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With just four months left in the Chancellor’s Challenge to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent, progress on campus has taken a dramatic dip.

progress chartSince the challenge began last February, the campus decreased overall electricity use by just 1.2 percent. While these efforts saved more than $170,500 in energy costs, they are not enough to reach the 10 percent goal by February 2012.

Recent progress made in June and September did result in a 5.2 percent reduction, as compared to the previous two years. That progress, however, was offset by above-average consumption by the campus in the hot months of July and August.

What can we do in the next four months to make a difference? How do we achieve the goal, as we deal with new morning peak time hours (5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) in December and the expected dips in temperature throughout the winter?

Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Shut down office lighting, computers, and other electronics when not in use.
  • Schedule high-use activities, such as copying and hosting large meetings that require the lighting and heating of large conference rooms, after 11 a.m.
  • Avoid doing laundry and using gaming systems and other electric-powered devices in residence halls during peak times.

Refresh your knowledge of the campus’ energy conservation policy (pdf), which prohibits the use of individual space heaters, microwaves, and refrigerators, among other small appliances, unless an exemption has been obtained.

During the last three years, faculty, staff, and students have dramatically reduced consumption through the Switch Your Thinking energy reduction campaign.

Faculty, staff, and students can make a difference by making simple changes in their daily routine. The next four months will require an extra effort to help get the campus closer to the 10 percent goal.

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