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When we arrive at work each morning, we enter a building appropriately conditioned to be warm or cool, switch on our lights and computer, and settle into our daily routine; usually without much thought about the energy that we use.

It may not be well known, but Auburn University has a Climate Action Plan with specific goals, numerous projects, and a team of individuals that put an Energy Reduction Plan into action. This team, the Energy Management Unit, works at a large scale, looking system-wide at all the buildings throughout campus. Your everyday actions, while they may seem small, can help Auburn reach one of its strategic goals.

Working together to reduce energy use adds up to substantial savings. Residence halls on Auburn’s campus demonstrated this during past energy reduction competitions. Over the years of competition, an average of 75% of residence halls reduced their energy use by 10% with winning halls consistently reducing around 32%! Imagine how much we could save, given that Auburn spends $13,555,422 for electricity, and $4,841,184 for natural gas, each year!

Try the simple things below at your desk, in common areas, and through your purchasing actions. Start today and get your coworkers to join you!

At Your Desk

  • Skip using a screen saver.
  • Set your computer(s) to automatically sleep after no more than 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • Turn off all computers and electronics at night, during weekends, and on vacations. Better still, you can unplug them to eliminate phantom loads.
  • Easier still, you can install a smart power strip that will do the job for you.
  • If you have a desk lamp, use a compact florescent or LED bulb.
  • Bring a sweater rather than using a space heater.

In Common Spaces

  • Work together to determine the need for electronics and appliances (e.g.– printers, microwaves, coffee makers) and consolidate where feasible.
  • Establish a program to help ensure shared appliances get unplugged at night, on weekends, and during breaks, or use a programmable timer.
  • Try to utilize daylight only, when possible. If lights are needed, be sure they are turned off when leaving a room and at the end of the day.
  • Be sure the thermostat is set to an appropriate temperature (68-71 degrees in winter; 75-78 degrees in summer).
  • Close blinds in the evening to help maintain building temperature.
  • Display reminders for the last one out of a room to turn off the lights.
  • Prior to university breaks, send an office-wide reminder for coworkers to shut down computers and unplug electronics/small appliances.

When Purchasing

  • Avoid purchasing electric office equipment when manual options are feasible (e.g. – stapler, hole punch).
  • When you must purchase electronic equipment/appliances, look for the Energy Star

Learn about other things you can do at work to save money, reduce water use, minimize waste, build community and increase your personal wellbeing by visiting our Working @AU page.

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