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In order for our campus to reach its sustainability goals, we must take responsibility for how our energy is generated and how we utilize it.

Clean Energy on Campus

In April 2018 a wind turbine was installed at the Facilities Services Complex. The turbine will soon have a live-time online energy dashboard.

Solar panels placed around campus charge electric vehicle stations, so cars can run on sunshine. These produce 150,000 kWh/yr.

Geothermal placed at sorority village helps reduce energy consumption and provides the majority of heating and cooling for the village.

Energy consumption is the largest contributor to our greenhouse gas profile, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the campus carbon footprint. In addition, it remains one of the most controllable and, at the same time, most fleeting contributors as we work to build a more energy-efficient campus, all the while working to educate, inspire, and incentivize behavior change to reduce consumption.” —Preston Jacobsen, Energy Manager


Time of Use and Peak Hours

Energy Conservation Policy

Enacted in 2008, this policy identifies energy conservation as a significant issue for UT and outlines steps to manage and reduce campus energy consumption.

The policy establishes that during normal occupied hours, the target indoor air temperatures in campus buildings will be 68 degrees Fahrenheit for heating and 76 degrees Fahrenheit for cooling.

In addition, the policy sets guidelines for energy-efficient purchasing, computing, lighting, and water use by UT faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

It is always important to try to conserve energy, but during certain times of the year, there are particular hours in the day in which it is important to be extra mindful of energy usage.

Faculty, staff, students, and visitors can follow these tips to save resources and lower energy costs:

  • Schedule printing, copying, and other energy-intensive office work for after 11:00 a.m. in the winter and before 2:00 p.m. in the summer.
  • Cook and reheat food with microwaves instead of conventional ovens
  • Keep outside doors and windows closed and dress warmly to conserve heating
  • Turn off the lights when you’re the last to leave a room, and take advantage of natural light
  • When possible, take the stairs and limit your use of elevators
  • Power down unused computers and other electronic appliances, set computers to sleep mode when not in use for ten minutes or more.

Peak times for energy use are determined by the Tennessee Valley Authority and vary by season. Peak energy use billing, which became mandatory for TVA’s largest customers in 2011, provides the campus with an opportunity to save on energy costs by adjusting study, work, and play habits.


Thermostat set to 68 degrees

During the winter months, peak energy hours are from 5am-11am, and run Mondays through Fridays between December 1st to March 31st.


Thermostat set to 76 degrees

During the summer, peak energy hours are from 2pm- 8:30pm therefore it is best to plan high energy activities for the morning.

Energy Conservation

During fiscal year 2017, UT consumed (generated and purchased) 235,148,607 kWh. Follow the six tips below to help us be more mindful of energy usage, reduce our GHGs, and Make Orange Green!

Diagram of energy saving locations.


  1. Turn off your computer when you are not using it for long periods of time, or put it on sleep mode for shorter periods when it is not in use.
  2. Keep blinds closed during the summer for a cooler room.
  3. Open the blinds during the winter months for natural light and to have the sun help heat up your room.
  4. Turn the lights off when you leave the room
  5. Use a power strip for all appliances and turn it off when not in use
  6. Add an extra layer before you turn the heat up

Green Revolving Fund

This program was enacted in the fall of 2013, and through the years, the project fund has grown from $100,000 to $450,000 as of FY 18 due to its proven successes. These funds are used for retrofitting and energy-saving projects in campus buildings. The cost savings from each project over a five-year period is placed back into the Revolving Fund to continue funding additional projects.

Fund highlights

  • Completed 9 projects last FY, yearly savings of $92,800
  • Replaced 6,500 lights with LEDs for a yearly savings at the Conference Center of over $72,000
  • 40 percent completed Hodges Library lighting upgrade, $229,000 in lighting cost savings