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Academic Offices – Join the Summer Seasonal Shutdown Office Challenge!

May 28, 2019

Photos with four people holding travel mugs and the Seasonal Shutdown poster

Portage Campus was one of the winners in the 2018 Winter Seasonal Shutdown

Summer is finally on it’s way! You may be getting amped-up for beach days and drinks on the patio, but before you go into out-of-office mode let’s make sure the College’s electronic equipment and appliances are getting a much needed energy break.

In our 2018 Plug Load Inventory, we learned that there are many academic offices that are vacant over the summer months. That’s a lot of potential for unnecessary energy consumption, either through leaving items and lights on, or through standby (phantom) power that many electronic items draw even when turned off. But you can help! By participating in the Summer Seasonal Shutdown Office Challenge your actions can help to achieve energy savings. Plus… by participating you could win a catered coffee break for your office. Simply complete the checklist by June 30, 2019, perform the actions before you leave and you will be entered in the prize draw.

Please note: at this time, the Summer Seasonal Shutdown Office Challenge is only open to academic offices. If you are in an administrative office that will be closed for some time over the summer, you can save energy too – use this handy checklist to help plan your own shutdown.

Shutting down for the holidays is as easy as 1-2-3:

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Click here to complete the checklist and be entered to win1. DISPOSE OF PERISHABLES

Remove perishables and clean fridges

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Where it is safe and possible to do so. Please leave printers ON, they’ll go into energy saving mode on their own.

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How it Works

If any portion of your academic office will be shutdown over the summer, recruit your colleagues to participate in the challenge. All you have to do is complete and submit our simple checklist to shutdown unnecessary lights and equipment before you leave for the summer and you will be entered to win 1 of 3 catered coffee breaks for your office! Over the summer, our team will be checking offices to confirm everything is shutdown as expected and we will leave a note confirming your entry into the prize draw, which will happen in September.

  • What is an office? An office can be one person or multiple people in one office space, or across many offices, as long as you are in the same department. You can even challenge other offices within your department to participate as well. Please have just one person per office complete the checklist.
  • We have some staff who work over the summer, can we still participate? Yes you can! Just do the things that work for your team. For some items like appliances, consider sharing these with other offices so you can still unplug some over the summer.
  • When can I fill in the form? You can submit the form anytime before you leave as a pledge to do these actions and we will send you a reminder email before you leave. As long as the form is received by June 30, 2019, your team will be entered to win a prize.
  • Having trouble with the form? Contact Whitney for help.


  • Computers that are shutdown over the break will likely need updates when you return. This can be an opportunity to come in a little earlier, start your updates, grab a coffee and catch up with colleagues. You can find some information on how Windows updates work here.
  • Together with your colleagues identify lab equipment that can be safely turned off, unplugged, or placed in standby mode over the break.
  • Don’t forget to turn off lights and shutdown projectors and AV equipment in any meeting rooms or classrooms that you use.
  • Do a department walk-through to ensure valuables are secured and cabinets are locked.
  • Activate alarms if applicable before you leave.
  • Set yourself a reminder to remember to do your seasonal shutdown checklist before you leave and another one to restart everything again when you get back.
  • Don’t forget to make a plan for someone to take care of plants and vermicomposting worms while you’re away!

The Seasonal Shutdown Office Challenge is part of the Sustainability Office’s Resource Reduction Project.