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Labs encouraged to power down over holidays

Dec. 12, 2013, 9:15 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Plant Services and Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) are hosting “Go Green for the Holidays,” an energy conservation contest open to research labs during the final two weeks of December.

This year, because the University’s official Christmas and New Year’s holidays fall mid-week, the number of people present on the Medical Center campus during this period is anticipated to be lower than during typical yearend holiday periods while year-end time is spent with family and friends. The “Go Green for the Holidays” contest is intended to take advantage of this extended period of lower than normal occupancy in portions of the Medical Center where energy consumption is consistently the highest, but does not involve patient care services.

(Vanderbilt University)

“Each year, the Medical Center spends more than $30 million on utilities. We know that during this holiday season much of our administrative and laboratory space will be absent of normal day-to-day activity, so we want to take advantage of this opportunity to help the environment while also reducing overall energy consumption,” said Ken Browning, assistant vice chancellor for Facilities and Construction.

Faculty and staff who work in research labs — primarily those with chemical fume hoods — located in Light Hall, the Robinson Research Building (RRB), Preston Research Building (PRB), MRB III, MRB IV and Medical Center North, are all eligible to compete to see who can operate at the highest level of energy efficiency from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, 2014.

The entire floor of the research lab chosen as the winner will receive a free pizza meal. The wining lab will be announced in late January and the pizza prize awarded in February.

A panel of judges from Plant Services and SEMO will conduct random, unannounced surveys during both weeks of the contest period and will select the winner. Labs that are both occupied and unoccupied will be surveyed for energy conservation.

The contest’s judges will look to see whether faculty and staff have done the following (if permitted in their work area):

• Turn off and unplug all computers, monitors, printers, microwaves, lamps, cell phone chargers, televisions, copiers, fax machines, coffee makers, etc., that will not be in use to reduce passive power use.

• When not in use, turn off all lights in labs and offices, including lights in break rooms and bathrooms.

• Check the thermostat setting and set it to 65 degrees or lower.

• For labs with fume hoods, close hood sashes when not in use.

• Make sure all faucets are completely turned off and not dripping.

“The opportunity to challenge our faculty and staff through a competition is a exciting new way to promote actions that contribute directly toward the University’s longstanding goals of conservation and greater sustainability,” said Andrea George, director of the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office.

For questions about the “Go for the Green” contest please email SustainVU at or call Plant Services at 322-2041.

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