ECU goes green for second consecutive year

East Carolina University will go green again this winter break in a utilities setback plan that saved the university more than $50,000 last year.

While ECU Physicians clinics will re-open for patients Dec. 27, most of the university will shut down Dec. 22 through Jan. 1 as part of a holiday plan to allow employees a longer break and help reduce utility expenditures and energy use. Most faculty and staff return Jan. 2.

According to University Energy Engineer and Sustainability Committee Chairman Brian Pipkin, the university will use an automatic control system to lower the temperature control points down to around 60 degrees in major campus buildings. All lights and electric hot water heaters will be shut off as well.

“This year, the shutdown will last 12 days and we hope to capture even more buildings,” Pipkin said. “We want [the setback plan] to be as advantageous as possible.”

Employees who have individual spaces and offices are asked to participate in the shutdown as well. Pipkin said individuals should turn off and unplug all non-essential electronics and close all exterior doors and windows.

Students who live in off campus apartments or houses can also participate in the event and save on utilities while they are away by setting back thermostats and turning off water heaters.

“Anything with a remote can be turned off and unplugged,” Pipkin said. “Even when electronics are turned off, they use power when plugged in.”

For more information on the program, visit