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May progress chartSummer’s in full swing, and so is the Switch Your Thinking Chancellor’s Challenge. In the month of May—the fourth month of the challenge—the UT Knoxville campus made its largest gain in its effort to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. Faculty, staff, and students worked together to achieve a 3.7 percent reduction in electricity use for the month of May, as compared to the May average of the past two years.

Since the challenge began in February, the campus has seen an overall decrease in electricity use by 1.8 percent, which is a 0.6 percent increase from the previous month. So far the challenge has led the campus to avoid more than $98,000 in energy costs.

While the campus’s efforts in May gave us a boost in meeting the goal of the Chancellor’s Challenge, we still have a long way to go. Summer brings many visitors and campers to campus. It also brings higher energy costs during TVA’s peak consumption hours. Through September, energy rates for TVA’s wholesale customers—including UT Knoxville—are nearly 50 percent more for each kilowatt hour of energy used between 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Faculty and staff can make a significant impact on the campus’s energy use by shifting high-use activities to non-peak hours. Print or copy large documents, operate chemical fume hood sashes, and use large meeting facilities outside of the 2:00–8:00 p.m. window when possible. Meanwhile, members of the campus community also should continue common-sense energy-conserving practices, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, shutting down computers at the end of the day, and taking advantage of natural light when available.

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.