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Temperatures are rising as summer draws near, but our progress in the Switch Your Thinking Chancellor’s Challenge has taken a dip.

While we are still making progress, it is not enough to meet the chancellor’s goal of reducing our campus’s energy consumption by 10 percent over twelve months. The most recent numbers provided for the month of April show a 0.6 percent reduction in electricity use, as compared to the average of the past two years.

Between February and March, we had decreased our electricity use by 1.5 percent. By April, this number slipped to 1.2 percent.

The good news is that between February and April our campus avoided more than $40,000 in energy costs.

UT Knoxville uses more energy during the summer than any other time of year. And with a new rate structure from TVA, we’re paying more for the energy we’re using during peak hours in the summer months. Between May and September, energy rates for TVA’s wholesale customers are nearly 50 percent more for each kilowatt hour of energy used between 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.

This is the time of year when faculty and staff have the ability to make the greatest impact on the campus’s energy savings. Simple ways to make a difference include taking advantage of natural light in office and meeting spaces and shifting higher-use activities—such as printing and copying large documents—to off-peak times.

For additional tips on ways to save energy, visit For information specific to your work area or to schedule a visit with UT’s Office of Sustainability, call 974-7780.