AU encourages reduced energy consumption in national competition

AU is encouraging students to reduce energy consumption through a three-week national competition promoting electricity and water conservation at universities and colleges Nov. 1-19. AU is currently ranked 15th in the competition and reduced its overall consumption by 4.5 percent from the start of the competition on Nov. 1 until Nov. 14, according to the online Building Dashboard, which continuously updates these statistics online.

This is the first year Campus Conservation Nationals is being held as a nationwide contest. Previously, it was only run statewide in California, according to Chris O’Brien, AU’s director of sustainability.

During the competition, schools measure their energy consumption and are ranked among the 40 other universities participating in the challenge. The rankings between the participating colleges are continuously updated on the website. Screens in each of the residence hall lobbies display individual hall reductions, showing which hall has reduced energy consumption the most.

As of Nov. 14, Roper Hall consumed the least amount of energy at 42,526 kilo-watt hours.

O'Brien believes it is important for students to see the effects of their efforts. “Studies show it motivates people when they can see their actions make a difference,” O’Brien said. AU kicked off the competition with a “Do it in the dark” event on Nov. 1, in which students living in residence halls were encouraged to turn off their lights from 7-9 p.m. Throughout the competition, students working as Green Eagles are distributing pledges for students and faculty to promise to do at least five things to conserve energy. Over 500 pledges have been taken, according O’Brien. In the residence halls, the Green Eagles are also equipped with Kil-a-watt devices to measure the energy consumption of individual devices in residence rooms. These readings allow individuals to more effectively reduce their energy consumption by seeing which of their devices are using the most energy.

Leonard's Green Eagle, Kayla Ma, says she has seen a lot of positive changes in her residence hall during the competition. Desk receptionists turn out the lights from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., residents on her floor unplug the microwave when it is not in use, and people are overall more conscious of their energy consumption, Ma said. "There's all this great energy to make a change and do good in the world and with our spot in Campus Conservation Nationals, students can take that initiative, make that change, and see their impact," Ma said in an e-mail.

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