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Memo December 12, 2019

American University Community
David Osborne, Director of Energy and Engineering
Winter Holiday Energy Curtailment

I am pleased to announce that as part of the university's campus-wide commitment to the environment, we will make our annual collective effort to reduce water and energy consumption during the holiday break.  For this effort to be successful, we all need to do our part.

For their part, Facilities Management personnel will take the following energy-conserving steps:

  • Conduct a building-by-building assessment of the various HVAC and lighting systems, energy-curtailment opportunities, and operational challenges associated with the holiday closing of each facility. 
  • Ensure that temperature set-points are reduced to a targeted 55 degrees between December 21 and January 1 in campus buildings, as well as verify that room lights are turned off or adjusted. Normal temperature set-points will resume after the first of the year, as we return to campus.

As you prepare to make your holiday getaway, Facilities Management asks for your help in our campus conservation effort by taking the following measures:  

  • Ensure that all sinks, showers, or other water faucets are turned off. Domestic hot water temperatures will be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Toilets that run continuously (flushing without stop or making a draining noise) waste vast amounts of water – up to 200 gallons of water each day, and sometimes more. Report any issues or leaks to 2FIX (x2439).  
  • Switch off all non-critical lighting (critical lighting = life safety, security, etc.).  Turn off room and bathroom lights when you’re ready to leave for break. Switch off any personal lamps. This also will keep the bulbs from burning out when you are away.
  • Disconnect all non-critical electrical equipment, appliances, and unnecessary plug loads from receptacles. Be sure to unplug phone chargers, laptop chargers, TVs, and video game consoles, as they consume “vampire energy,” as inactive devices still consume electricity. Using a power strip with an on/off switch is an easy way to ensure all inactive devices are not using power. Note: Refrigerators will remain as found, whether plugged or unplugged (we recommend that you clean, defrost, dry-out, and unplug them). Unauthorized space heaters that are plugged in may be confiscated.  
  • Close all exterior doors, windows, and openings securely.  Open windows allow cold air to enter the room, forcing the heating system to run when nobody is there. Ensuring there are no paths for air from outside to enter a space is an easy way to maintain HVAC efficiency.  
  • Reduce space temperatures to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and as low as 50 degrees, wherever possible. This can be done manually by lowering the local thermostats or other heating/ventilation device controls. Additionally, keep blinds closed, as they will act as insulation and help retain heat.   
  • Set fans (e.g., fan coil units in building lobbies and under residence windows) to low speed modes where possible.  Ensure that the fan coil units are not blocked by clothing, towels, bookshelves, etc.

Be sure to share this information with your staff and direct any questions you may have to 2Fix to ensure that you receive a timely and well-coordinated response.

Facilities Management appreciates the support of AU students, faculty, and staff and looks forward to another year of conserving energy.