever you're not using it.
  • Take advantage of natural light! Open the shades during the day for lighting and heating your room, close them at night to keep heat in.
  • Keep your thermostat at 68-70 degrees. Wear a sweatshirt to feel warm and cozy.
  • Think about how much of the day your room is using zero electricity. Are things drawing power while you're sleeping or in class? It can be pleasing to know that for those hours time you are not causing CO2 to be released or energy wasted.

MYTH: Because you live in a newly renovated building like Prospect or Morgan, it's impossible to win the Do it in the Dark competition because your lights automatically go on and stay on.

FACT: You can turn off your lights too by pressing the little button at the bottom of the light switch. You must do your part and turn the lights off when not in use just like everyone else. In reality, these buildings are at an advantage because a light left on never stays on for more than 30 minutes.

[edit] Other useful tips:

  • Recycle all paper (but re-use one sided, including this sheet!), cans, bottles, batteries, printer cartridges, etc.
  • Reuse aluminum foil, grocery bags, and clean ziploc bags.
  • Use your CUPPS cup! If you've lost yours, thermoses are also a great idea - you can fit three cups of coffee in to keep you awake all through your lectures, and they stay hot.
  • Print double sided! Most public printers have that as the default, but check anyway (in printer preferences). Even though paper is not electricity, it still takes power to produce and print it.
  • Share art history slides with friends, print many per page, use the on-line quiz or make your own PowerPoint.
  • Use cloth towels to dry your hands instead of the paper towels in the bathroom.
  • Take an active role in helping your friends, professors and the administration to reduce their energy impact.
  • Post your own energy saving tips on this page so everyone can benefit from them.
  • Join the Thursday Night Group facebook group that serves as a listserve to get in on all the exciting environmental action at Williams.