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sustainNU - Office of Sustainability

Conserve Energy

Northwestern is committed to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our campus operations. The University has already implemented programs to reduce our carbon footprint by investing in energy efficiency and green energy. The following tips can help students, faculty, and staff use energy wisely on campus and off.

Computers and electronics


  • lightUse task lighting with energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs. Small task lights at desks can be more efficient than full overhead lighting.
  • Turn off lights that are not in use. Contact the Office of Sustainability if you would like to request reminder stickers for light switches in your room or office on campus.
  • Make use of natural lighting by opening shades and turning off lights during daylight hours.

Temperature control

  • Check the temperature settings in your space. Recommended settings are 68°F during the heating season and 76°F during the cooling season. If your space on campus is too hot or too cold, report the issue to facilities management.
  • Keep windows closed when heating or air conditioning systems are running.
  • Avoid using space heaters. Space heaters are less efficient than central heating systems and can be fire hazards.
  • Save money during the summer months by using a fan to cool down rather than air conditioning. If you do need to use an air conditioner, make sure it's ENERGY STAR® certified and that your windows are closed and sealed.


  • Wash clothes in cold water to conserve energy used for water heating. Detergents are equally effective in cold or warm water.
  • Use a drying rack rather than a dryer to save money and energy.

Learn and earn

  • Check out the City of Evanston’s Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Energy Project, which allows you to track your energy use in your home and earn points redeemable at local restaurants and shops.
  • The Northwestern Green Office Program offers more tips for conserving energy on campus. Offices that participate in this program earn recognition for their efforts to contribute to a more sustainable campus environment.


energy star logoRefer to the following resources to learn more about reducing energy use in your space.

  • ENERGY STAR: Find energy efficient electronics and appliances along with tips for reducing energy use. 
  • U.S. DOE Energy Saver: Get tips on saving energy and money throughout your home or workplace. 
  • EPEAT: Find greener computers and other electronics. 
  • Standby Power: Learn about reducing standby power.
  • NUIT: Learn about energy efficient computing at Northwestern.