Past Chill Out Contest Winners Parlay Achievement into $$$

With the deadline for National Wildlife Federation’s 2011 Chill Out Innovation Competition  drawing near, many schools are only just getting around to submitting entries. Since both faculty and students are increasingly busy at this time of year, as holidays and exams put more demands on time, we here at Campus Ecology want to share a story of one of our past Chill Out winners as an example of the kind of benefit that entering Chill Out can provide to a school.

In 2008, University of Missouri in Columbia won the Chill Out award in Energy Efficiency for its intelligent and creative energy plan. Thanks to the plan, the University of Missouri managed to prevent global warming pollution emissions growth during a time of rapid expansion. Since the inception of its energy conservation program in 1990, campus space has grown by nearly 60 percent, but total campus energy use has been reduced by 19 percent, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 104,000 tons each year.

The student who submitted UM’s entry was Jason Fox. You can see the winning video below:


Fox credits the recognition that University of Missouri received after winning Chill Out with helping them to stand out a year later, when they successfully applied for a grant of about $45,000 from the Rocky Mountain Institute to further develop energy-saving programs, expand the Building Dashboard program, and educate students on energy conservation.

Since then, University of Missouri has further established itself as a role model in environmentally-friendly use of energy. Currently, the MU power plant blends 10 percent fuel derived from recycled tires with coal — annually saving up to $300,000 in fuel costs — and by 2012 the plant will have installed a new boiler to burn 100 percent biomass fuel.

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized MU’s power plant with a 2010 EPA Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award — one of only three universities in the nation to receive the honor. MU has been working hard to achieve these accomplishments and honors for nearly a decade now, and one of the stepping stones along the way was the distinction of being recognized by National Wildlife Federation as a Chill Out 2008 Winner.

What could winning an award in this year’s Chill Out contest mean for your school? How would the increased profile and nationwide recognition affect the sustainability projects and initiatives you want to see implemented? 

Create a two-minute video today to tell us about what your campus is doing to be a Climate Action leader and find out!