Green Amherst

Living Greener

Change a Light

The top three energy users in a typical college dorm room are...

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Lighting
  3. Computer and associated peripherals

Fortunately, making these three simple changes can shave 60% off your room electricity's carbon contribution.

  • Get an Energy Star fridge (or better yet, share one with another room). These use at least 30% less, and maybe less than half as much energy, as comparable non-Energy-Star units and cost only a few bucks more. Locally, they're available from Salemi Appliance; call 413-739-7904 and ask for one of these:
    • 1.8 cu.ft. Danby DAR194
    • 2.5 cu.ft. Danby DAR254
    • 2.7 cu.ft. MicroFridge MHR-2.7E
    • 2.9 cu.ft. MicroFridge MF-3XNTP
  • Change a Light, Change the World! This is old news by now, on almost every "things you can do" list. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Get more light for 75% less wattage, with a bulb that lasts 10 times longer. Exchange your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents during the College’s “Light Bulb Amnesty” program held every fall.
  • Sleep is Good. Computers use energy when they're idle, and screen savers don't save energy. According to the EPA and Berkeley National Labs, PCs are idle 58% of the work day, and only 36% of users shut them off at night. Help minimize this waste by enabling your power management (sleep) settings, and join the Million Monitor Drive! Set the monitor to go to sleep in five minutes and your computer to hibernate after 10 – screen savers cause the computer to use more electricity than when you are typing your term paper. Please, turn off printers and other peripherals when they're not being used. It's easy to do this with a power strip. And if your chargers aren't charging anything, unplug them from the wall.
    Sleep is Good

Other Things You Can Do

  • Turn off lights when you leave your room or any other space you use on campus.
  • Take advantage of natural light by keeping shades open.
  • Close shades during the night to help keep heat in.
  • Adjust your thermostat to control the temperature in your room rather than opening the window. If the heating system in your dorm doesn’t work, let your Resident Counselor know and he or she will report it to the Service Center, who will send someone to fix it.
  • Don’t leave the shower running for a long time before you get in, and take shorter showers.
  • Turn off the water in the sink while brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Use the stairs.
  • When buying appliances for your room, look for Energy Star ratings.
  • Share appliances with your roommate (i.e.: no need for two refrigerators).
  • Donate used dorm furniture to the Amherst Survival Center. Contact the College’s recycling manager (413-542-8369) to coordinate.
  • When you leave your room for extended periods, including weekends and vacations, unplug everything, especially your refrigerator (and  don’t forget to eat all the perishables and prop the door open first). The Big Turn Off reduced consumption in dorms 60% last year because so many students unplugged during Interterm.
  • Recycle. Using recycled materials requires much less energy than using raw material to make paper, bottles and cans.