Facility Operations

Energy Management

We work to mitigate the ever-increasing energy costs and the consequential environmental impact caused by energy consumption. We monitor and review utility usage for the campus and to sustain previous energy measures while working to achieve on-going cost reduction. We collaborate with many departments across campus to achieve these goals.

Tips for Energy Conservation


  • Avoid using space heaters. They consume 1.5 kW per hour and localized heating could cause adjacent space to be overcooled.
  • When not using the computer, have it go into hibernate mode. The average desktop computer uses 115w while in use, but in hibernation, the computer does not consume any energy.
  • Turn computers, printers, copiers, and other machinery off overnight and on weekends. If you must leave a CPU on, turn off the monitor.
  • Instead of using the elevator, take the stairs. You’ll save energy and get some exercise.  (The average office elevator consumes 350 watts of electricity to travel from one floor to the next, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.  That’s enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 3.5 hours.)
  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Make use of natural lighting as much as possible. Adjustable blinds can let in light while reducing glare.
  • Exchange incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lighting. Incandescent bulbs convert only 10 percent of consumed energy into light, while compact fluorescent bulbs utilize 90 percent.
  • During the winter, wear heavier clothing, and turn the thermostat down. For every degree the temperature is turned down, you save 5–6 percent on heating energy.
  • During the summer, wear loose, light-weight clothing, and turn the thermostat up. For every degree below 78, energy use increases by 3–4 percent of your total cooling load


  • Shorten showers. Showers account for 2/3 of water heating costs
  • Close blinds (and windows) after sunset in the winter to keep in heat. Leave them open during summer days instead of turning on extra lights.
  • Turn off computer monitors and hard drives when not in use. Set your computer monitor to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • Unplug appliances that are not being used. Most idle appliances—TVs, VCRs, CD players, microwaves—continue to consume energy when switched off and account for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption.
  • Turn off lights when no one is in the room. Ten percent of the average home's electricity costs can be controlled with the flip of a switch.
  • Before long breaks, clean out small refrigerators, and unplug with door propped open.


  • The typical lab consumes four to five times more energy than the same-sized office or classroom.
  • Chemical fume hoods (of which Vanderbilt has more than 800) are the biggest energy consumer in research settings. While it is important to have the sashes open to the proper location to protect lab personnel when using fume hoods, 20 percent (or more) energy reductions can be achieved by closing the sashes when not in use.
  • Unplug battery chargers and equipment when not in use.
  • Turn off equipment when it is not in use and encourage others to do the same. For sophisticated equipment, make it simple for co-workers to turn off equipment by posting procedures for proper start-up and shutdown on or near equipment.
  • Turn off centrifuges overnight and over the weekend.
  • Provide freezers/refrigerators with proper spacing (2-3 inches minimum clearance from walls or obstructions).
  • Eliminate unnecessary freezers/refrigerators by getting rid of items that are no longer needed and combining contents into fewer freezers/refrigerators. (Please contact Plant Services or Plant Operations if your department needs to get rid of an appliance.)
  • Instead of buying a freezer/refrigerator for additional space, eliminate old samples and solutions from existing freezers/refrigerators.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers organized (give each person a section) so that cleanup and removal of old samples is easier. Before a group moves out of your area, ask them to get rid of unnecessary samples and condense their items into the smallest space possible.
  • When purchasing a new refrigerator, invest in an ENERGY STAR rated replacement.


Additional Resources

More great places to look for energy information: