Curtailment saves energy, costs

Heating and ventilation will again be curtailed on the Berkeley campus during the holidays, from Saturday, Dec. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 1. Faculty and staff are encouraged to plan to be away from campus.

Buildings scheduled for energy curtailment are located on Physical Plant-Campus Services’ (PP-CS) website. Only heat and ventilation will be curtailed; normal electric service will be maintained at all times.

“We all have a role in saving energy during curtailment,” says Lisa McNeilly, campus director of sustainability. Last year, the curtailment saved 820,000 kilowatts of electricity, which is equivalent to the electric power used in 120 homes in California for one year. The campus also used 1,900 kilopounds (1 Klb equals 1,000 pounds) less of steam during last year’s curtailment. Total energy-cost savings to the campus: $83,000, according to McNeilly.

Employees getting ready for the break are asked to:

— Turn off hand-operated radiator valves in work areas.

— Turn off lights, including those in public areas, since lighting can account for up to half of a building’s total energy use.

— Turn off all monitors, printers, copying machines, typewriters, coffee pots and other appliances. Check with their support unit before turning off  computers.

— Make sure all windows are closed tightly.

— For those who need to be on campus during the curtailment, the use of electric space heaters is strongly discouraged. 

Technical questions regarding the curtailment should be directed to Gilbert Escobar in Physical Plant-Campus Services at 643-8853 or

Human Resources has also posted a webpage describing closure options available to employees, which including using vacation or taking unpaid leave.