What Is “Switch Your Thinking”?
Switch Your Thinking is an opportunity for every member of the UT Knoxville community to do their part to reduce energy consumption on campus. It's a goal that will have an impact on the campus budget, and it will make a difference for the environment in ways that benefit generations to come.
How We're Switching Our Thinking
Mon, 01 Apr 2013
This week marks the beginning of Earth Month at UT. Celebrating its seventh year, Earth Month encourages environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainable practices to the campus community. The month-long event is celebrated across the globe and UT is excited to participate, offering events and activities that are both fun and interactive.
Tue, 19 Mar 2013
Before you head out to spring break and eliminate your thoughts of work, purge your workspace of its paper. March 22 through 28 is UT's Paper Purge Party, where faculty and staff are invited to purge unwanted paper. Simply put paper in a box, bin, pile, or bag, mark it for "recycling" and set it outside your office door. Volunteers with the Facilities Services department will make the rounds and do the heavy lifting. The Paper Purge Party is part of the RecycleMania Tournament, a competition between colleges and universities to see who can recycle the most.
Wed, 27 Feb 2013
The United States European Union Summit on Science, Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Economic Growth—organized in part by UT—has produced five reports examining the critical impacts of investments in science, technology, and innovation on sustainable economic growth. The summit involved an interdisciplinary group of scientists, economists, academics, entrepreneurs and policy analysts from the US and EU and was held from 2010 to 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Brussels, Belgium.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013
For the third year, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is challenging the University of Florida Gators to see who can recycle the most. UT won the first year, but not the second. The Vols want a tie-breaker. The duel is part of RecycleMania, in which colleges across the nation and Canada are ranked in an eight-week competition based on the amount of recycling and trash collected each week.
Fri, 08 Feb 2013
UT has been selected as a Top 20 green power using university by the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership's Top 20 College and University list represents the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership, and the list is updated quarterly.
Mon, 04 Feb 2013
UT has received the Green Light Award from the East Tennessee chapter of the US Green Building Council. The Green Light Award is the highest award given to an organization for advancing sustainability through green building practices and design.
Fri, 18 Jan 2013
The spring semester is under way, and with it, a new semester of recycling at UT. The program provides services to all classroom and office buildings on campus, and collects paper, aluminum cans, and plastic, as well as compostable and other materials. Every office desk should have a blue recycling bin for paper, and there should be a blue recycling bin for paper next to every copy machine. If you notice any places where these bins are missing, e-mail UT Recycling at email@example.com.
Fri, 11 Jan 2013
As classes resume this spring, you will see some big changes in the lighting in four campus buildings. As part of a comprehensive energy conservation project, work is under way in the Jane and David Bailey Education Complex; the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building; the Student Services Building; and the Communications Building. Old fixtures are being replaced with energy-efficient lights, manual switches are being replaced with on-off sensors, and other upgrades are being done.
Fri, 07 Dec 2012
Massey Hall has won the eighth annual Make Orange Green POWER Challenge, earning the title of "greenest" residence hall on campus. Hosted every October by the Office of Sustainability, the POWER Challenge encourages resource conservation, recycling, and environmental awareness in the university's twelve residence halls.
Mon, 03 Dec 2012
Over the past four years, the campus community has worked together to avoid more than $5 million in energy costs through changing their daily habits as part of our Switch your Thinking effort. The winter months offer a significant opportunity for Volunteers to conserve energy and have a positive impact on the campus's environment—and its wallet.
Mon, 03 Dec 2012
By altering our daily habits, students, faculty, and staff have prevented the release of 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This reduction in greenhouse gases is equal to the annual emissions from 9,400 passenger cars, the electricity use of 5,900 homes, or the burning of 260 railcars' worth of coal.
Mon, 12 Nov 2012
As the holiday season draws closer, Facilities Services requests your continued support for campus energy conservation efforts. With fewer visitors on campus during holidays and other campus closures, we have a tremendous opportunity to realize additional energy and cost savings.
Thu, 11 Oct 2012
Since UT launched its 'Switch Your Thinking' campaign in September 2008, campus electricity use per square foot has decreased by approximately 7 percent. With this improvement, the university has cut more than 68,000 megawatt-hours in electricity usage equaling a cost avoidance of $5.2 million.
Thu, 21 Jun 2012
About 40 percent of energy in the US is produced by coal. Yet this power leaves behind the largest carbon footprint. A professor in the College of Engineering has received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to help change that. Professor Peter Liaw and colleagues have received a $300,000 Clean Coal Research Award for Improved Structural Materials.
Wed, 23 May 2012
The 'dog days' of summer are upon us, which means it is peak energy use time on campus. From June 1 through September 30, UT will pay significantly more for energy used on weekdays between the hours of 2:00 and 8:30 p.m. Faculty and staff should make every effort to limit their energy use during the peak times.
Mon, 30 Apr 2012
What is the role of the university in meeting the nation and world's energy challenges? University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek is part of a conference being held this week at The Ohio State University (OSU) to explore that question.Sponsored by OSU, Colorado State University, and the Association for Public and Land-grant Universities, the three-day event has brought together public university, industry, and government leaders from around the country to discuss the evolving role of the university in solving substantial questions about energy in the twenty-first century.
Mon, 23 Apr 2012
Faculty, staff, and students who are at the forefront of the campus's environmental efforts were honored last week during at a ceremony held in Circle Park. Maria Rosales, a senior in environmental studies, and Carlos Gonzalez, a graduate student studying materials science, were honored along side Ruth Anne Hanahan, a senior research associate with the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center, and Claudia Rawn, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Wed, 18 Apr 2012
The campus's Earth Month celebrations continue Friday, April 20, with the Environmental Leadership Awards and other festivities at Circle Park. The community is invited to enjoy the Recycled Art Competition, a cookout hosted by Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK), free bike tune-ups and more. The fun begins at 10:00 a.m.
Tue, 17 Apr 2012
In celebration of Earth Month, an outdoor screening of the movie "Wall-E" will take place at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, April 19, at the Humanities Plaza outdoor amphitheater. This all-ages event combines the beloved past time of drive-in movie theaters with a cleaner, more environmentally friendly vehicle: the bicycle. Walkers are welcome, too.
Mon, 16 Apr 2012
UT's Community Action Committee is hosting an hour-long weatherization workshop at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, as part of ongoing Earth Month celebrations. UT alumnus and AmeriCorps member John McCollum will discuss some simple and easily applied solutions that can reduce home energy consumption and cost and provide health and environmental benefits.
For more information on the effort to foster sustainable development and promote environmental stewardship at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, please visit
Knowledge is Power
Peak power use times during the winter months are from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekdays. Plan to cut back!
For more information, read the UT Knoxville Energy Conservation Policy online at environment.utk.edu