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Switch Your Thinking

The ‘dog days’ of summer are upon us, which means it is peak energy use time at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. From June 1 through September 30, UT will pay significantly more for energy used on weekdays between the hours of 2:00 and 8:30 p.m.

Faculty and staff should make every effort to limit their energy use during the peak times. To reduce energy use, employees are asked to shift large print and copy jobs to before 2:00 p.m., schedule meetings for after 2:00 p.m., and remind team members to turn off lights and power down electronic appliances in their offices during the meetings.

Faculty and staff who operate dishwashers or laundry machines or stock refrigerators and freezers as part of their jobs should conduct this work outside of the peak use times on weekdays or on weekends.

Peak times for energy use are determined by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and vary by season. Summer peak energy use billing, which became mandatory for TVA’s largest customers in 2011, provides the campus with an opportunity to save on energy costs by adjusting study, work, and play habits.

Faculty, staff, and students have been encouraged to change their on-campus energy use habits since the Switch Your Thinking initiative began in 2008. Since then, the campus has saved more than $1 million in energy costs.

You can find more tips for reducing campus energy use at