Contest will show which dorm uses least energy

By Erik Allgood and Lauren Laws

University Housing is using the spirit of competition to encourage students go green.

Students in the Pennsylvania Avenue and Illinois Street residence halls are competing with each other in an effort the see which of the four buildings in PAR and which of the two buildings in ISR can conserve the most energy, said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing.

The energy saved will be measured from Feb. 15 to March 15. The winning building will receive a trophy and a special dinner they will help design.

“These students live with a lot of other people and don’t realize the impact they are making with their energy consumption,” Ruby said. “Each student can make a difference, even if they live in a residence hall environment.”

This philosophy seems to have taken hold in the students’ minds.

“The whole floor has been keeping the lights off,” said Danielle Smith, freshman in General Studies and PAR resident. “We’ve been turning off half the lights in the bathroom, and the lights in our room.”

ISR roommates Nathan Springer and Brian Zuro, both sophomores in LAS, have not only kept their lights off and used natural light in the mornings, but have also turned off their appliances when not in use. Springer has even changed the bulb in his desk lamp to a fluorescent.

“Energy conservation is on a lot of people’s minds as of late,” Springer said. “University Housing throwing in a free meal as compensation is fine. If that can get people to turn off lights in their room or switch out lights in desk lamps to be more efficient, then it did its job.”

Zuro said that he believes he is doing all he can to help at the moment.

“I don’t know what I could do more, unless I go to extremes (such as) not use energy,” he said.

Ruby said the idea for this competition occurred when the buildings within PAR and ISR became individually metered. With these new meters, the University can better gauge where the most energy is being used.

“We hope it contributes to the sustainability of the campus and reduces our carbon footprint,” Ruby said. “We also want to be good stewards to the money that students trust us to use in the most efficient way possible.”

Many students hope that the competition expands beyond its boundaries and carries on into habitual use.

“Overall, it will help cut down energy,” Smith said. “I hope this isn’t just for the competition, but stays for the rest of the year,”

Springer agreed.

“I hope that the lessons taught by this little competition will bloom into more common practices for those who choose to participate,” he said.

Ruby said that at this time PAR and ISR are the only residence halls that are individually metered, which is why they are the only halls participating. However, University Housing is working on making all of the other halls individually metered.

“With this competition we want to show residents that they can make choices that are helpful for the environment,” Ruby said.