Off for the holidays? Turn it off!

Taking time off for the holidays? Think about what you can do to help Washington University School of Medicine save energy during your vacation.

Despite adding the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine, the school has maintained its $47,000 a day bill for utility costs, thanks to both retrofits and a change in behavior by faculty, staff and students. Even small changes can help make a dent in energy costs.

If you take time off for the holidays:

• Remember to turn off your lights, computer monitors and computers if possible.
• Unplug all speakers, printers, copiers, fax machines, coffeemakers, toasters, microwave ovens, etc.
• Close fume hood sashes in labs. Labs could save 40 cents an hour, or $3,500 a year, by closing the fume hood sashes. Leaving them open is like leaving your front door at home open in the summer or in the winter.”

A 2009 case study of a lab in the McDonnell Pediatric Research Building showed that about $2,000 per year could be saved by turning off lab equipment such as water baths, heat blocks, centrifuges and other equipment with heating elements and compressors when not in use. So even shutting down equipment for a few days can make a big difference in energy costs.

“We want people to remember that every person at the medical school can have a positive impact on the school’s finances and the environment by making a personal choice to be more responsible with energy use,” says Jim Stueber, director of facilities engineering.