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Participate in the Cornell Winter Energy Setback

Before leaving campus for winter break, please remember to reduce campus energy usage in your office, common areas, labs, residential rooms and spaces by following the simple steps listed here and below, in an open letter from Rick Burgess, Vice President, Facilites and Campus Services: 

December 22nd 2018 – January 2nd 2019

Hello Cornell Community, 

Our winter break allows us to “power down” for rest, reflection, and renewal, and gives our hard-working campus a time to save energy, too! 

Join us in Winter Energy Shutdown, an annual energy conservation effort, by taking a few key actions before you leave:

  • ·         Switch off lights 
  • ·         Unplug all electronics (many draw electricity even when off)  
  • ·         Turn off power strips 
  • ·         Close all exterior doors  
  • ·         Close all windows and shut the shades/curtains 
  • ·         Check thermostat, and if easily adjustable, turn down to 64F (but not off) 
  • ·         Shutdown non-essential equipment (e.g. printers, freezers, growth chambers, etc.) 
  • ·         Close fume hood sashes (one of the greatest energy consumers on campus) 
  • ·         Report facilities issues (e.g. leaky faucets, broken windows, overly hot/cold rooms) 
  • ·         Share these steps on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 

Colleges and units directly benefit from avoided energy costs, so powering down makes an impact on your college/unit while improving overall campus sustainability. Last year, we saved 1.5 million kWh of electricity and $115,000 during the shutdown, equivalent to eliminating the energy use of 115 homes for an entire year. Your actions make a difference! 

And just imagine the social, economic, environmental, and academic benefits that are possible when we engage in sustainable behavior year-round. We will save the campus $1.4 million and over 3,500 tons of carbon through major energy upgrade projects completed this year, and Cornell is once again the #1 Ivy for sustainability in the nation because of your efforts.  

Check your building’s energy performance on the redesigned Big Red Energy Scoreboard, or learn more about campus sustainability at If you have questions about the shutdown please reach out to 

Thank you for your continued efforts to save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and adopt sustainable practices. We can’t do it without you!

Rick Burgess, Vice President, Facilities & Campus Services 
Cornell University