Flip the Switch

Save Energy, Flip the Switch

Reducing electricity use in our library, offices, classrooms, labs, dining areas, and residence halls can add up to significant environmental gains, as well as real financial savings. We need the help of every member of the UNC Asheville community to Flip the Switch.

Six Ways to Save!

1. Turn off unnecessary lights (this simple action will have the greatest impact!)

2. Shut windows and exterior doors

3. Shut off idle computers, printers and other electronics

4. Report spaces that are too cold or too hot, instead of running space heaters or fans

5. Avoid the use of mini-fridges and other small appliances in your office in favor of shared equipment in break areas.

6. Chemical fume hoods are the biggest energy consumer in labs. While it is important to have the sashes open to the proper location to protect users, 20% (or more) electricity reductions can be achieved by closing the sashes when not in use.

Through our collective efforts, we can dramatically impact the efficiency of our facilities and the budgetary impacts of our actions. Thanks in advance for being a part of this important effort.

LED Lighting Adjustments

As part of the Flip the Switch campaign, we will be reducing the intensity of some of our overhead LED lighting. Look for an email from Campus Operations regarding the timing of this work in your building.

Making Motion Sensors Work for You

You may have noticed that many buildings were recently equipped with motion sensors that are designed to reduce electricity use when rooms are unoccupied. Are they working for you? If you work in a space that gets a lot of natural light, you may have been leaving your overhead lights off most of the time. A motion sensor can actually lead to higher energy use when it triggers lights that aren’t needed or wanted.
Campus Operations staff would be happy to adjust your motion sensor so that your lights come on manually and automatically go off when users have left the room (i.e. manual on, auto off). If that setting would work better for your office, meeting room, or a classroom where you teach, just contact customer service and they can take care of that ASAP.

What Your Mini-fridge Isn’t Telling You

Plainly put: Some mini-fridges use as much or even more electricity than a full-sized unit, according to a Consumer Reports review. How could that be? The amount of energy a compact refrigerator consumes is due in large part to poor insulation and lack of cooling features.

Unlike full-sized refrigerators, which have an external condenser and fan, compact refrigerators typically use their exterior walls to dissipate heat. As a result, they tend to be much more sensitive to room temperature than full size models. The warmer the room, the more energy they use. They also have less room for insulation which makes them an especially bad choice for freezing.

Break areas with full-sized refrigerators are a much better option for faculty and staff. If you don’t have a break area nearby, you can still talk to your colleagues about sharing a fridge in an accessible location. The proliferation of small appliances has led to increased electricity consumption across campus. Help us control costs and environmental impacts by avoiding their use.

10-11-12 for Energy Efficiency

10 simple and inexpensive DIY home energy efficiency solutions including…

  • Phantom load power strips and automated electric shut-off devices
  • CFL and LED bulbs
  • Duct sealing
  • Water heater blanket
  • Faucet aerators and toilet water saving devices
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Weather-stripping
  • Caulking around windows and doors
  • Pipe insulation
  • Water efficiency devices

… that will only cost you $1100 to perform on your own or with a contractor…
… will save you $12,000 on energy bills in your home over the next ten years!

Visit www.HomeEnergyNC.org for help getting started, finding a contractor, and identifying available incentive programs.

What’s the deal with my thermostat, anyway?

If you have a thermostat in your office or classroom, you may have found yourself wondering what it does… and doesn’t do.

It’s likely that it has two options: WARMER and COOLER. These settings allow you to adjust the temperature of your space within a pre-set temperature range.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when adjusting the temperature of your spaces:

  1. Your HVAC system will reset itself overnight. So, if you set your thermostat to “WARMER” on any given day, you will need to move the lever up and down again on the following day if you would like to make the space warmer again. Essentially, your thermostat actually functions as a programmable thermostat, returning to its pre-set program after a certain length of time. If you find that you always want your office or classroom warmer (or colder) than it is when you arrive, contact Customer Service at Campus Operations and they may be able to adjust your baseline.
  2. If a window is left open when a space is unoccupied, it will affect the heating and cooling of that space, and possibly other spaces nearby. For one thing, the HVAC system will need to compensate for the warm or cool air that is coming in through the window. This wastes a lot of energy! But it can also make other spaces uncomfortably hot or cold if the temperature control for that area is managed for a suite of spaces, rather than just a single space. So, please: Close those windows! Try to make a practice of checking spaces on your way out for the day to make sure that windows and exterior doors have not been left open.
  3. We want you to feel comfortable in the spaces where you work. If you notice an ongoing issue with any space, report it to Customer Service at Campus Operations. Sometimes, the solution is as easy as moving a heat-generating lamp away from a thermostat or unblocking a vent. Unless they hear from you, they can’t help.

Choosing a great LED bulb

If you are using desk lamps or standing lamps in your office with anything other than LED bulbs, you should really consider making a switch. LED bulbs can save 80% on energy costs compared to equivalent incandescents or halogens and they will last much, much longer. There are LED bulbs available for virtually any application or lamp type at this point including recessed fixtures, small track lights, under-cabinet lighting, and outdoor areas. Here’s a guide for those who feel a little overwhelmed in the lighting aisle. Frankly, who doesn’t?

Brightness in lumens, not watts.

If you’re over the age of 25, you’re probably accustomed to judging the brightness of a bulb by its wattage  (60W, 75W, etc). Now that we have more efficient options, we’ve had to switch to another metric — lumens — to convey brightness across all technologies.

The old 100W light bulbs gave off about 1,600 lumens (75W –> 1,100 lumens, 60W –> 800 lumens). The LED bulb packaging often also tells you what type of incandescent bulb this would be designed to replace (“60W replacement”). But the high-efficiency bulbs typically use around only 9W to produce the same amount of brightness.

Color temperature is very important.

High efficiency bulbs vary significantly in terms of the quality (or warmth) of the light that they give off. If that’s an issue for you, you need to look at the “Light Appearance” section of the lighting facts on the package:

Bulbs with a higher color temperature rating (measured in degrees kelvin, or just K) give off a cooler or bluer light. Most LED bulbs on the shelf are rated 3,000K. If you’re looking for an especially warm light, find a bulb that is rated 2,700K. Even in a fixture where the bulb is not shielded by a shade of any kind, you’ll be pleased with the quality of the light compared to the old incandescents.

Notice that a scale is also provided that rates the appearance the bulb you’re considering versus others. Some applications (sheds, garages, basements, etc) don’t require a warm light. So, in those cases, you can just go with a 3,000K bulb which is often cheaper.

Dimmable vs Non-Dimmable

Not all LED bulbs can be used with dimmers. Look for this feature on the package — simple as that!

Save cash at home with Duke’s Time of Use rate (R-TOU)

Did you know that you can request a special rate from Duke Energy Progress that rewards you for shifting your electricity use towards “off-peak” hours? Every residential customer in Dukes service territory is eligible for this program.

How it works:

  • Under the R-TOU program, you pay a higher on-peak rate during specific times of the day when demand for electricity is high, a shoulder rate for medium-demand hours, and an off-peak rate during the rest of the time – when demand for electricity is lower.

  • You could save money IF you can shift some of your electric use away from peak electric use periods. The more electric use you shift away from on-peak and shoulder hours, the more money you could save.
  • Learn more and sign up at this link: R-TOU Program, or call 800.452.2777

See something? Say something.

You might be aware of a motion sensor that is not working the way you’d like it to. Or an exterior door that never really closes. Or a sign that needs to be changed or replaced. You are our eyes and ears on campus; if you notice an issue, please let Facilities know so that we can address it immediately.