Green Tips

Ideas for living, learning, working and playing more sustainably!

Be an ENERGY star!

House-Energy - Tips and information to help homeowners reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

The Louisville Climate Action Network offers many more Simple Steps, Bigger Steps, Civic Steps, and Sharing Steps to help you on your journey to greater sustainability!

22 Tips for Going Green on Campus

Sustainable Baby Steps

Tips for a Greener Holiday

      • Drive Less! Walk, bike, take the TARC bus (free with UofL ID), carpool, or vanpool whenever possible. You'll stay fit, make friends, save thousands of dollars per year, and drastically reduce your energy use and planetary impact. Use Cardinal Directions to set-up carpools and explore all your options.
      • Avoid the trip all together: Rather than polluting the planet and wasting fuel, money & time to get everyone in the same room, consider holding virtual meetings and classes through Teleconference, Microsoft Teams, Zoom Meetings, WebEx, or other audio and video conferencing services.
      • If you must travel, don't fly! Flying causes 5-10 times more pollution per passenger-mile than ground-based options. It accounts for over 5% of UofL’s total carbon footprint. Consider greener, less sardine-like options that keep you on the ground: carpool; take the train or bus (Miller & Greyhound serve Louisville directly, and you can catch Amtrak in Indianapolis or Cincinnati).
      • If you must fly, at least invest a few extra bucks to offset your carbon emissions through a service such as Climate Vault, which uses your donation to buy carbon pollution permits on government regulated cap & trade markets and then use them to fund highly vetted, government regulated projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere. Other options include Patch (official partner of the Carbon Commitment/Second Nature), Carbon Footprint Ltd, Native Energy, CarbonFund, TerraPass, or for free (through commissions) with UCapture.
      • Keep tires properly inflated to save on gas (efficiency is reduced 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated).
      • Don't let engines idle longer than about 30 seconds. Idling longer wastes fuel and an idling engine produces more pollution than a moving vehicle.
      • Set computers to "sleep" or “hibernate” when idle (under Control Panel > Power Options). Especially important for desktop models.
      • Always shut down your computer when you're done. Any system updates can be made when you reboot.
      • Turn off any peripheral devices (printers, monitors, speakers, scanners, etc.) when you're done. Just plug them all into one power strip and click it off, or use a "smart" power strip which automatically shuts off power to peripherals when the computer shuts down.
      • Do not run a screen saver. They waste energy. Instead, set your monitor to enter power-saving mode when idle.
      • Turn off lights, computers and equipment off when vacating a room.
      • Unplug chargers, TVs, computers, and other equipment when not in use (many consume electricity even when the unit is turned off!). An easy solution is to put everything on one power strip and click it all off when you're done.
      • Set thermostats moderately (<70°F winter / >75°F summer) & adjust 10°F when vacating a room.
      • Get a handle on your residence hall's real-time energy consumption and observe the impact of your efforts to reduce with UofL's Building Dashboards!
      • Replace wasteful halogen or incandescent light bulbs with more efficient LED or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
      • In labs, always keep the fume hood sash closed while not in use.
      • Air-dry laundry with a clothesline or rack instead of energy hogging clothes dryers.
      • Tips for minimizing your digital carbon footprint (UC-Berkeley Extension)
      • UofL energy supplier, LG&E offers a series of short videos with basic tips to help you stop wasting energy and water.
      • Learn more about sustainable transportation & energy conservation at UofL!

    Reduce WASTE!

      • 42 Ways to Not Make Trash
      • Stop wasting money and producing trash with bottled water! Refill your bottle for free with Louisville's award-winning tap water instead of trashing the planet.
      • Cut paper use in half by always printing or copying on both sides.
      • Go Paperless! Instead of printing, use free electronic file-sharing on campus through Cardbox, Blackboard, or publicly available services such as GoogleDocs or Dropbox.
        - Instructors: Get the mobile app for paperless exams!
      • UofL Free Store logoDonate unwanted items to the UofL Free Store (open to all UofL students and employees). Goodwill donation bins are also available in the lobbies of all UofL residence halls. UofL employees can give unwanted items new life through UofL Surplus. Or have a yard sale or donate items to area charities, thrift stores, or non-profit organizations. The Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Louisville are great places to donate (or shop for) a full range of building materials, furniture, appliances, landscaping and more!
        GRASS develops Free Store (The Louisville Cardinal, 4/3/13)
      • At the checkout, refuse new plastic or paper bags and bring your own reusable shopping bags.
      • At mealtimes, use reusable mugs, cups, utensils, cloth napkins and towels rather than disposables. Get a discount with a reusable mug every time you fill up on coffee, tea, or fountain drinks at any UofL dining facility.
      • Switch to rechargeable batteries rather than toxic disposables.
      • Avoid excess packaging by bringing your own bags and buying in bulk whenever possible.
      • Buy pre-owned items whenever possible or new items with post-consumer recycled content.
      • Recycle all kinds of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass - all in the same bin at UofL!
      • Compost your food scraps and organic wastes in one of the Garden Commons composting bins or at the UofL Community Composting site, and start composting at home!
      • Recycle computers, TVs & other E-waste: 636 Meriwether Ave. (MetroCall: 311). Home Depot recycles CFLs. UofL employees can recycle departmental e-waste through our E-Waste program and our Printer Cartridge recycling program.
      • Take hazardous materials (batteries, paints, solvents, chemicals, fluorescent bulbs, etc.) to Haz Bin 7501 Grade Lane. UofL employees should contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety for pick-up, exchange, or responsible disposal of hazardous materials.
      • Green Your Laboratory to reduce toxins and waste:
        1. Inventory Control: Keep chemical inventories updated to minimize duplicate ordering. Chemical purchases can also be reduced by borrowing and sharing chemicals between labs. DEHS offers a
        Chemical Exchange Program (CHEMEX) for chemicals that are unopened or partially used.
        2. Product substitution: Review procedures with an eye to eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals by replacing with a less hazardous or non-hazardous alternative.
        3. Replace mercury-containing thermometers with non-toxic substitutes.
        4. Reuse empty chemical bottles to collect chemical waste.
        5. Switch from disposal plastics items (beakers, pipettes, culture dishes, tubes, etc) to reusable glassware that can be autoclaved or disinfected/inactivated with a mild chemical solution (most inactivations effectively use 10% bleach, which can be sink disposed).
      • Learn more about recycling & waste reduction options at UofL!

    Eat better FOOD!

      • Eat locally grown produce, dairy, and meats; and locally made foods. Eating locally saves the resources needed to ship and preserve food while supporting local jobs, farms and businesses. Find local delights through our Food page, including:
        Gray Street Farmers' Market (HSC)
        → Find markets close to you: Louisville Farmers Market Directory
        → Subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
        → Learn to grow food in one of UofL's Campus Gardens
        → Learn to cook with fresh, local ingredients through UofL's Office of Health Promotion!
        → Ask for local food at stores, restaurants and UofL Dining venues
        → Request local food when ordering catering for events.
      • Eat less meat and animal products, substituting with plant protein (beans, nuts, soy products, etc.) to improve your health, eliminate cruelty from your diet, and reduce your environmental impact as much as ten times.
        → Get started by trying Meatless Mondays or Meatless Mornings
        Vegetarian & Vegan Guide to UofL Dining!
      • Eat organic, fair trade, grass-fed or plant-based products to minimize abuse to the environment, people & animals.
      • Learnmore about Local & Sustainable Food options at UofL.

    Conserve WATER!

      • Don't run water unnecessarily while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing dishes.
      • Report leaks in faucets, valves, fixtures, or toilets to Physical Plant immediately for repair: Repair request form here. Call 852-6241.
      • Replace water fixtures with low-flow shower heads, faucets and/or toilets.

    Do More...