Lower Summer Demand Saves Energy, Reduces Utility Costs

On the hottest days of the year, the electrical grid can become overwhelmed with increased energy loads to cool and dehumidify buildings. When this happens the grid is forced to turn on additional, usually less efficient, power plants for extra electricity.

Every School has developed a “Demand Response Plan” that is implemented on peak demand days as part of Harvard’s overall energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy. This involves taking steps to cut energy use further than our normal conservation efforts.  

Building and facility managers play a crucial role in Demand Response, resetting schedules for major equipment and adjusting other building related mechanisms; however, your behavior to conserve energy is also a key component to success and in some older buildings, the only way to implement demand response.

  • Turn off all unnecessary electronic devices.
  • When gone for an hour or more, turn off computers, monitors, copiers, and printers whenever possible.
  • If you have a laptop, work from battery power.
  • Turn off all non-essential lights and use energy efficient task lighting in place of overhead lighting.
  • Raise the thermostat in your area by a few degrees, where applicable.
  • Close the window shades and blinds.
  • Use stairs instead of elevators if you are able.
  • Plan high-energy use meetings or events in the mornings.
  • Turn off laboratory equipment when not being used.

Why participate?

  • Energy savings help combat climate change by reducing the University’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Utility cost savings and lower demand charges on Harvard’s utility bill means more funds for research and other activities!
  • Contributing to the stability of the New England power grid reduces the likelihood and consequences of forced brown outs/black outs.