Q: How do I know if I am allowed to turn off a light when leaving an area?

A: If there's a switch, you can turn it off. It's true! Safety, Security and Emergency Management approves. In areas where it may be unsafe to turn out the lights, switches are locked or on timers.

Q: I usually try to leave lights and equipment the way I found them. Isn't this the best thing to do?

A: Just because someone else may have forgotten or neglected to turn things off doesn't mean you should. If there are switches, last out turns the lights out.

Q: Should I turn off the lights in a classroom or lab if I'm the last to leave?

A: Yes. You can also ask any remaining students to turn off lights when they're through.

Q: I don't think the lights need to be on in my hallway/entrance way/office area/common area: there is enough sunlight. The lights always seem to be on when I come in to work. Can I turn them off?

A: Yes, please! Light can also be tested to see if it meets international lighting standards if there is a debate in your area. Many campus lights are controlled by Facilities Management timers.

If you see lights that might not be needed throughout—or at some times—of the year, Facilities may be able to reprogram the lighting. Just fill out a maintenance request.

Q: I don't know where the switch is in my area. Who can I call?

A: Facilities. They can also help reset timers that stay on too long. Just fill out a facilities request.

Q: Am I really saving electricity?

A: Yes, lights account for 30% of BCIT's $2 million electricity bill ($600,000 per year).

Q: Doesn't it take more energy to turn a light back on than is saved by turning it off for a short period of time?

A: No. In most situations, there is no difference in the energy needed to turn a light on or to keep it on; and when turned off, a light uses no power.

Q: Won't turning lights on and off wear out the light bulbs faster?

A: While it is true that Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) can be sensitive to rapid on/off cycling in situations where only brief illumination is required, it is still better to turn lights off, even when it's only for a few minutes. The energy savings will considerably offset any reduction in lamp life.

Q: Won't allowing more sunlight make the space too hot?

A: More light does not have to mean too much heat. South and west facing windows provide light and heat in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky. In the summer, simply close the blinds. Heat effects from lighting can increase air conditioning costs by as much as 20 per cent.