University staff: Take the Energy Bowl Challenge to conserve energy (and win pizza!)


Note: The Medical Center is going green for the holidays a little differently. VUMC employees, please refer to John Howser’s story in today’s MyVUMC for more details.

Next week you might notice it’s a bit darker and cooler on campus—and it’s not just because most of Vanderbilt’s bright students have gone home for winter break.

Beginning Monday, Dec. 16, at the request of Provost Richard McCarty, Plant Operations will begin implementing several aggressive energy conservation measures across the University Central campus until the spring semester begins on Jan. 6. Employees are asked to support these measures by participating in the Energy Bowl Challenge.

The challenge: The building that reduces its energy consumption by the highest percentage—compared to this time last year—will win a pizza party of up to 20 pies.

“With such a large portion of the university population away from campus, the winter holiday season is one of the least disruptive times of year to undertake a mass energy conservation effort such as this one,” McCarty said. “[rquote]We are all cognizant of the financial challenges facing our university, and this is a wonderful way to cut back and save the equivalent of an full undergraduate scholarship plus room and board.”[/rquote]

Lights off

Plant Ops will turn out the lights in all unoccupied areas. Employees are asked to turn all lights out when they leave an area.

Thermostats down

Additionally, Plant Ops will turn the thermostats in most University Central areas down to 65 degrees for the duration—even in areas that operate normally during the break. These areas include Kirkland Hall, Sarratt Student Center and athletics facilities in addition to almost all academic buildings and centers. Employees working in these areas are asked to maintain the 65-degree temperatures during working hours.

“These are relatively small sacrifices that will not only conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but will help conserve university resources as well,” said Jerry Fife, vice chancellor for administration. “[lquote]I encourage everyone remaining on campus during the holidays to participate in the Energy Bowl Challenge.”[/lquote]

What won’t change

Child care areas, occupied campus residences, off-campus buildings and areas that house climate-sensitive research environments, materials and instruments will remain at their usual temperatures. These include the Baker Building, Vanderbilt Child Care, occupied dorm rooms, labs in Wilson, Olin, and Featheringill halls, the Stevenson Center, Biomolecular NMR and climate-sensitive portions of the Blair School of Music and the Vanderbilt libraries.

A complete list of affected areas is available here.

Please note that the power plant will not be reducing either steam pressure or temperature during this period in order to meet ongoing needs for sterilization and other essential functions.

Plant Operations will monitor energy usage data and conduct random audits throughout the winter break to ensure that lights in unoccupied areas are being turned out and the thermostats are turned down.

Other tips

light switch off

Personnel remaining on campus should:

  • Bring a sweater to work.
  • If you have an individual thermostat, keep it at 65.
  • Do not use a space heater—they pose fire hazards.
  • Turn off all lights, computers (if allowed), monitors, copiers, printers and other electronics and equipment when you leave.
  • Close all fume hoods when not in use.

Personnel taking time off should:

  • Turn off all lights in your office/personal work area.
  • If you have your own thermostat, turn it down to 65.
  • Turn off and unplug all electronics and electronic equipment to prevent wasting “vampire energy”—the small amount of power that trickles into electronics even when they are switched off. If computers must remain on, turn monitors off.
  • Close all fume hoods whenever possible.

For more ways to conserve energy in your work area, please visit the SustainVU website.

For more information about the Energy Bowl Challenge, contact Darren Bevill at 322-2622.