120,000 College Students Spent November Competing to Reduce Energy Use

© competetoreduce.org
© competetoreduce.org

This November, NWF co-sponsored (with the Alliance to Save Energy) the first national Lucid Design Group contest, the “Campus Conservation Nationals,”  among 40 U.S. campuses to reduce (in real time) energy usage in their residence halls.  Full information about the contest can be found at competetoreduce.org.

The contest ran for 20 days, and  Lucid Design Group placed monitoring systems in the dorms so that students could see their actual energy use – and could take steps to lower it – by dorm building.

Lucid Design develops dashboards that convert energy management into actual social networks.

During the 20 days, 120,000 students in these schools collectively reduced electricity consumption by 508,694 kilowatt-hours to save $50,209 and avoid putting 816,394 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

With a 25.8% reduction in electricity use, DePauw University was the top campus reducer. The school engaged in a wide variety of activities for promotion, marketing and motivating students, including having the Residential Assistants on each participating floor to create bulletin boards with energy-saving “Battle Tactics” to provide students with inspiration on ways to conserve. Humbolt University was the winner for water conservation, with a campus-wide reduction of 15.4%.

“Everyone who had the opportunity to participate should be commended for their individual enthusiasm and collective action in making the first-annual competition a huge success. Not only does this prove that behavior change can achieve significant savings, but we’ve taken another significant step toward creating cultures of conservation on campuses,” said Andrew de Coriolis, Public Programs Manager at Lucid.

Organizers are hopeful that getting 120,000 students from campuses from Kentucky to California and from Ohio to New York active in energy and water conservation will yield lasting results far beyond the 20 days of the contest. In addition to increasing awareness and understanding of energy and water conservation, the contest may have helped students change the longterm patterns for their water and electricity use. Research has confirmed that 21 days is the time it takes to create a new habit, so that by the end of the Campus Conservation Nationals, there is reason to hope that the new behaviors developed will have become a new part of the students’ daily lives.