Recycling & Sustainability

The Department of Housing and Residence Education is committed to making recycling and sustainability a priority on campus. The department has sponsored many programs that support water conservation; energy conservation; recycling paper, glass, cans, aluminum, plastics, and more; and educating on the proper disposal of CFL Bulbs and Sharps and Pharmaceutical Waste.

Here are a couple of our proudest recycling and sustainability accomplishments:

Computers Off!

Did you know that electronics still consume power when plugged in, even when turned off? Electronics such as TV sets, gaming consoles, mobile phone power adapters, and the like consume energy whenever they are plugged in. These devices use power to stay in a semi-activated state (often called “sleep mode”) so that they can quickly reactivate, connect to the Internet to perform updates in the background, or to allow for the use of remote controls to turn the device back on. You may notice a bright LED glowing when a device is plugged in – this LED is also consuming a small amount of power!

The electricity being used is known as standby power. Another term sometimes used is vampire power because these devices are absorbing energy and costing money silently. You can reduce energy consumption in your room or apartment by either:

  • Unplugging the device when not in use. While this is not convenient, it ensures that the device is not using up any energy.
  • Purchasing a “green” power strip that powers off devices when a master device is turned off (i.e. gaming consoles attached to a television are automatically switched off when the TV is turned off).

Energy consumed by standby power can sometimes be up to 10% of household electricity usage. For example, on a utility bill of $250, $25 would be going towards standby power. Over the course of a year, you could save up to $300 by minimizing the use of standby power. Keeping electricity usage low in the residence halls also helps us in providing lower rent costs for our residents. For those living in apartments, you can actually save money by conserving energy.

Check the settings of devices and enable low-power settings wherever possible. Computers can be configured to go into a low-power sleep mode and to power down when not in use. Visit these links to learn more about power options on computers:

Windows 8: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/power-plans-faq

Windows 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/power-management

Mac OS X: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2412

Remember, when you’re not using a device, turn it off and unplug it! Even the smallest charging cable can be siphoning away energy.