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Office of Sustainability

Energy Saving Tips

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Energy has been, and continues to be, an important part of contemporary society. However, addressing energy efficiency is becoming more critical. Winthrop has been actively investigating opportunities to improve its energy efficiency since approving its energy policy in 2009. Strategies implemented so far include upgrading campus lighting as well as pre-setting room temperatures to maximize efficiency during heating and cooling seasons.

Individual behaviors can significantly impact our ability to meet our goals and there are ways you can help. Winthrop's utility bill for gas and electric for FY14 was approximately $3.3 million. If each faculty and staff member committed to reducing his or her energy use, significant cost savings could be realized, not to mention the social and environmental benefits. Below are several saving strategies that can be implemented in any office and/or building.

Office Energy Saving Measures

  • All electronic equipment should be turned off when not in use.
  • All lights should be turned off when you are the last person leaving the room. This reduces energy consumed, thus lowering utility bills and carbon emitted.
  • Be sure all exterior doors and windows are closed during heating and cooling seasons.
  • Check HVAC units to make sure they aren't running when they don't need to be.
  • Computers should be turned off over the weekend. Please see IT's recommendations on page ten of the Faculty / Staff Technology Handbook (pdf - 1.76 MB).
  • Monitors, copiers, and printers should be turned off at night and on weekends.
  • Move furniture away from any heat source to allow heat to flow into the office space.
  • One personal heater can use up to $100.00 annually. Personal heaters and fans are prohibited per the Energy Policy For Winthrop University (pdf - 20 KB). Dress for seasonal changes or keep a sweater in the office.
  • Overhead lights should be turned off if your office or room has quality natural light.
  • Reduce office lamp usage. Replace all light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Use a desk lamp with CFL's instead of turning on overhead lights. Energy Star-rated CFL's last longer and use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Screensavers are not needed. A computer in sleep mode uses 87% less energy than a computer in screensaver mode. Please take a look at our Screensaver Options How-To (pdf - 186 KB).
  • Set the power saving setting to 15 minutes or less. See our Monitor Power Saver Setting How-To (pdf - 213 KB) for changing these setting options.
  • Taking stairs instead of elevators saves a small amount of energy (it also burns calories!).
  • Televisions and stereos should be turned off when you leave your classroom, residence hall, or office.
  • You can help Winthrop University be more energy-efficient by taking a look at more of these suggestions (pdf - 813 KB).

For more detailed strategies, see our Sustainable Office Practices, which provides a comprehensive certification program that analyzes work place activities within the following categories: energy, materials and resources, transportation, indoor air quality, water, and social equity.

Section 48-52-620, Code of Laws of South Carolina, requires all state agencies, school districts, public colleges, and universities to develop energy conservation plans to reduce their energy consumption by one percent annually during fiscal years 2009-2013 and by a total of a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020, as compared to 2000 levels. A Winthrop University Energy Conservation Plan (pdf - 278 KB) and a campus wide Energy Policy For Winthrop University (pdf - 20 KB) were developed by Winthrop's energy team; the Energy Policy was approved in 2009. Both are a realistic and comprehensive document that identifies strategies to meet energy and water conservation and efficiency goals as significant issues for the entire campus community.

On average, there are approximately 7,400 people on our campus each weekday. Winthrop's annual utility bill is more than $3.2 million; this includes electricity, gas, oil, water, and sewer. If each person practices each of the conservation strategies listed, the university could save $277,500 annually in energy costs. Good conservation practices can significantly reduce carbon emissions, and save 2,768 acres of forest.

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