Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, July 21, 2011

University asks for energy-saving measures during excessive heat

U-M employees are being asked to conserve electricity by shutting off unneeded lights and closing office doors as the campus experiences peak demand for electricity during this week’s heat wave.

The high temperature and humidity combination experienced this week and forecast for the coming days has severely stressed many of the cooling systems on campus. But as of Thursday afternoon, the air-cooling systems on campus and at the U-M Health System were all functioning — with one exception.

The Shapiro Library Building was closed Wednesday night and Thursday because of what library officials said was an electrical breakdown that affected the building’s air conditioning. The adjacent Hatcher Graduate Library remains open. Shapiro was scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. Friday.

The temperature in Ann Arbor at 5 p.m. Thursday was 96 degrees with 55 percent relative humidity. Wednesday’s high was 96 and the forecast high for Friday is 88 degrees.

U-M Plant Operations is making a concerted effort to minimize disruptions to the cooling systems during this period and staff is responding quickly to reports of cooling problems.

At the U-M Health System, the hot-and-humid weather is putting great demand on electrical and air-cooling systems, although no systems have failed and all facilities remain open.

There are things all employees can do to help ease the strain on the air-cooling and electrical systems. The suggestions include:

•  Raise the temperature on the thermostats in your area a few degrees, but not to more than 75 degrees.

•  Dress appropriately in lighter clothing.

•  Turn off lights and any unneeded office equipment, including computer monitors, printers, office lighting and coffee pots.

•  Do all of your printing and copying in the morning, then shut off these devices at lunch time.

•  Close windows and doors of unoccupied rooms.

•  Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.