Holiday Shutdown Savings

campus from rooftop
Empty Campus


UC Davis observes several major administrative holidays every year. The campus is typically left empty during the long weekends and holidays with few people to occupy the large campus. Some buildings are left completely vacant during the holidays, which means those buildings do not need to be strictly regulated and temperatures settings can be relaxed significantly. 

The Energy Conservation Office saw this as an opportunity to save money and energy. ECO Project Engineer, Sam Cole, explains it best,


“You wouldn’t leave your home’s heating or cooling systems on while you go on vacation. It would continue to run as scheduled and be an utter energy waste.”


ECO addresses this energy waste by leveraging the campus’s complex digital building control system to implement new holiday schedules and temperature setpoints for building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The result is more HVAC systems are given a holiday too, and room temperatures are allowed to drift. These holiday savings and setbacks only affect administrative and classroom spaces and exclude laboratory and animal spaces.


Major Energy Savings




Each commodity represents a significant amount of our campus' utility bill. To reduce the utility bill cost and save energy, buildings' temperature setpoints are set back rather than turned off. This is done to prevent the buildings from becoming too cold (during the Winter Holidays) or too hot (during the Summer Holidays) in case there are occupants in the buildings. 

In order to show you how much we save, all commodity savings in energy are converted to kBtu (British thermal unit) for clear comparison. Chilled water is used to cool buildings, whereas steam is used to heat. Electricity is used to power buildings, including the large fans and pumps that are used to run the HVAC systems. By reducing all three commodities usage, we save thousands of dollar each holiday!