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As part of a planned utilities setback, members of the East Carolina University community are encouraged to unplug non-essential electrical items in their work areas or residence halls when they leave for the extended holiday shutdown Dec. 22 through Jan. 2. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU goes green for second year in a row

Dec. 13, 2012

By Alexa DeCarr
ECU News Services

East Carolina University will go green again this winter break in a utilities setback plan that saved the university more than $50,000 last year.

The university will shut down entirely beginning Dec. 22 as part of a holiday plan to allow employees a longer break and help reduce utility expenditures and energy use.

According to University Energy Engineer and Sustainability Committee Chairman Brian Pipkin, the university will use an automatic control system to lower the temperature control points down to around 60 degrees in major campus buildings. All lights and electric hot water heaters will be shut off as well.

“This year, the shutdown will last 12 days and we hope to capture even more buildings,” Pipkin said. “We want [the setback plan] to be as advantageous as possible.”

The shutdown will end on Jan. 2, when faculty and staff return to work. Classrooms that can be controlled will stay in set back mode longer.

Employees who have individual spaces and offices are asked to participate in the shutdown as well. Pipkin said individuals should turn off and unplug all non-essential electronics and close all exterior doors and windows.

Students who live in off campus apartments or houses can also participate in the event and save on utilities while they are away by setting back thermostats and turning off water heaters.

“Anything with a remote can be turned off and unplugged,” Pipkin said. “Even when electronics are turned off, they use power when plugged in.”

For more information on the program, visit

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