From: The Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities

Turning off non-critical lights, appliances, and electronics for just one hour can produce big energy savings – almost 5,000 kilowatts of reduced power, in fact.

On Thursday, June 23, from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m., members of Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus community will be asked to turn off and unplug all noncritical lighting and electrical loads in residence halls, classrooms, offices, and laboratories during the university’s annual Lights Out!/Power Down! event.

To conserve energy, community members will be asked to:

  • Turn off lights in offices, common areas, and hallways.
  • Turn off personal computers and peripherals that are not in use.
  • Turn off shared electronics (televisions, projectors, copiers, printers, fax machines, etc.) not in use.
  • Unplug appliances (coffee makers, refrigerators, washers/dryers, cooking equipment, etc.) not in use.
  • Turn off non-critical laboratory equipment not in use.

Throughout the day on June 23, employees from the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities will also be canvassing campus to encourage and assist building occupants with turning off noncritical lighting and equipment. In addition, air conditioning levels in select, noncritical areas will be reduced. Please note that ventilation and air flow rates will not be affected. Those impacted will be notified prior to the event.

Campus electric power consumption will be monitored before, during, and after the event to determine the impact of campus participation.

Please note, if the weather is unseasonably warm resulting in temperatures above normal on June 23, university and surrounding community members may notice elevated noise levels in the proximity of the Virginia Tech power plant due to the steam venting process associated with the Lights Out!/Power Down! event.

Outdoor activities

During the Lights Out!/Power Down! event, Rec Sports will be convening a 3-mile walk that will begin and end at McComas Hall. Hokie Wellness will host a free outdoor yoga class located at the Prairie Quad (near Hoge, O'Shaughnessy, and Pritchard Halls), and a mindfulness meditation activity at Hahn Garden. The walk and yoga class will begin at 2:00 p.m., and the mindfulness meditation will begin at 2:30 p.m.

About Lights Out!/Power Down!

Since 2010, Virginia Tech has received approximately $2.1 million by participating in the “Interruptible Load Reliability” energy reduction program. The program is part of Virginia Tech’s agreement with PJM Interconnection, Virginia’s regional electric transmission grid operator, and is managed by Virginia Energy and administered by CPower.

During last year’s event, Virginia Tech reduced its power demand to approximately 18,500 kilowatts and received approximately $127,000 for its participation in the demand response program. This year, the university will seek to reduce power demand to approximately 17,500 kilowatts during this exercise to receive an estimated $100,000.

As a large consumer of electricity in the region, Virginia Tech’s participation helps mitigate the loss of power in the broader community during times of peak energy usage, such as hot, humid summer afternoons and early evenings. This program allows the university to test its ability to meet that demand should those conditions occur.

LightsOut!/PowerDown! is one example of how Virginia Tech is making strides in reducing its environmental footprint and building sustainability awareness. These efforts are also a clear reflection of Virginia Tech’s Climate Action Commitment.

Now in its 14th year, the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment serves as a cornerstone for guiding the university toward a greener, more sustainable future. It touches on all aspects of university sustainability and energy efficiency, including campus operations, facilities, curriculum, and research. 

Among Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment’s goals is a commitment to pursue a zero waste and carbon neutral campus by 2030; improve the efficiency of campus energy systems by 2025; and deliver ongoing support, outreach and educational programming to community members through the implementation of the Climate Action Living Laboratory where students can gain hands-on experience in areas like the integration of green energy infrastructure in campus buildings.

Questions around LightsOut!/PowerDown! may be directed to Steve Durfee at

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