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Newsletter 4: Energy conservation

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Send (print?) checklist with "I do this" boxes to check. Maybe even a score sheet

Turn off lights
- conference room
- kitchens
- cubicle dimming
- reducing hous/garbage pickup
- turn off times, choosing the right bulb
Turn off electronics
- computer backup schedules
- monitors
- screensaver options
- adaptors
- surge protectors/etc
- darker screens (black web pages, setting flat screen TV's)
"Kill-a-watt" device to check out?
Space heaters not allowed (quartz IR for home)
Personal refrigerators, etc

"Use only what you need"


The paper wrapping each ream of paper is now recyclable.

Energy Consumption and TV

In 2005 the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that televisions in the U.S. consume more than 46 billion kilowatts per hour or about 4% of residential electricity. Energy usage from TV's is increasing in the U.S. as the trend is toward more and bigger TV's. High Definition TV requires more power as do newer technology TV's. The Natural Resources Defense Council was unable to identify which technology was the winner in energy efficiency.

While you are converting your household to digital take a couple of minutes to make your household more energy efficient. If you are purchasing a new TV begin by looking at the EPAs energy star label. Energy Star 3.0 means that the TV will be 30 percent more efficient than the comparable TV. Be aware that the Energy Star rating judges wattage on the stand by power. This does not measure how efficient the TV is when it is active. The new large screen televisions can raise your electric bill quite a bit. In general the larger the screen the more energy it uses.

There is more to saving energy than the Energy Star ratings. These are some tips for adjusting your TV to make it more energy efficient:
• Use a surge protector or power strip that will disconnect them from the circuit so they aren't drawing power when your TV is turned off.
• Calibrate your TV to minimize power consumption. Reduce light output by changing the picture settings. Most TVs are very bright by default and this uses more energy. Try turning down the light output which is controlled by "contrast", "brightness" or "picture" controls. Look for "Movie" or "Pro" settings to choose a dimmer setting from the TV's on-screen menu to improve energy efficiency and picture quality.
• Turn off the Quick Start Option on HDTVs. This will save energy during the standby mode and it will only take the TV a couple extra seconds to warm up.
• Turn down the LCD's backlight. The TV will be less bright and you might find the image quality is better.
• Turn on the power-saver mode. The TV will be less bright but that could be an improvement if you watch TV in the dark.

Changing your lifestyle can also change the energy consumption:
• Turn off the TV when it is not in use.
• Turn the lights down when you are watching TV.
• Watch less TV
• Make TV time a time spent with your family by watching the same TV
• When buying a new TV replace the old TV instead of adding to your collection.

Determining Elevator energy use can be very challenging. The number of watts
used depends upon many things. One estimate is 5.5 kilowatts/ elevator ride.

Bottom line - Elevator use uses electricity.
IF walking up and/or down the steps is a reasonable option then you will:
-save electricity
-help the group effort to make a greater impact through the cumulative
effect of many people participating in this effort
-burn calories
-increase muscle strength
-improve balance

Walking up a flight of stairs burns 5 - 15 calories.

To get started, how about making Mondays "Take the Stairs Day"?

Using the door button marked with the handicapped icon uses electricity in
two ways. It uses electricity to work and it allows manufactured air to leak
outside for 25 seconds.
If you need it, you need it. If you don't, you don't.

Staff and faculty at the University play an important role in reducing energy consumption. Energy conservation measures can save millions of dollars each year at the University, which not only protect our jobs and students’ tuition but also protect the environment from pollution and vulnerable populations from living in areas highly polluted by energy creation such as coal burning. As University employees, we are stewards of public funds and the environment. Please consider the harmful fiscal, environmental, and social impact of these items found in many offices and cubicles.

Electrical space heaters
Electrical space heaters are prohibited in University facilities. They can overload circuits; they are a fire hazard; and they are “energy hogs? (one electric space heater uses as much electricity as 45 fluorescent light fixtures).

Personal Appliances (mini fridges, microwaves, coffee pots, etc.)
Consider that individual personal appliances (a fridge, microwave or coffee pot) in your office or cubicle use more energy per person than appliances shared by departments (staff fridge, coffee pot, microwaves). If you like a cold beverage every day, bring in a pack of the beverages and every morning label one and put it in the staff fridge to cool. If you dislike putting your lunch in a shared fridge, invest in an insulated lunch bag and a freezer pack to keep your lunch cool all day. If the microwave is always busy, adjust your lunchtime 15 minutes earlier or later to avoid the lunch rush.

Would we want to put this in the newsletter?
Facilities Management tips on reducing energy use: http://www.facm.umn.edu/Sites/About_FM/New_FM/energymanagement/energyconservation/energyconservation.html

ON or OFF?
Keep energy usage to a minimum by turning off all incandescent lights when they are not in use. Turn off fluorescent bulbs when you leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
There are differences when the types of ballast, electricity rates, and energy efficiency of bulbs are considered...but the main point being 15 minutes or more of unused space - turn off the light!

Do your part by replacing burned out lights with compact fluorescent bulbs. And better yet, use as much natural light as you can!

For more ideas and information check out the U.S. Dept of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.


True story: 7 Watts saved

I never use my undercabinet light. In fact, it has no bulb. Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered it was drawing 7 Watts - the switch was left 'on'! That's 7 Watts 24/7 for 2 years serving no purpose.
Moral of the story: If you don't use it, unplug it.
- Nathan Mitchell, Green Team founding member

Go hunting with the Green Team

(For energy wasters, that is!) Some things waste energy when they're on; some waste energy when they're off. The "Kill A Watt" lets you track them down by telling you how much power (and $) a device uses.

Want to go hunting at work or at home? The Green Team has a Kill A Watt you can borrow. Sign up at cube 335B. Take sine readings, then decide what to turn off and what to unplug.

Results from some common devices (Watts on/Watts off):
20" TV (CRT) 36 / 1
VCR/DVD player 20 / 10
Space heater max1500 / 0
Portable radio 10 / 0
Lamp, 40 Watt bulb 42 / 0
* Many devices draw less than 1 Watt whenever plugged in. These include chargers (laptop, electric toothbrush, etc.) and many surge protectors. If they are not in frequent use we recommend you unplug them.

Normally printers and copiers go into a power conserving stage when unused. If there is a paper jam they cannot do this. If you can't resolve a jam and it's after hours, turn it OFF until someone can fix it.

Turn it OFF!

In the days of yore there were reasons not to turn off computers and fluorescent lights. This is the 21st century! The off button will not destroy your computer with static charge. The Wattage readings below show how much energy you save turning things off.*
Desktop / Monitor
Shut down/Off 0** 0**
Logged off/Standby 73 0**
Screensaver 74 33
On, normal use 74 34

Under desk lighting
off 0 short 31 long 46

**Too small to measure
*Readings were taken from a Dell Optiplex GX620 and Dell flat screen. Savings will be greater for older computers and monitors

Turning off 200 computers 4 nights/wk and weekends 50 weeks per year at 8 cents/kWh would save the Division over $6,000! Monitors draw negligible power on standby, so it is less important to turn them off.

Add on to the power list:
Electric scale plugged in: 3W off, 5W on.

Gas for WBOB cost $117,413 last year.
Electricity for WBOB cost $692,323 last year.
We will pay these bills under the new accounting system.

Energy Management wants to cut energy use 5% annually. They will change the building, with things like LED bulbs. Our responsibility is to change our behavior.
This is not about deprivation, this is about trimming waste.
"Use only what you need."
This newsletter will give you the information you need to make wise decisions about your energy use. Read on!
- The Green Team

Interesting fact: A flat screen monitor showing a white page draws 35 Watts. Switch to a dark screen and it drops to 33.

COMPUTERS are highly efficient machines, but even in a non-active state they draw electrical power when left on. On average, an EpiCH computer uses 12.26 kW/hrs of energy per week when left on (about 86 cents worth of power). Multiply that by 300 or so division computers, and that’s $258 a week!

IN FACT, we could save over $120 a week, just by shutting machines off at night. However…

EPICH COMPUTERS NEED TO BE ON in order to get backed up each week.
So what can be done?

Here’s how YOU can achieve balance between “being seen” by the backup server and “being green” for energy conservation.

Backups are scheduled by location, mostly in the evenings, according to this schedule:







Leave your machine on whichever night you are scheduled.
Ideally, close all applications and log off. Once you have seen a successful backup message the following day(s) you are free to turn off the machine (when your day is done) for the rest of the week!

NOTE: Your machine cannot get backed up if left in a sleep mode, so also consider checking your Power Options control panel (PC) or your Energy Saver Preference (Mac) and set to Minimal Power Management, or Computer Sleep NEVER. This is sometimes confused with the monitor’s sleep mode, which is a separate and perfectly allowable function. In fact, monitor’s can be turned off completely when not in use overnight and backup will remain unaffected.


What if you don’t see the completed backup message, or you get a message that you haven’t been backed up for some time?

You can actually check your last backup date at any time. Just visit the Retrospect (EMC Retrospect, or Dantz Retrospect) application found in Control Panels on a PC, in Applications on a Mac. If the last listed date shown isn’t for the current week, be sure to leave your machine on until it is (even if it’s past your scheduled night). Once backed up, you are again free to shut down the computer (during non-work hours) for the rest of the week!

NOTE: If more than ten days have passed and you still have no recent completed backup message, contact system support. There are likely issues we can (and should) address to ensure timely future backups.

Happy Computing!

lets be real, we'll never be able to fully shut down our use of energy, its become too much of a mainstream part of life. We really need to find a 100% cost effective alternative source of fuel to make this all work.


I recommend most especially raising the internal temperature in the summer. We all wear light clothing at home. Why do we have to put on
extra clothes at work?

I can't make the meetings but I would like to make a suggestion: on the northern side of WBOB on the 3rd fl. it is too hot (I found this true on both the east and west sides of the building). My cube thermometer reads 72.5 to 76 most days I am there. I know it's cold other places. But, as a result, I run a small electric fan all year long. And I really can't dress seasonably during winter, because the building is
overheated. It doesn't seem to be overly air conditioned in the summer.
I wish the building had a better temp balance.

Turn the TV off when not being used.
This one's obvious, but it's easy to get into the habit of leaving the television on when you're not really watching it.