Energy Audit of Holdsworth Hall

Holdsworth Hall

Project Overview:

This experiment took place in Holdsworth Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the month of April in 2011. The objective of the experiment was to determine if changing the behavior of the faculty and staff in the building would show a significant reduction in the building’s overall energy use.


This experiment was started by first gathering an email list of all the faculty, staff, and graduate students who regularly occupy the building. An email was sent to each individual describing the objective of the experiment and providing the dates for which the experiment would run. A list of behavioral changes that each person could make to reduce the energy consumption of the building was provided to the individuals one week before the experiment was scheduled to begin. The list of 15 suggestions consisted of the following:

  • Turn lights off when not in use
  • Turn computer monitor off when not in use/set to stand-by mode for idle time
  • Set copiers and fax machines to sleep mode after certain period of inactivity
  • Plug all electronics into a power strip and turn off the power strip when not in use
  • Unplug small appliances (coffee makers, microwaves, etc) at night/set to timed shutoff
  • Limit elevator use
  • When applicable, only turn on half of the available lighting in a room (Many times this is more than enough lighting)
  • Use natural daylight whenever possible
  • LED lighting
  • Keep windows closed when air conditioning/heat is on
  • Set thermostat to no higher than 62F in winter and no lower than 78F in summer
  • Turn on cold water first, then adjust temperature with hot water knob
  • Turn water on low, soap does not require much pressure to be washed off
  • Promptly report leaking faucets
  • Encourage coworkers to take part


The average lighting and plug load dropped about 34% from 2009 to 2010, and a mere 2% from 2010 to 2011. Although this percentage is small, it still reflects a savings due to the behavioral changes of the occupants in the building.

A large reason why we do not see a significant reduction in the amount of energy used for lighting and plugs in Holdsworth Hall from April of 2010 to April of 2011 is because many of the occupants in this building were already practicing energy conservation techniques when the pilot program had started.

However, it is safe to assume that if the energy conscious occupants of Holdsworth Hall can further reduce the energy consumption of the building through this program, then other buildings, with occupants that are not majorly concerned with energy conservation, can absolutely benefit from the implementation of this program.