Frequently Asked Questions: Energy & Climate

Does turning off fluorescent lights throughout the day shorten the life expectancy of the light fixture?

While turning on and off the fluorescent lights frequently can reduce the lamp's life, leaving the light on for extended periods of time will shorten the lamp's life too. The rule of thumb is if you plan to leave the room for more than 5 minutes, it is best to turn off the light to save energy. Research shows that over the light's lifetime, the energy savings of turning off the light far outweighs the cost of replacing the lamp.

How can I help to reduce energy consumption on campus (and in my personal life)?

Winthrop encourages energy efficiency through its Energy Conservation Plan and Policy. The policy recommends that all faculty, staff, and students help reduce energy use by practicing the following requests:

  • Avoid using personal heaters and fans - heaters can cost as much as $25 a day to operate.
  • Because screen savers aren't as important with today's monitors, they can be turned off because they can use as much energy as the monitor.
  • Be sure all exterior doors and windows are closed during the heating and cooling seasons.
  • Check all HVAC units to make sure they aren't running when they don't need to be.
  • Consider walking, biking, or roller skating to destinations instead of using a car or truck.
  • Move furniture away from heat source to allow heat to flow into the office space.
  • Reduce office lamp usage and replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.
  • Turn off all lights when leaving an empty classroom or office or when natural day lighting is available and adequate.
  • Turn off all computers, printers, scanners, TVs, stereos, bathroom, and kitchen fans, etc. when they are not in use.
  • Turn off monitors, copiers, and printers at night and on weekends.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment when it is not in use (including phone chargers).
  • When sending correspondence, use e-mail whenever possible to reduce paper use.

Visit the US EPA, South Carolina Energy Office or your utility provider's website for additional resources about methods for reducing energy consumption.