Energy savings add up despite warm winter break

YarbroughEven with Raleigh temperatures hovering in the 70s many days during NC State’s winter holiday, the university avoided $288,990 in utility costs through its Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative.

From Dec. 24 through Jan. 3 when most campus buildings were unoccupied, building thermostat temperatures were optimized for energy savings, non-essential lighting and electronics were turned off, and exterior doors and windows were secured.

“The savings demonstrate exceptional efforts from the entire campus community to conserve energy,” said energy program coordinator Claudia Powell.

Facilitated by NC State’s Energy Management Office, the energy initiative has avoided $3,063,443 in energy costs since the baseline year of 2004.

“With unseasonably warm weather this break, we saw an increase in electric consumption for cooling and humidity control, but this was offset in part by lower natural gas consumption for heating,” Powell said. “One of the campus utility plants actually consumed no natural gas during winter break until the day before campus reopened in January.”

The Winter Holiday Energy Saving Initiative is one of campus’ most visible energy-saving programs, though opportunities to save energy exist year-round for NC State students, faculty and staff. Some of the most effective ways to contribute toward campus energy efficiency include:

  • Turn off and unplug office equipment and appliances that are not vital or not in use
  • Close all exterior windows and doors
  • Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use
  • Shut off all space heaters
  • In labs, shut fume hood sashes when not actively working at the hood

For more energy-saving tips, visit