11 Easy Ways to Save Energy in Your Dorm

 Living in a dorm on campus can be one of the most memorable living experiences of a college student’s life. Dormitories provide all the essentials one might find themselves needing while living on campus and an awesome environment for social expansions. Often times we forget that we have the power to make a difference within those dorms. To what am I referring? Energy! Many students living on campus forget that they still have an individual power to make their dorm room a green living space. While it might not feel like you have much control over the energy in your dorm room, there are several small things one can do to ensure that they’re keeping their living space a sustainable one.

1. Turning off the lights!

 Simple enough, right? But it’s often the simple actions such as turning off a light switch that seem to escape a student’s mind as they leave their dorm room. Turning off lights while not in the room can save a great amount of energy, especially when compiled over a school year length.



2. Layer Up

You--or your roomie--might be the type of roommate who likes to keep it as warm as a sauna in the winter. Whether it’s you or your roommate with these preferences, ditching the heaters and layering the sweaters during the winter can save large amounts of energy. Now, I’m not saying you let your dorm become an icebox, but adding a few layers to lose a few degrees isn’t going to hurt you.



3. Strip it Down 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, during the warmer months keeping the AC use to a minimum will greatly decrease the energy used to cool your dorm. A common myth is that it saves energy and money to leave your AC on while away during the day, as it takes more energy to turn it back on. This is 100% not true. Cooling an uninhabited dorm is absolutely pointless and wastes copious amounts of energy. It’s okay to keep it at a lower temperature while being in your dorm, there’s no point in melting, but turning it off or keeping it at an average temperature will increase the efficiency of your dorm room and air conditioner.



4. Unplug the Power Strip.

While switching a power strip into the off position saves some energy, unplugging the strip completely cuts off all standby power coming from the outlet and saving much more energy. This is especially relevant during the longer breaks throughout the school year when you’re not living in your dorm. Don’t just turn them off, unplug them too!


5. Unplug Large Appliances

 It’s important to remember to unplug any and all appliances such as microwaves and mini fridges during the break. Larger appliances such as these use much larger amounts of energy, so it’s pointless to leave them plugged in when not in use. Don't forget to clean out your mini-fridge so you don't return to melted Ben & Jerry's!



6. Switch out Light Bulbs

 Let’s face it: the lighting situation in the dorms is not ideal. If you’re anything like me you probably brought a lamp or two of your own to light the space. Make sure these lamps are using energy efficient bulbs such as LEDs (light emitting diode) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights).



7. Submit Maintenance Requests

If something isn’t functioning properly in your dorm room, don’t ignore it, submit a maintenance request! Maintenance requests can aid in efficiency as they can fix anything from a broken light bulb to a leaking faucet.



8. Recycle!

Every student who lives in the dorm room is provided with a recycling can as well as a garbage can. Don’t ignore the blue bin; recycle old papers, cans, plastic or anything else you might have that is recyclable in your dorm room. Every item you recycle can make a difference. Remember, it’s the little things that count.



9. Collect Compost

Very few students know that the PHC and Union have developed a composting program. For the extra efficiency-ambitious student, you can collect your own compost and bring it to the Edible Gardens or the Pioneer Gardens located on campus!


10. Shorter Showers

This one is a hard one for most everyone, especially in the winter. After a long day skiing in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, the longing to come home to a long hot shower is sometimes undeniable. But, showers waste a lot of water every year. By keeping your showers shorter, and perhaps a little less steamy, you can reduce water usage by a considerable amount. Forget the soaking; lather up, rinse down, and get out.


11. Remember You Hold the Power!

No matter how great or how small the effort, any effort to conserve energy makes a difference. Just because you are living in the dorms doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to make a difference. By applying these easy tactics listed above, your dorm can be an efficient and greener space!



Conserving energy is more important today than it has ever been before. Whether you’re in the dorms or your own place, do your part and make a difference! The environment thanks you!