Res Challenge reaps energy + cost savings ONN's Green Ohio to feature competition Mar 11, 2009 ByMonica Chapman
The results are in from the 2009 Residence Challenge. And though three residence halls can lay claim to the bragging rights, no one would deny that Mother Nature and Ohio University are among the winners, too.
In total, this year's challenge saved 237,151 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity -- which translates to more than $11,000 in avoided costs for the university.
The seven-week competition involving Ohio University residence halls is aimed at reducing energy consumption, preserving natural resources and cutting costs. Results from this year's competition, which ran Jan. 19 through March 9, were announced Tuesday by the Office of Sustainability.
East Green's Biddle Hall, West Green's Bromley Hall and South Green's Dougan House brought home top honors. The three halls prevented the equivalent of 35 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in just seven weeks -- a figure equal to the carbon impact five average American homes have on the environment in one year.
"Residence Challenge is one of the most successful things that we do in the office every year," said Leah Graham, Residence Challenge project coordinator with the Office of Sustainability. "And it's all on the residents. All we do is provide materials and resources. This year, the students were really enthusiastic about it. I believe they really care about these types of things on campus."
Students from the top energy-conserving halls will be rewarded with an all-expense-paid trip to Cedar Point in May, compliments of Residential Housing. For each ton of carbon emissions avoided by the hall, five tickets will be allotted.
Because energy savings in the Residence Challenge are calculated based upon each hall's average energy consumption over the past three years, the bar is raised each year, Graham said. Despite the mounting challenge, each residence hall has managed to outperform its baseline since the competition began in 2001.
Winners will be officially honored at an awards ceremony from 5 to 7 p.m. April 1 in Baker University Center's 1804 Lounge.
A closer look at the three halls' efforts:
In the last week of competition, Biddle Hall had the highest savings rate of any hall on campus in any week -- nearly 30 percent. According to Resident Director Jennifer Schuler, residents achieved the savings by turning off bathroom lights, unplugging appliances and switching out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents. Biddle even went so far as to designate "community fridges," which allowed residents to unplug micro-fridge units in their rooms.
Cumulatively, Bromley Hall residents used 13 percent less electricity over the past seven weeks than they have on average during the same weeks of the past three years in the same time period. In doing so, they secured 115 passes to Cedar Point, the largest number of tickets won by any residence hall on campus. Bromley's energy savings fall in line with its "going green" theme for the 2008-09 school year.
Dubbed the "comeback kid" of the 2009 competition, Dougan House moved into first place on South Green just a week ago. Residents ramped up their conservation efforts from a rate of 8.5 percent in week 1 to 27 percent in week 7.