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Campus buildings save energy by turning down heat for holidays

Emory Report | Dec. 17, 2015

Over the holiday season, from Dec. 24-27 and Dec. 31-Jan. 3, the heating systems in certain buildings on the Emory campus will be programmed to maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

This temperature point will reduce energy use and costs, while still protecting the buildings’ contents. The temperature will be turned back up in time for the work days of Dec. 28 and Jan. 4 to ensure a comfortable working environment for building occupants.

The yearly "holiday turndown" has been instrumental in reducing emissions and helping Emory achieve its energy reduction goals. In 2014, the holiday turndown prevented 490 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 92 cars.

“Emory’s annual holiday turndown is important in maximizing energy efficiency,” says Ciannat Howett, director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

Emory achieved its institutional commitment to reduce energy use by 25 percent per square foot by 2015 from 2005 levels. Most of Emory’s major buildings are part of the Atlanta Better Building Challenge, which has a goal of 20 percent energy and water reduction by 2020 from FY11 levels. Additional goals are being discussed for beyond 2020.

All Emory community members are encouraged to take steps to limit energy consumption in support of these goals, especially building and office occupants that are leaving for the holidays. These actions include turning off all lights and electronic equipment and unplugging appliances.

The holidays are also a great time to update, or take for the first time, Emory’s sustainability pledge as a new year’s resolution to further the university's institutional sustainability through personal behavior changes.

See frequently asked questions about the holiday turndown and a complete list of this year’s participating buildings.