ECU officials are encouraging faculty and staff to unplug unnecessary electrical devices to save money during the holiday shutdown, Dec. 24 through Jan. 2. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU employees urged to join 'green' shutdown

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Holiday lights may illuminate Greenville this month but East Carolina University plans to go dark during a scheduled 10-day shutdown beginning Saturday, Dec. 24 and ending Tuesday, Jan. 3.

This is the first year ECU is closing operations entirely between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The change is expected to save the university money and enhance efforts toward being an eco-conscious organization.

“Extended holiday shutdowns have become a common practice at many universities with proven cost-savings results,” Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Rick Niswander announced via email. “These shutdowns not only allow faculty and staff to have additional time with family and friends, but also they reduce campus energy usage.”

Temperature settings will be lowered in buildings across campus during that period, saving on natural gas and electricity costs.

Employees are also asked to participate in making the holiday “greener.” Before leaving work for the break, individuals should:
  • Unplug all non-essential electronics including coffee pots, chargers, microwaves, printers, copiers, computers, radios, etc.
  • Turn off copiers, computers, lights and anything else you see.
  • Shut down non-essential lab equipment, close fume hoods, etc.
  • Close all exterior doors and windows.
Clinics on the Health Science Campus will reopen Dec. 28-30 to accommodate patient needs before closing on Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday. Exceptions and modifications to the shutdown will be allowed for laboratories and clinics demanding specific environments.

Regular campus operations resume Tuesday, Jan. 3.

“It gives us a break and a break on utilities as well,” said University Energy Manager Brian Pipkin.

Pipkin said N.C. State University has reported cost savings of up to $900,000 since their program started in 2004. If deemed successful at ECU, he said the university is likely to repeat the practice in years to come.

For more information and a list of ECU buildings included in the shutdown, visit

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