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Allegheny annually reduces energy consumption through lighting and boiler retrofits, the addition of insulation, and purchasing more energy efficient computers and appliances. We invest in wind-generated electricity for 100% of our consumption and have three geothermal heating and cooling systems and two solar installations on campus. While operational measures have great impact, occupants of our buildings have a significant role to play in limiting energy consumption, reducing utility costs and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Challenge

  • The 7th Annual Energy Challenge starts 10.06.2016 with a Fall Break Shutdown! Help us raise some cash for another student-selected sustainability feature – like the Doane/Steffee solar panels and the filtered water refill stations – by shutting down and unplugging all electronics in your dorm/house/office while you’re away on Fall Break. It takes just a minute to go through the checklist to kickstart the Energy Challenge. Be Gator Green!


  • Shut down your computer every night (including peripherals like your monitor, printer, speaker, etc.) to optimize your computer’s performance and reduce electricity consumption, as recommended by Allegheny’s Informational Technology Services (ITS).
  • Turn off your power strip when you are out of the office for vacation or business travel so your computer will not automatically power up (after a nightly update)  and remain on needlessly while you’re away.
  • Screen savers do not save any energy so it’s more efficient to turn off the monitor after extended inactivity. Computers configured with Windows 7 are set to have the screen saver come on after 15 minutes of inactivity but the monitor will turn off after 5 additional minutes of inactivity in order to optimize efficiency. These settings save energy and unnecessary wear and tear on the monitor. The monitor will turn on quickly when you move the mouse or touch the keyboard.
  • Laptops should always be turned off when not in use for extended periods of time to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the components. It is also a good idea to unplug your charger from the wall when not in use since chargers continue to draw energy even when unused. Your phone or tablet charger should be unplugged when not in use, too.


  • Turn off the lights every time you leave a room even if it’s a common space or classroom. Small changes to habits can add up to a lot of saved energy and money. Consider spending one minute walking through your building at lunchtime or before you leave for the day to turn off all unused lights. Remind others to do the same.
  • Use natural light or energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs whenever possible.
    • Natural lighting is best for our eyes and our moods, so open the shades and work without the artificial lights whenever possible.
    • Since Meadville can be quite gray, we sometimes need to turn on lights – especially during winter. Physical Plant has installed energy efficient fixtures across most of campus, however you can also request a CFL bulb for your desktop lamp.  Using a single bulb at your desk rather than the overhead lighting is sufficient for much desk work and saves a significant amount of money.
    • Energy efficient light bulbs use 75% less energy and last ten times longer than conventional bulbs.

Other Electronics

  • Allegheny has committed to purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances whenever they are available. ENERGY STAR products are independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality. Since departments are often responsible for purchasing appliances (like refrigerators), it’s important that you find appropriate options or contact the Sustainability Coordinator for assistance.
  • Turn off all electrical equipment at the end of every work day and before leaving for long breaks, too (copiers, printers, calculators, typewriters, portable fans, portable heaters, coffee pots, radios, lamps and other appliances).

Heat and Air-conditioning

  • Allegheny is committed to financial and environmental sustainability and therefore follows an Energy & Comfort Policy designed to balance comfort, cost and sustainability. The policy defines a comfort range for both occupied and non-occupied hours, suggests personal comfort and energy efficiency techniques, and details how Physical Plant will address temperature related complaints or requests for service.
  • Dress for the season – make sure you’re wearing warm pants, socks and a sweater in the winter. Dress lightly, and especially forgo suit coats in the summer.
  •  If you have the ability to control a radiator or other heating element within your office, turn the heat back to a 1 or 1.5 setting when you leave for the day to avoid heating an unoccupied space overnight. You can turn it up to comfort when you return in the morning.
  • Opening windows and doors during cooling and heating season is a huge waste of energy. Turn down air-conditioners, radiators or other heating sources or contact Physical Plant before opening windows and doors to control temperature.
  • Window air-conditioning units consume large amounts of energy. Use fans as an economical alternative to air conditioning in spaces that need more ventilation for comfort.
  • For safety reasons, personal space heating devices are not permitted on campus.

Energy Management

  • Allegheny participates in a demand response program to reduce our electricity use below normal consumption patterns when the grid is overloaded and/or prices spike, such as on hot summer days. Participating in a demand response program not only provides a valuable level of reliability insurance to the utility, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and earns financial incentives for Allegheny College, which totaled over $87,000 last year.  Each year we participate in a mandatory scheduled test which helps us demonstrate how much energy use we can shed when needed. Watch for email notice of the annual test and any other events so you can help contribute to our success and savings.
  • The Annual Fall Energy Challenge serves as a way for campus members to become aware of their consumption habits and to make behavioral changes that result in significant savings in electricity costs. For the past five years, we’ve saved over $7000 annually and used the savings to invest in a solar array on Doane/Steffee and filtered water refill stations around campus. Your efforts during and continuing after the Challenge have a real impact.