Holiday Shutdown Savings

campus from rooftop


“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.”

- Sam Cole, Energy Project Engineer


The Energy Conservation Office is proactive in reducing energy waste on holidays. By leveraging the campus’s complex digital building control system, our engineers 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.

UC Davis observes several major administrative holidays every year, and campus buildings are typically empty during these long weekends and holidays.

memorial Day

Reducing use over weekends can result in big savings! Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, for example, the Energy Conservation Office shut down 60 buildings and achieved $7,432 in electricity savings. That’s equivalent to the cost of leaving 238,205 light bulbs* on for 24 hours!

The savings for each holiday are shown in the panel to the right. Expand the Total Savings to see how each holiday breaks down into its electricity, steam and chilled water savings. In order to show you how much we save, all energy commodity savings are converted from their metered units to dollars, using the utility rates for state-supported space.

During the holidays, some buildings are left completely vacant, which means they don't need their temperatures controlled as tightly. Therefore, temperature settings in these buildings are relaxed significantly during the holidays. 

The HVAC system will kick on if it gets too hot or too cold (say, above 85-90°F, or below 55-60°F). This is to both "protect" the building and prevent building temperatures from drifting too cold or hot in case someone shows up during the holiday.           

- Nico Fauchier-Magnan, Energy Engineer Supervisor

The relaxed temperature settings explained by Nico also prevent long warm-up or cool-down times after the holidays, e.g. shortening the time for a building to return to normal operations after the holidays.  


Energy Types


Electricity is used to power buildings, including the large fans and pumps that are used to run the HVAC systems. Chilled water is used to cool buildings, whereas steam is used to heat the buildings. You can see that chilled water savings are more common in the summer months, while steam savings occur more often in the winter holidays. By reducing the use of all three commodities, we save thousands of dollar each holiday!

rmi building


If you are interested in having your building participate in the shutdown, please reach out to your building manager, or Sam Cole, for more information.