Sustainability in Residence Halls Part 1

Students at the University of Chicago are back for the Autumn Quarter. For those living in a residence hall, or even off-campus, energy-efficiency can still be a priority even as we enter the heating season. Student activities and choices have a high degree of control over electricity and water use in Residence Halls. Personal decisions, such as how long we shower and whether we leave lights, stereos, and computers running, can affect electricity and water consumption. Residence halls are, therefore, an obvious opportunity for energy conservation. The University of Chicago would like to offer the below tips to keep energy-efficiency in mind while studying hard this quarter.


Appliances with these labels meet a specific set of energy-efficiency standards that can save hundreds of dollars per year on electricity. Look for the blue ENERGY STAR® label, which signals products among the most efficient in their category. These products are not necessarily more expensive to buy, and by using less energy, they are cheaper in the long run. To find an item for yourself, be sure to visit the ENERGY STAR’s® list of Energy Efficient Products.

Visit our website and social media pages for exciting new updates regarding the upcoming ENERGY STAR® Treasure Hunt, and winter quarter Battle of the Buildings Energy Challenge! Email to learn more. 

SWITCHING to Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

The most considerable benefit to LED light bulbs over CFL and incandescent light bulbs are longevity and impact on the environment. LED light bulbs last at least 15 times longer than traditional light bulbs and use up to 90% less energy. They’ve also plummeted in price; most LED light bulbs now cost less than $10. Visit ENERGY STAR® for lighting recommendations.

Use power strips where applicable. Some strips have timers, occupancy sensors, and remote switches. Once a device such as a computer is turned off, a master-controlled power-strip can automatically turn off the outlets used by accessories such as speakers and monitors. Find out more and learn how to select the right power strip for you at If you can’t plug lights into your power strip, remember to flip the switch when walking out the door.

If you need to recycle used light-bulbs safely, please contact Facilities Services at 773-834-1414 or submit a Service Request here. For questions, email

Encouraging sustainable behavior with these tips will result in significant efficiency gains that are little to no cost. Regardless of residence, these habits will help you save on utility costs while simultaneously improving your environmental footprint. Encourage others in your House community to conserve where possible, and stay tuned for Part 2 of our “Sustainability in Residence Halls” tips guide next week. Visit our website and social media pages in the meantime for exciting new updates and features! 

How Do I?

UChicagoSocial: Facilities Services