Energy Conservation

Campuses Compete To Reduce Power and Water Usage

Human behaviors make a difference in energy and water conservation. That was the lesson learned in a recent conservation competition held at 125 colleges and universities, where students and staff at some winning schools were able to reduce residence hall energy usage by almost 31 percent and water consumption by nearly 20 percent.

The goal of Campus Conservation Nationals — now in its fifth year of operation — calls attention to more sustainable behaviors that occupants can make in "greening" their buildings. From Feb. 1 to April 30, students all over the United States and Canada vied to unplug devices not in use, turn off lights and computers, exchange incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient ones, take stairs instead of elevators, adjust thermostats, shorten showers and use cold water when doing laundry.

According to organizers, those combined efforts averted 2.4 million pounds of CO₂, saved 1.5 million liters of water and reduced school electricity and water bills by $290,000.

Participating schools used Lucid's BuildingOS platform to track electricity and water use and to share building performance and competition standings with students and staff.

Among the winning schools in the category of energy savings, with reductions ranging from 13 percent to 31 percent, were:

The five schools with the largest overall percent reduction in their water use were:

"Campus Conservation Nationals shows how college students are pioneering efforts to create a more sustainable future, starting with their campuses," said Hannah Debelius, who runs student programs for the Center for Green Schools. "These students demonstrate the importance of making small daily changes to save energy and water. The results are remarkable, and every student and institution that participated should be proud of this accomplishment."

The Center for Green Schools is a division of the U.S. Green Building Council, which also runs the LEED sustainable building program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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