Save Energy and Protect Your Property this Winter Holiday Season

December 19, 2022
Uris Hall during a snowy day.

With the holidays approaching, Columbia University Facilities and Operations would like to remind you that you can help save energy and prevent loss or damage of your property during the cold winter months, especially if you will be away from campus during break.

Here are a few simple things you can do to help before leaving your home or office for any extended amount of time: 

  • Take precautions.  
    • Close and lock all windows, including in spaces not normally occupied. It is in these "forgotten" rooms that, in addition to wasting energy, an open window can cause freezing and split pipes with resulting damage. It may be useful to designate someone to do this so it is not forgotten.
    • Leave all radiator valves and fan coils turned on to ensure adequate heating and to avoid freezing damage. Fan coils should be set to the slowest speed setting. If you have questions about valve or coil settings, please contact the Facilities Services Center at (212) 854-2222. 
    • Clear clothing or furniture away from heaters to avoid inadequate heating that may cause freeze-ups and damage.  
    • Make sure all faucets are off.  
    • Close fume hoods when not in use and shut down non-essential lab equipment.  
  • Save energy. 
    • Shut down and unplug appliances such as cell phone chargers, computers, printers, faxes, copiers, space heaters and coffeemakers. 
    • Limit the use of automatic doors during the cold winter season. Many people who can open doors manually may use the automated door openers out of habit. Manually operating doors reduces heat that escapes and saves energy.  
  • Be in touch. If you see an unsafe condition including leaks, opened windows and doors, or other issues, please immediately call, text, or email our Facilities Services Center at (212) 854-2222 or [email protected]. We are open 24/7 to respond.
  • Be careful. Safety is our priority - use caution when navigating around campus during the icy winter months. 

These few simple winter preparation steps will help protect your property and prevent burst pipes and other building issues. We appreciate your support and patience as we work together to keep our campus safe, beautiful and functional.