The results are in for the first real-time, nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition, Campus Conservation Nationals 2010. From November 1-19, forty participating colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada reduced electricity consumption by 508,000 kilowatt-hours, saving $50,200 and averting 816,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
"Over the past three weeks, students showed that curtailing electricity and water use is achievable in dorms and residence halls simply by changing their behavior," said Andrew de Coriolis, Public Programs Manager at Lucid. "And the savings are impressive – the equivalent of 402,000 miles driven in a 29-mpg car."
With a 25.8% reduction in electricity use, DePauw University is the top campus reducer, and will receive several prizes, including Building Dashboard® for two buildings from Lucid Design Group. The software will enable students to view, compare and share building resource use data, track electricity budgets, host real-time competitions and communicate sustainability efforts to the campus community.
To achieve such substantial reductions, DePauw engaged in a wide variety of activities for promotion, marketing and motivating students. Residential Assistants on each participating floor made bulletin boards, with energy saving "Battle Tactics" to give people ideas for how they could conserve.
"For us, it was really important to have the RAs involved, and know what’s going on, having them challenging their halls to take action was really effective for us," said Missy Orr, Assistant Director for Sustainability.
Building on their "Battle Tactics" students could become "Conservation Vigilantes," going beyond just taking individual actions, and coordinating with other people in their hall to make sure conservation was happening in their neighbors’ rooms. "The Vigilantes were critical, their efforts moved us beyond what each of us have individual control over, and really started to build a movement," said senior Ecology and Society major Taylor Cantril.
Over the past three weeks, students showed that curtailing electricity and water use is achievable in dorms and residence halls simply by changing their behavior.
As a last push the DePauw Energy Wars team organized "The Big Turn Off," an hour-long event that encouraged people to turn off everything in the dorm and congregate in a common area. The turn off was so effective that, "one woman came back to the hall and thought the power was out. The rest of the students pretended to go along with it so she wouldn’t turn any lights on," said Cantril.
"For us, these results show that we’ve really built a competition culture over the last few years. People see the shirts around campus, and they know they’ve been involved in the past. Everyone is engaged to a different level, some people don’t care that much, some people do a few things like turn out lights more often, and then a smaller group come to the office and ask what more they can do. That group is getting bigger every year," said Orr.
"Everyone who had the opportunity to participate should be commended for their individual enthusiasm and collective action in making the first-annual competition a huge success. Not only does this prove that behavior change can achieve significant savings, but we’ve taken another significant step toward creating cultures of conservation on campuses," said de Coriolis.
Nationwide category winners
Campus with the greatest average percent reduction across all participating residence halls: DePauw University – 25.8%
Campus with the greatest total reduction across all participating residence halls (per person): DePauw University
Building with the greatest percent reduction: Stratford Heights 8, University of Cincinnati
Building with the greatest total reduction: Cannon Hall, Appalachian State University
Campus with the greatest average percent reduction across all participating residence halls: Humboldt State University – 15.4%
Campus with the greatest total reduction across all participating residence halls (per person): Emory University
Building with the greatest percent reduction: Siddall Hall, University of Cincinnati
Regional- and campus-level category winners
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – 4.8% reduction
Ohio – Bowling Green State University – 11.4% reduction
New York – St. John’s University – 12.2% reduction
Other award packages include access to Green Building Basics and LEED Online course, USGBC hooded sweatshirts and reusable USGBC shopping bags from U.S. Green Building Council. Study Like A Champion is providing SLAC hooded sweatshirts and t-shirts, and sweatband packs. Lights Out Green In is donating 200 compact fluorescent lightbulbs and Lights Out Green In sweatbands and t-shirts.
The Alliance to Save Energy in partnership with Lucid Design Group and the National Wildlife Federation established the inaugural Campus Conservation Nationals, in which schools compete to achieve the greatest reductions in their residence halls over a 3-week period.
Using Lucid’s Building Dashboard, participating schools can instantly compare performance, share winning strategies and track standings among the leading schools and buildings.