Energy Curtailment Already?

After a wet end to last week, it’s hard to believe we have already been in energy curtailment twice. The combined high heat and high humidity put the campus into energy curtailment, and we need your help!  When the outside temperature becomes unbearable, we’ll ask people to turn their lights off where ambient light is adequate and to close their window blinds to keep the sun out.

Many may ask, “If we’re saving energy, why is my office so dang cold?  Aren’t we wasting energy on air conditioning?”

Patient care and research spaces need to maintain a constant rate of air flow. In these spaces, we combine both heated and chilled air, regulating temperature the way we adjust the water in a shower – adding both hot and cold to create a comfortable temperature. During curtailment, we decrease the amount of heated air to save energy, and some spaces will feel cold.

Other spaces will feel warmer than usual, as less energy will be used to cool them. Please call 2-3347 to report spaces colder than 66 degrees or warmer than 75 degrees.

Why put ourselves through this?  Lower energy use means better air quality, which means a healthier community, and our utility rates are based on our peak use.  That’s right — it’s not just a one-month expense.  The month that we use the most energy determines the rate we pay for the entire next year.  We want to keep that peak as low as possible.

Why do we turn off lights and close the blinds?  As a kid, did you ever burn leaves with a magnifying glass? The same thing happens when the sun shines in our windows, only we’re the leaves.   Keeping the sun out keeps buildings cooler, and turning lights off to save energy – well, that saves energy.

So, counterintuitive as it seems, when the mercury climbs this summer, be prepared – dress in work-appropriate layers.  Stow a sweater, a pair of closed-toe shoes and some socks in a desk drawer.  Help improve community health by turning your lights off and closing your window blinds.

If improving health, reducing pollution, and saving money aren’t enough incentives, the treat patrol will make the rounds, randomly showing up in spaces to reward people for these efforts:
To help ease the energy load:

  • close shades, blinds and curtains whenever possible to reduce solar heat gain;
  • lower lighting levels where possible, turn off lights in unoccupied areas and when leaving a room;
  • turn off and unplug all electrical equipment not in use (computers, coffee makers, printers, chargers, etc.), especially in offices;
  • shut fume hood sashes when not in use; and
  • open doors manually instead of using the ADA buttons.

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