Department of
Facilities Management
Brown University
Box 1941
295 Lloyd Ave.
Providence, RI 02912

Facility Emergency:
Tel: (401) 863-7800

Service Request:
Tel: (401) 863-7800

Main Office:
Tel: (401) 863-7850
Fax: (401) 863-7885

Energy Frequently Asked Questions

Doesn't it use more energy to turn lights off and on?

No. The extra energy used in the first 2 seconds of a fluorescent bulbs' startup is compensated by being left off for one 1 minute. So if you will be out of the room for one minute, it saves energy to turn off the light.

Don't computers wear out more quickly if you turn them off?

"Modern computers are designed to handle 40,000 on-off cycles before failure, and you're not likely to approach that number during the average computer's five- to seven-year life span. In fact, IBM and Hewlett Packard encourage their own employees to turn off idle computers, and some studies indicate it would require on-off cycling every five minutes to harm a hard drive…"
(Source: Rocky Mountain Institute Home Energy Brief #7 Computers and Peripherals.)

You want me to turn the heat down but I can't and it is so hot I have to open my windows.

Alert Facilities Management to your problem right away by placing a Service Request. Solving heating problems in some locations on campus take time. Many of our buildings are decades to hundreds of years old, and equipping them with modern, efficient heating systems is a complex undertaking. Many problems however can be fixed quickly and easily if they are brought to our attention. Vigilance and community participation is critical to our efforts.

If you set the temperature to 68 degrees, won't it get colder than that under my desk?

Some buildings are more evenly heated than others. Please contact Facilities Management in cases where this causes major discomfort by placing Service Request. We also suggest dressing appropriately for the season.

How much electricity does Brown use?

Brown used over 80 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006. In contrast, the average U.S. household uses 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Where does our electricity come from?

Brown purchases electricity through service provided by National Grid. Our electricity is drawn from a "pool" of power plants in the electric grid, most of which burn natural gas and oil. We also co-generate a very small portion of our power with excess heat from our heating plant, which burns oil or natural gas. Brown is examining the possibility of expanding our co-generation capability and also purchasing energy directly from renewable sources such as wind farms.