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Reduce Electricity Use on Peak-Demand Days

Since the beginning of our Turn It Off program, Brandeis has reduced our peak electricity demand by an average of nearly 20%.

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Above: The Turn It Off program greatly reduced Brandeis' annual peak electricity load.

What is Turn It Off?

Turn It Off is our annual program to reduce campus electricity usage during the region's peak electricity-using times of the year, according to Independent System Operator New England (ISO-NE), the region's electrical grid operator.

On the days that are predicted to be the summer’s hottest and most humid — we anticipate there will be two to six of these days each year — we will ask you to Turn It Off. Our goal is for Brandeis to have Turned It Off at the same time that ends up being ISO-NE's peak for the year. 

Please note that on Turn it Off days, no air conditioning is actually turned off. Every building retains air conditioning, albeit at slightly warmer temperatures.

List of buildings impacted by Turn It Off temperature changes


Why is it important?

Reducing electricity use during peak times results in significant financial savings. Since the university’s year-round electricity rates are partially based on our demand during summer’s hottest days, the success of our campaigns will result in significant savings in our electric bill.

The Turn It Off campaign also demonstrates that individual conservation actions do add up to meaningful results​​. ​​

How do we know when a Turn It Off day will be?

Please look for an email alert and signage in your building that announces a Turn It Off day. This is your signal to take steps that are good for the earth and good for Brandeis.

It is difficult to predict with certainty when the annual system peak will occur.  We know that it will be during the summer when commercial air conditioning is operating at its maximum. This means that the peak will most likely occur on one of the hottest, most humid days of the year, during the mid-to-late afternoon hours. We also know that as more and more people install solar generation on their homes and businesses, peak loads occur later and later on those days.

The annual peak load is only known after-the-fact when ISO-NE reviews all of its loads and makes adjustments in actual loads that are called for under its rules.

What can I do to help?

On the days that are predicted to be the summer’s hottest, we will ask you to Turn It Off:

  • Turn off unnecessary lights in offices, classrooms, laboratories and hallways.
  • Shut windows and exterior doors.
  • Pull down shades and close blinds.
  • Shut off unnecessary computers, printers and other energy-consuming equipment.
  • Refrain from charging portable devices.
  • Unplug everything you can from wall outlets, even if the device is shut off.
  • Be tolerant of higher temperatures across the entire campus as we raise building temperatures a bit between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (The temperature inside particularly temperature-sensitive areas will not be raised.)

And remember: Before you go on vacation, take as many of the energy-saving steps as you can proactively, in case a Turn It Off day is declared while you’re away.

Of course, saving energy is not important only on “peak” days; it is important every day of the year.

Thanks in advance for doing your part.

If you have any questions about the Turn It Off program, please contact Vice President of Facilities​ Services​ Bob Avalle.​ As always, to report any issue with building operation, contact Facilities Services at x6-4385 or via an online work order request. ​

Read about our very first Turn It Off day here.