Universities compete to reduce energy waste
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council announced the results of the Campus Conservation Nationals 2015 competition.
In its fifth year, more than 343,000 students and staff across 125 colleges and universities participated in CCN 2015, which saved the schools more than $290,000 in electricity and water in just three weeks. Over the five years of the competition, CCN participants have saved 6 million kilowatt hours (six GWh) of electricity, equivalent to averting more than 9 million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere.
From Feb. 1 through April 30, 2015, students and staff competed to achieve the greatest reductions in their residence halls’ energy use over a three-week period. Students and staff used tactics such as direct action, real-time consumption dashboards, and social media to motivate and encourage sustainable behaviors, proving that occupants play a critical role in greening their buildings. By making commitments to turn off unused electronics, take shorter showers, use the stairs instead of the elevator and other simple changes in behavior, USGBC says students across the country demonstrated how individual actions could make a big collective difference in the way buildings consume electricity and water.
The 10 schools with the largest overall percent reduction of electricity produced were (listed alphabetically) California State University — Chico, Concordia College, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, Georgia State University, Hofstra University, Northwest Missouri State University, Oklahoma State University, San Diego State University, and Western Technical College, with the highest-performing school reducing its electricity use by 30.6% during its competition.
The five schools with the largest overall percent reduction in their water use were (listed alphabetically) Eastern Washington University, Oberlin College, Pima Community College, University of Nevada — Las Vegas, and Wake Forest University, with the highest-performing school reducing its water use by 19.8%
“Campus Conservation Nationals shows how college students are pioneering efforts to create a more sustainable future, starting with their campuses,” said Hannah Debelius, USGBC students program lead at the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “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.”
During the competition, Lucid’s technology facilitated cross-departmental collaboration, with more than 50% of participants stating that CCN helped build new relationships between campus groups, such as facilities, sustainability, residence life, and student leaders. 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.
“CCN opens the eyes of students and administrators alike to the potential of strong energy management,” said Chelsea Hodge, director of engagement programs at Lucid. “They realize that, wow, if we can achieve substantial reductions through just empowering individuals to change their behavior, then we can achieve equally large, or larger, savings by optimizing building operations, while saving money and improving comfort and productivity. CCN is a window into this potential."
To learn more about the results of the competition, visit CompeteToReduce.org/2015.