UMBC logo


Energy Conservation

The most overlooked and under appreciated green idea is conservation. The greenest kilowatt is not from wind or solar; the greenest kilowatt is the electricity not needed due to conservation. Conservation is the number one way to save energy and reduce carbon footprint. Conservation initiatives can range from complex upgrades of electrical/mechanical equipment to simple awareness/behavioral changes.

Conservation is not glamorous, and most conservation efforts are invisible. Few ever see the high-efficiency chillers, boilers, pumps, and HVAC systems that provide the air conditioning and heating for the campus. This equipment is safely out-of-site in mechanical rooms, underground, on rooftops, or in ceilings. Even in the rare circumstance when such equipment is prominently visible, like the 60-foot tall tank between the Central Plant and Walker Avenue Garage, few know what it is. Want to learn more, click here. 

Some of the simplest and most cost-effective conservation is accomplished through energy awareness, efficient operations, and conscientious behavior. To conserve energy, save money, and reduce UMBC's carbon footprint, Facilities Management has implemented the following campus standards and energy-conservation guidelines.  Everybody plays a role. Please do your part; know and help implement the following.

Temperature Control

  • Temperature set points during occupied periods will be 70o F in the heating season and 76o F in the cooling season.  These settings maintain a balance between occupant comfort and energy conservation, and they are consistent with federal and state guidelines of 68o F in winter and 78o F in summer.
  • Set points will be set by Facilities Management for centrally controlled systems.  Occupants who control their own thermostats are required to adhere to these settings.
  • It is normal for actual space temperature to fluctuate +/- 2o F from set point.  To report a room or area that is too hot or too cold, notify Work Control (410-455-2550).
  • During unoccupied periods (typically nights, weekends, and holidays), air conditioning equipment and fans will be shut off wherever appropriate. 
  • Unoccupied space temperatures will be allowed to float down to 60o F in the heating season and up to 85o F in the cooling season.
  • Spaces with critical temperature requirements (such as research labs), can request an exception to the campus standards by contacting UMBC’s Energy Manager, Shawn Blum (
  • For warehouse and storage areas with heaters but no air conditioning, the heater’s thermostats will be set no higher than 55o F.
  • Windows and exterior doors should remain closed to prevent loss of conditioned air.  It is impossible to maintain controlled conditions if windows are open in offices or classrooms.
  • Heat generating equipment (such as copiers or PCs) and large furniture (such as bookshelves or cabinets) should not be placed in front of thermostats as this may cause false temperature readings, resulting in over-cooling or under-heating.
  • The only space heaters allowed on campus are those provided by Facilities Management’s HVAC Shop.  The HVAC Shop may provide space heaters as temporary relief while the problem causing an area to be too cold is fixed. 
  • Domestic hot water temperatures and hot water heaters will be set at 115o F.


  • Turn off lights when exiting rooms. 
  • Turn off lights whenever daylight provides sufficient lighting.
  • On hot, sunny days, partially close the shades or blinds to reduce the solar heat gain in the room.
  • Use task lighting, increasing the light only on the area where you are working.
  • Except for reasonable display lightly (such as in retail areas), purely decorative lighting in not permitted, inside or outside.


Other Energy Use

  • When purchasing computers, monitors, electronic equipment, electrical appliances, etc., look for products with the Energy Star label.  Make economic decisions based upon the life-cycle cost of operation, rather than just the initial price, to choose the most energy-efficient products when possible.
  • Set your computer power management so that your computer hibernates and your monitor turns off when unattended for more than 15 minutes.  If you need assistance with this, Contact your local IT support or DoIT.
  • Enable power management features on copiers and office equipment so that they automatically power down when not in use, particularly on nights and weekends.

Occupant Responsibilities - Summary

  • Familiarize yourself with and abide by the Temperature Control standards.  Help stay comfortable by dressing for the weather conditions.
  • To report a room that is too hot or too cold, or to report observations of excessive energy usage, notify Work Control (410-455-2550).
  • The easiest way to save energy is not to use it or to use less of it.  Turn off lights when exiting rooms.  Utilize power management settings to automatically power down computers, monitors, copiers, etc. when not in use.