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Before You Leave Flip the Switch NIH Holiday Energy Savings Tips

​​The holiday season is upon us, and in addition to the celebrations and food this is a great time to save energy. Many of us will be enjoying some additional time off in the next few weeks. Before rushing out the door, go one step further than the routine nightly computer shutdown and reduce additional electricity by shutting off power strips, printers and even some lab equipment. 

Check out the tips below from the December Issue of the NIH Green Zone Newsletter ( for more ideas and further details on how to save energy this holiday season.

  • Shut Down Electronics – Be sure to shut down any equipment in your office or lab that will not be needed while you are away. This may include items like computers, monitors, printers, etc. You could also consider turning off laboratory equipment like autoclaves or incubators if they will not be needed.
  • Turn Off Power Strips – Even when shut down, many electronics still consume electricity. You can avoid this by making sure equipment like computers and monitors are unplugged from the power outlet. To make things easier, you could plug these items into a power strip and simply turn off the strip before you leave.
  • Turn Off Lights (Holiday Lights Too!) – One of the easiest things to forget is turning the lights off before we leave. Some workplaces at the NIH have occupancy sensors that make this unnecessary, otherwise we should always remember to check the lights before leaving, especially before a long break. This applies to the decorative lights many of us hang in our offices. If you want to leave the lights on so others can enjoy them, please consider using a timer and LED lights to reduce energy consumption.
  • Close Curtains and Blinds – Exposed windows can leak a lot of heat from a building. By covering windows with curtains or closing the blinds, this heat loss can be minimized.
  • Check the Break Room Too – There may be appliances in the break room that can be unplugged, such as a coffee maker. There are also appliances like refrigerators and freezers that can potentially be turned down if many employees will be away at the same time. It's also a good time to clean out the refrigerator and consolidate the remaining items to improve efficiency.

These holiday energy savings tips were brought to you by the Office of Research Facilities (ORF)/Office of Research Services (ORS) Green Team. Many of these suggestions can be utilized any time of year when you expect to have an extended absence from your office or lab. If you have any questions about these recommendations, please contact the ORF/ORS Green Team at