Skip to main content

Switch Your Thinking!It’s time to Switch Your Thinking about energy. This academic year, UT Knoxville is calling on all faculty and staff to reduce energy consumption on campus.

The Switch Your Thinking campaign continues a long tradition of being an environmental leader both regionally and nationally with an ambitious goal of cutting energy use by 10 percent.

In a region where much of our energy comes from burning coal, using less energy means cleaner air and a greener planet.

It may also mean a little relief as budget cuts make their mark across campus. A 10 percent reduction in energy use would have a major impact on the university’s finances. With everyone’s participation, the campus could save more than $1 million each year.

You can Switch Your Thinking through four simple steps:

  • Turn off lights when you are out of the office for more than an hour and when you leave for the day. Every office on campus will get a door-hanger that will let people know you’re at work–just temporarily out of the office.
  • Turn off computers when you will be out of the office for two hours or more and when you leave for the day. Even when your computer goes to "sleep," it’s still using energy–a lot of it!

    Shut down your computer and turn off the monitor when they’re not in use. Be sure to set your computer’s energy saving settings as well. Learn how at

  • Use a power strip and turn it off when you leave for the day. Anything that’s plugged in to a wall outlet is using power, even when it’s turned off. Plugging into a power strip protects your electronics and makes it easy to flip one switch at the end of the day.
  • Turn off window air conditioning units when you leave for an extended period and when you leave for the day. Shutting these off when you leave your office will save more than $400 per unit each year and keep more than six tons of pollution out of our air. If you have a controllable air conditioning system of any kind in your office, you can turn it off when not in use as well as set the thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter. A small adjustment can have a major impact.

Over the coming months, you will find updates on our progress as a campus in Tennessee Today. For more information on Switch Your Thinking, visit the Make Orange Green Web site at

Keep an eye out on campus for the Big Switch, where you can find more information about the Switch Your Thinking campaign.