Green Your Dorm Room!

Want to make your life on campus more eco-friendly? Start with your dorm! The annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more that 156,000 miles. If just 1 in 10 students adopted energy-saving practices, we could avoid millions of pounds of climate-warming carbon pollution! Here are some ideas yo help you do your part!

Reduce Heating and Cooling Loads

Heating and air conditioning use the most energy in dorm rooms and present an easy way for students to reduce their carbon footprint! Here are a few ways you can work to reduce your heating and cooling energy consumption:

  • If your room has temperature control, set it a few degrees higher to help cut back on how much energy the cooling system uses
  • Never leave a window open when an air conditioner or heater is running
  • On hot, sunny days, keep the blinds/curtains closed to keep the room cooler without using electricity for cooling
  • In the winder, let the sun in when possible to aid in the passive heating of the room
  • Always report broken windows, cracks in doorways, or damaged thermostat controls to the university maintenance department 
Use Energy Efficient Lighting

Lighting is another major energy load in dormitories. Below are ways that you can integrate more energy efficient lighting into your dorm life:

  • Turn off your overhead light, desk lamp, and all other lights when you aren’t using them.
  • Swap old, incandescent light bulbs with modern LED bulbs, which are 85% more efficient and last much longer
  • For the holidays, decorate with LED holiday string lights
Unplug and Turn It Off!

Dorms experience significant electrical loading from electronics that are left plugged in (even when not in use) and the associated, parasitic losses. In fact, dorm rooms consume more than 30% of their annual electricity needs when vacant. To make “unplugging” your appliances more convenient, plug all of your appliances and devices into power strip with a surge protector (allowed) and then turn the switch off when you leave.

Check Your TV Screen Brightness

Bright  screens substantially increase the energy consumption of TVs and computers. Adjust your TV screen by using the Automatic Brightness Control feature which adjusts the picture brightness level depending on the amount of light in the room.

Stream Movies on Your Phone

Game consoles present relatively large electrical loads. Stream movies with apps already on your TV or with a streaming device (like Roku or Apple TV or purchase an HDMI cable), which use much less energy to stream than your console. You can even download a universal remote app for your phone. Keep the auto-power-down feature enabled so your game console doesn’t consume power when you aren’t using it.

Check Your Computers/Laptops

Program your computer to go into a low power standby mode when you’re taking a break to ensure maximum energy savings. Furthermore, when not using your computer for programs that require high computing power, put your computer on low power mode to optimize battery life and energy efficiency. Finally, when shopping for a new computer, look for an Energy Star Certified one.

Reduce Water Use

The U.S. Southwest is an arid region that is prone to annual droughts. Thus, it is important to embrace water conservation measures to ensure societal resilience for years to come, despite anticipated reductions in freshwater supply. Below are several ways to embrace water conservation in dormitory life:

  • Run dishwashers and clothes washers with full loads
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Consider purchasing a drying rack for your clothes and place it near your room heater, as opposed to using the clothes dryer
  • Ask your hall director if you can add aerators to your hall sinks; aerators can reduce water flow to 1.5 gpm or less from the standard 2.2 gpm