Graphic courtesy of: Office of Sustainability
Jan 12, 2011
By Monica Chapman
Seven weeks of energy conservation efforts kick off Jan. 18 as part of Ohio University’s Residence Challenge competition.
In its 11th year, the competition annually pits OHIO residence halls against one another in a race to reduce electricity consumption. Within each green, residents strive to achieve the greatest reduction from their hall’s baseline—an average of the hall’s electricity usage during the two weeks preceding the competition.
This year’s theme is the compact fluorescent light bulb and its growing popularity over the incandescent bulb.
“We chose the CFL because it’s easily recognizable and immediately associated with sustainability and saving electricity,” said Interim Sustainability Coordinator Erin Sykes, whose Jan. 3 appointment follows more than three years of work with the Office of Sustainability as a graduate assistant and a program coordinator. “Almost all students recognize using a CFL as a positive environmental action.”
According to energystar.gov,* an ENERGY STAR-qualified CFL can save more than $40 in electricity, uses 75 percent less energy, lasts up to 10 times longer and produces about 75 percent less heat than a standard incandescent bulb.
During Residence Challenge 2011, students are encouraged to organize a light bulb exchange for their hall through the Office of Sustainability. Student organizers will be provided with CFLs that can be exchanged with residents for incandescent bulbs, according to Sykes.
“I think that the CFL exchange epitomizes how collective small actions truly do make a difference,” said Jill Carlson, the 2011 Residence Challenge student coordinator. “The CFL is a friendly introduction to how easy being sustainable can be.”
Over the course of its existence, Residence Challenge has saved between $70,000 and $100,000 in annual electricity costs, in addition to averting thousands of tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Office of Sustainability, which manages the event in collaboration with Residential Housing.
In last year’s competition, halls on campus avoided a combined 162 tons of CO2—equivalent to the carbon impact of two tanker trucks' worth of gasoline.
According to last year’s competition coordinator Damian Snook, these energy savings were the collective result of simple actions on the part of students, such as turning out lights, unplugging appliances and turning off computers when not in use.
Residence Challenge also features special programming, including in-hall programs and a candle-lit conservation dinner in the dining halls. The winning residence hall on each green will be awarded all-expense-paid trips to Cedar Point amusement park.
For competition rules and regulations, visit www.ohio.edu/sustainability/residencechallenge2011.htm.
Students are also encouraged to join the competition's Facebook page.*