Chancellor Cicerone's Letter to the UCI Campus on Energy Conservation

 California Energy Data

Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone

Letter to the UCI Campus on Energy Conservation
May 4, 2001

Dear Colleagues: I am very proud of our campuswide commitment to energy conservation and the work that Facilities Management has done to reduce peak electric loads. You have responded to our appeals to the campus to cut load usage, and your reductions have resulted in substantial savings, often within a matter of hours. As we approach a summer when the State's electric power imbalance is projected to be worse than we have experienced so far with rolling blackouts extending into Southern California on a recurrent basis, I am appealing to the campus community to redouble its efforts. We cannot administer energy cutbacks centrally; they depend on widespread, voluntary cooperation.

This summer, please:

* Become an advocate of energy conservation, as well as a participant in this effort. Pinpoint wasteful practices in a way that can improve UCI's energy performance.

* Set your thermostat at 75 degrees. This is a few degrees warmer than requested in past summers, and a more comfortable "dress standard" will be appropriate for university business.
(Editor's Note:  The left dial on your office thermostat regulates when heat comes on, and should be set lower than 68 degrees by moving the small gear on the left bottom.  The right dial sets when cooling comes on, and should be set at 75 degrees by moving the small gear on the right bottom.)

* If you use a fume hood, keep the sash closed when it is not in use. Fume hoods exhaust hundreds of cubic feet of conditioned air per minute when open.

* Using early a.m. heat in the summer is very wasteful, as building systems have to remove this heat within a few hours. Building systems will provide no morning heating, so that a thermostat setting of 75 degrees does not introduce a.m. heat inadvertently. On chilly mornings, please wear a coat or sweater rather than expect heating.

Do not use electric space heaters - they are excessive energy consumers and they pose serious fire risks (especially under desks near wastepaper containers). Facilities Management will introduce a plan next fall to exchange space heaters for low-wattage, under-desk radiant panels.

* Reduce ceiling illumination and use task lighting or daylight whenever possible (however, fluorescent lighting is often preferable to direct sunlight).

* Keep window coverings closed when direct sun is on windows and when leaving for the day/weekend.

* For workplace comfort, use a desktop fan (which typically consumes only 25 watts) rather than a reduced thermostat setting.

* Replace office equipment with DOE-certified "Energy Star" machines, including office refrigerators, when you can.

At home, you can also conserve energy by:

* Using appliances at night or during early morning hours (before 6 a.m.).

* Turning off air conditioning when you are at work.

* Converting tungsten-filament lamps to fluorescents.

* Turning off unused lighting.

* Keeping your thermostat at 75 degrees.

* Installing fans rather than using air-conditioning.

For more information on California's energy crisis, or ideas on how to save energy both at home and at work, go to, a web site developed by Professor Dennis Silverman.

Or, contact Mr. George Reyes, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Facilities Management, by phone at 824-5202 or by e-mail at

Our concerns about the dependence of a research university on a stable power infrastructure extend well beyond this summer. In the longer term, we are planning investments that will move the campus toward more electric generation independence. Again, I want to express my appreciation for the understanding and cooperation we have received in coping with this pervasive problem.


Ralph J. Cicerone Chancellor