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Students compete to reduce electricity use

Monday, Mar. 19, 2012

The 3rd Annual Energy Challenge began on Sunday, January 15.

The Energy Challenge encourages campus residents to examine their power usage and find ways to reduce wasted energy use.

Why reduce electricity usage?
Santa Clara University has a goal to become climate neutral by the end of 2015. One of the ways we will achieve this is to dramatically reduce our electricity use. Roughly 80% of a building's electricity consumption is related to lighting and electronic appliances. (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning account for the other 20%). This means student behavior can have a big impact on energy use in SCU residence halls! Campus initiatives like designing more energy-efficient buildings as well as upgrading lighting and heating systems continue to help us get closer to our goal. Ultimately, however, our success depends on the daily habits of our campus users, especially campus residents who spend most of their time here.

How the Energy Challenge Works:
Each residence hall competes against itself. Expected power consumption for each building has been calculated on a per capita basis, as an average of the past three years' electricity consumption during Winter Quarter. Effectively, current residents are trying to use less energy than past residents of their same building. Buildings are compared to each other based on their respective savings, compared to each historical average. 

Prizes will be awarded throughout the quarter, culminating in a two grand prizes.
Community bicycles for the residence hall that conserved the most energy relative to its baseline. Offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of the residence hall with the most enthusiastic residents.

Updates will be provided weekly
Campus residents will be notified of their standings each week via the following:

Tips to conserve energy:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room.
  • Turn off computers when not in use. (Screensavers do not save electricity. It's better to use Standby mode or power off)
  • Unplug electric appliances when not in use.
  • Open the shades and use as much natural light as possible.
  • Instead of watching TV in your room, get the whole floor/house together and watch a show on just 1 TV.
  • Unplug cell phone and computer chargers when not in use. Even if it’s not running, plugged-in chargers and appliances use “phantom energy.”
  • Make sure to turn off the lights in any room you aren’t in - especially the bathrooms.
  • Replace regular light bulbs with CFLs.
  • Instead of turning on the air conditioner or fans, keep your windows open at night and early in the morning and shut them during the hottest parts of the day to keep your room/house cool.
  • Plug your appliances into a power strip, and turn the whole strip off when not using any of the appliances.
  • Don’t pre-heat your oven any longer than necessary. Ten minutes should be enough.
  • Only run the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer if they’re full, don’t do half loads.
  • When buying a new appliance or electronic device, look for the EnergyStar label, which certifies that the product meets a standard of energy efficiency.

Read more about the Energy Challenge.

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