Heating and operating UBC’s buildings with fossil fuel-based natural gas represents 97% of the university's total Campus Operations emissions, which UBC plans to reduce by 85% by 2030.
While meeting this target would remove virtually all conventional fossil fuel use from campus operations, the university will remain one of the largest electricity consumers in the province, with a significant impact on energy consumption across BC.
Help us to meet UBC’s ambitious energy conservation and climate action goals by doing your part. Here are three ways to get started:
- Regulate your temperature with clothing, not by using space heaters and fans.
- Wash laundry in cold water and take shorter showers.
- Turn off lights, shut down equipment and unplug electronics when not in use.
Top energy saving TIps
Check out our full collection of tips for reducing your energy use at UBC. Working or learning remotely? No problem! Many of these tips can be used to reduce your home energy bill, too.
Keep Your Temperature in Check
Avoid using personal space heating and cooling devices. Space heaters and portable air conditioning units can be huge energy guzzlers and are not recommended, as the majority of UBC’s building electrical infrastructure are not designed to support the additional electrical load from space heaters and portable air conditioning units. If multiple space heaters and portable air conditioning units are used, this will cause circuit breaker to trip, triggering a response from UBC electricians to reset breakers accordingly. Instead:
- Layer up! Grab a sweater or blanket. Layering can help adjust your body temperature by putting on and removing items to maintain an even level of comfort while you work or study. In cold weather, stay cozy by wearing layers and warmer clothes.
- Check that windows are closed before leaving your building. Ensuring doors are not propped open and windows are closed and latched will help keep heated air in the room as intended.
- Check that vents in your area are free from obstructions. Make sure air can flow freely in your areas to ensure heat is evenly distributed in your space.
Taking these actions will help you preserve heat, stay comfortable and save energy! If your building is still too hot or cold, before plugging in a heater or fan, contact UBC Building Operations.
Save Energy in Labs
Green your lab: Lab buildings account for nearly half of the energy used on campus! Learn more about UBC's Green Labs Program, and check out our many helpful toolkits for reducing your lab's impact on energy use and other resources.
Shut your Fume Hood Sash: An open fume hood uses as much energy as 3.5 homes! Well, it’s not the fume hood itself, it’s the air being sucked through it. For health and safety reasons, labs use 100% outside air. It takes a lot of energy to heat and cool that air to a comfortable temperature before it is brought into the lab. Close your fume hood when it’s not being used – this keeps you safe and saves energy by reducing the amount of conditioned air sucked out of the building.
Be Water Wise (And Save Money!)
Take shorter showers: Be Water Wise and take shorter showers (5 minutes or less) to save energy and water. Did you know 13% of UBC’s water consumption is from showers? Another simple but powerful action: Turn off running water when you aren’t using it (e.g. while brushing your teeth).
Wash your clothes or dishes in cold: Use cold water to do laundry and the dishes: it requires 90 per cent less energy than washing in warm water, and it’s better for your clothes.
At home? Water heating can contribute to 15-20% of the heating bill. One way to ensure better savings is to use an energy efficient dishwasher, which can save up to $100/year.
Shut Down and Unplug
Turn off lights when not in use and at the end of the day. Use natural lighting whenever possible. For shared common spaces (i.e. meeting rooms, communal office areas), determine who is responsible for turning off lights when not in use.
Shut down equipment: Turn off computers, monitors, peripherals and other shared electronic equipment (i.e. printers, copiers, coffee makers and other kitchen appliances, etc.) at the end of the day and when not in use.
Use a power strip to make it easy and quick to turn off equipment and devices all at once. Place power bars at desk height on workstations and kitchen counters to make it even easier.
Reduce phantom power: Did you know equipment plugged in still uses power even when not in use? Unplug idle electronics to reduce phantom power.
Activate efficiency settings: Ask your colleagues to activate power management settings on shared and personal computers. Help them change the settings if they’re not sure how to do it themselves, or ask your IT contact.
Choose Energy Efficient Products
Buy energy efficient products: Make sure new computers, appliances and electronics are energy efficient and ENERGY STAR rated. Use the UBC Sustainable Purchasing Guide to help you and your department purchase more energy efficient appliances and electronic equipment.
Choose the right light: LED bulbs use 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last about 25 times longer. If you live or work in a space where you aren't responsible for changing the light bulbs, bring it to the attention of the person who is.
Power Down During Seasonal Breaks
Power down on seasonal breaks: Turn off lights, close blinds and power down equipment and appliances prior to leaving on seasonal breaks, vacations and holidays. View our Seasonal Shutdown guide.
- Measure your energy use: Kill-a-Watt meters measure the amount of energy being used by electrical devices by simply being plugged in. Sign one out for free at the UBC Library to check your devices.
- Campus energy visualization map: Check out how much energy your building uses by viewing the interactive campus energy visualization map.