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Tips for beating the heat: Save energy on campus and at home

Jul. 26, 2016, 10:57 AM


As the thermostat tops out this summer, don’t let your energy use follow the same trend. Vanderbilt is one of the largest energy consumers in Middle Tennessee, and all faculty, staff and students are encouraged to do their part to reduce energy consumption during high temperatures. Small changes can produce big results when everyone does their part.

Here are some energy-saving tips for your office and home to beat the summer heat while staying green.

When at work:

  1. Close window blinds in your office or lab during the hottest part of the day to keep temperatures lower inside.
  1. Set your thermostat between 76 degrees–78 degrees. Adjust thermostats more radically in unoccupied classrooms and when you leave for the day, weekend or vacation.
  1. Dress for the hot weather so you can remain comfortable in more moderate temperatures.
  1. Turn off lights in your workspace when you leave, even if only for a short period of time.
  1. Turn off lights to common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, break rooms and conference rooms.
  1. Turn off office equipment. If allowed in your area, computers, printers, copiers and scanners can be turned off when you leave for the day (or even when attending meetings if out of the office for several hours at a time). Otherwise, activate sleep modes and energy-saving settings. (Instructions for modifying power settings can be found on the SustainVU Energy Saving Tips page.)
  1. In laboratory spaces, close fume hood sashes when not in use.
  1. If your office or area seems unusually cold or hot or you have trouble regulating the temperature, please call VU Plant Operations at 3-WORK (3-9675) to let them know.

When at home:

  1. Close window blinds in your home during the hottest part of the day to keep temperatures lower inside.
  1. Set your thermostat between 76 degrees – 78 degrees. Keep your home warmer when you are away for the day, weekend or vacation.
  1. Use fans to help cool your home. If you use air conditioning, using a ceiling fan allows you to raise your thermostat 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort.
  1. Avoid placing lamps or TVs near your thermostat. Heat from these appliances can alter the performance of the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run more than necessary.
  1. Vacuum air intake registers as well as vents on appliances such as refrigerators or freezers regularly to remove any dust buildup and to allow equipment to run more efficiently.
  1. Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting inside your home.
  1. Install more efficient lighting that runs cooler. LEDs use one-tenth of the electricity that an incandescent bulb uses.
  1. Avoid using your oven on hot days. Cooking on the stove or in the microwave creates less heat in your home.
  1. Fix air leaks in your home by adding weather stripping or caulk to leaky parts of your home.

For more energy-saving tips, visit the SustainVU website or contact the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) at or 615-322-9022. Learn more home energy-saving tips from the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver website.

Contact: SEMO, 615-322-9022