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sustainNU - Office of Sustainability

Conserve Energy

Northwestern consumes almost 250 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually which results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to more than 60,000 passenger vehicles each year. NU is investing millions in energy conservation projects and minimizing the impact of the energy that we buy. Reducing your energy usage helps conserve resources and reduce pollution in the air we breathe. If you live off-campus and pay your electric bills, it helps keep money in your wallet too.


Use the sun

Use natural light whenever possible and turn off the lights when you leave a room.

green cupThink small and compact

  • Use task lighting instead of overhead lights to illuminate the area you need and not the whole room.
  • Use CFL or LED bulbs, a CFL uses less than 1/4 of the energy and lasts up to 10 times longer, saving over $30 for the life of the bulb.

Use a strip

Turn off electronic devices when not in use and keep them plugged into a power strip to reduce vampire energy draw.

Be a power saver

Update your desktops/laptop’s power management settings to save energy and stay charged longer.

Wash cold and air dry

  • Washing clothes in cold water conserves energy and detergents are equally effective in cold or warm water.
  • Use a clothes drying rack rather than a dryer to save money, energy, and have your clothes last longer.

Adjust the temperature

  • ENERGY STARMake sure you’re not using too much heat in the winter. If you can’t control the heat and feel it’s getting too hot in your living/work space, be sure to report it to your landlord, School Dude, or Facilities Management. A indoor temperature of 68°F during the heating season and 76°F during the cooling season is recomended.
  • Keep your windows closed during the winter months when the heat is on and report drafts and leaks to your landlord/property manager, School Dude, or Facilities Management.
  • Save money during the summer months by using a fan to cool down rather than air conditioning. If you do need to use air conditioning, make sure its ENERGY STAR® certified and that your windows are closed and sealed.

Earn points

Check out the City of Evanston’s Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Energy Project, which allows you to earn points redeemable at local restaurants and shops for all of your energy efficiency efforts. Nicor’s Energy Buzz offers a similar program.