Top 6 Tips to Conserve Energy and Beat the Heat

August 9, 2011

Although we’re nearing the end of the summer, the heat is still on in the Philadelphia region. Here are some actions you can take that will help conserve energy on campus and cut the cost of your energy bill at home.  

What you can do to help conserve energy both on and off campus:

1. Light equals heat.
Turning off lights and appliances does double-duty towards your energy savings in the summer.  Lights, computers and other equipment generate heat that forces the air conditioning to work harder to keep you cool.  Turn off overhead lights and work in daylight or under task lights, especially in offices that have reduced occupancy during summer months.

2. Close the blinds.
Use blinds and your clothing to regulate indoor temperature instead of relying on the air conditioning.  During the summer, your air conditioner must work harder to cool hot air from sunny windows. Close blinds to reflect heat away from your office, especially on south- and west-facing windows during the day.

3. Take the stairs.
If you were to walk up and down three flights of stairs instead of using an elevator, it would save 15 watts a day (450 Wh a month). That’s enough energy to power a 37" Plasma TV for three hours.

4. No idling.
Turn off printers and monitors when not in use.  Put your computer on a diet; adjust the power management settings.  For more information on power management and other tips to save energy around your electronic devices, visit the Penn Green I.T. website.  Additionally make sure that chargers are unplugged --these "wall warts" draw a tiny, but steady amount of power.

5. Reduce on “Red” Days.
Penn volunteers to reduce its electricity consumption on summer days when our area threatens to use more electricity than the grid can produce. These are known as “red” days. By doing what you can to reduce your personal electricity consumption during these times, you are preventing the dirtiest "peaker" power plants from being turned on to meet the increased demand.

6. Leave the car at home.
Congestion around campus makes our environment even hotter, and contributes to degraded air quality.  Penn is well served by public transit, and has a great bicycle infrastructure as well.  To take advantage of Penn’s SEPTA discounts and emergency ride home programs, visit Penn Transit’s Public Transportation and Emergency Ride pages.  Put the gas money you save towards that beach house you’ve always wanted.

Are you breaking a sweat when you see your home energy bill in the mail? Check out these energy conservation tips from PECO to learn how you can conserve in each season and lower your utility costs:

Low / No Cost Tips to Conserve Energy from PECO
Seasonal Conservation Tips from PECO


As of November 2014, more than 350 student Eco-Reps serve as environmental champions for sustainability efforts at Penn

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