How to practice energy conservation across campus

 We are continuously making efforts to reduce the amount of energy the South Dakota State University campus consumes. A large portion of energy conservation is dependent on the habits of you, the end users. There are many ways that we can be more conscientious and conservative in our energy consumption in everyday life and across campus.

Turn off lights

When leaving any room, be sure that the lights are turned off, especially overnight, on the weekend and during breaks.  If natural light is sufficient and available, be sure to use it instead of other light sources; it’s free and healthy!

Turn off electronics

Lots of energy is expended to power electronics, even when they aren’t being used. Be sure to have ‘power saving’ options enabled on computers, printers, window AC units, washers, dryers and any other electronic pieces of equipment.  Even in sleep mode, computers still use electricity, so power them off when leaving for the night and over the weekend. Having office and personal electronics plugged into a power strip with an on/off switch is an easy way to turn off multiple electronics at once.

Thermostats and temperature

If you have the ability, raise and lower thermostats during unoccupied times. Usually, occupants have a range of 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 76 degrees Fahrenheit to choose from. It takes less energy to warm to cool a space back to the desired temperature than it does to maintain it at that temperature all the time. In our Building Automation System (BAS), some areas have schedules set so that overnight and on the weekends this will be done automatically. Also, make sure that the thermostat is set to the actual desired temperature. Setting the temperature higher or lower than the desired temperature does not change the temperature in the room any faster. Make sure the doors and windows are closed in conditioned spaces so that the warm to cool air doesn’t escape those rooms. Another easy step you can take is to dress for the season. Wear lightweight clothing in the summer and warmer clothing in the winter.

Water use

Water can easily be conserved by turning faucets off when brushing teeth or doing other hygiene related activities as well as taking shorter and cooler showers.


If possible, walk or ride a bike instead of driving a vehicle, or carpool if driving is necessary. Take the stairs instead of using elevators. Be conscious of your habits and kindly encourage others to be more aware of their’s.

As you can see, most of these steps to conserve energy are simple, sensible and can be applied in your homes as well. Collectively, as the people who work, study and live at SDSU, it is all of our responsibility to take an initiative and make changes in our habits to help reduce the energy consumption on campus. 

As the year moves on, I will continue to provide reminders and advice of how we can be more efficient and conservative with campus energy consumption. Our university is committed to creating a sustainable environment, and I will continue to work toward that goal along with other members of the SDSU Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Committee (ESSC).

Luke Ganschow is an energy conservation engineer at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]