Harvard responds to heat wave by cutting energy use

2 min read

Massachusetts was hit with a heat wave in late June and the Harvard community responded by taking action to reduce energy use. Despite the high temperatures on Thursday June 21, Harvard saw a campus-wide reduction in electricity demand of approximately 10% while continuing to support our research and teaching mission. Schools and departments cut energy use by turning off unnecessary lights, closing window blinds, shutting off computer monitors and scaling back the air conditioning.

During extremely hot summer days – called “peak demand” days – the Harvard Energy & Facilities sends notices to Schools and departments to reduce energy. This call to action is beneficial for a number of reasons.  First, it serves as a good reminder about the importance of trimming energy use on a daily basis as part of Harvard’s goal to reduce the University’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Second, it’s a great way to save money.  Each year, a portion the University’s electricity rates are based on peak usage which usually occurs on the hottest day of the year.  When the entire University pitches-in simultaneously on a day such as Thursday June 21, when the temperature neared 100°, Harvard is able to realize significant cost savings.

Thank you again and depending on the weather over the next few months, you may once again be called on to help reduce the University’s peak energy use and environmental footprint.