Cornell Winter Energy Setback

December 23, 2017 - January 2, 2018

Energy Setback Checklist

Each year, Cornellians enjoy a winter break, which allows us to rest, reflect and save energy! We have much to celebrate and be grateful for this year. To date, Cornell has reduced 33% of our carbon footprint from the 2008 baseline, and we currently rank as the #1 Ivy institution for sustainability in the nation.

Before leaving campus for winter break, please remember to reduce campus energy usage in your office, common areas, labs, residential rooms and spaces over winter break by following the simple steps listed below. Colleges and units directly benefit from avoided energy costs, so your energy saving actions make a direct impact on your college/unit. Plus, every kWh of electricity we save lowers our emissions!

Before leaving for break, be sure to:

  • Switch off lights
  • Unplug all electronics
  • Turn off power strips
  • Close all interior and exterior doors
  • Close all windows and shut the shades/curtains
  • Turn down thermostats to 64F (where possible), and unplug space heaters & Cozy Toes
  • Shut down non-essential equipment (e.g. freezers and refrigerators, growth chambers, greenhouse lighting)
  • Shut down laboratory fume hoods (one of the greatest energy hogs on campus)
  • Report facilities issues (e.g. leaky faucets, broken windows, overly hot/cold rooms)

Reaching our ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 is a community effort, and we believe that together we can beat last year’s record for reducing energy waste. By taking these simple actions during the 2016 Winter Setback, we collectively saved over 1.6 million kWh of electricity and $154,000 in energy costs, which is roughly the equivalent to saving carbon emissions from 130 homes’ energy use for an entire year. We accomplished this together in just over one week! Imagine the potential social, economic, environmental, and academic benefits that are possible, locally and beyond, when we engage in sustainable behavior collectively year-round.

For more information on Cornell’s campus-wide sustainability efforts, including how to see your building’s energy usage and how to contribute to setting new, visionary goals for the updated Campus Sustainability Plan, please visit

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.