Energy Challenge Achieves Significant Savings

Author: Rachel Novick

old cos energy challenge

The year-long Energy Challenge between the College of Science and the Main Building has ended with victory for the Main Building and significant savings for both competitors. The Main Building used 11.9% less electricity than in previous years, resulting in an avoided cost of $4,693. The much larger College of Science used 4.3% less electricity than in previous years, resulting in an avoided cost of $39,747.

Both the College of Science and the Main Building undertook considerable efforts to encourage energy conservation during the course of the Challenge. In the Main Building, a committee of Challenge Leaders representing the various departments in the building encouraged their office-mates to turn off unnecessary lights and to shut down computers and other office equipment at the end of the day.

“We reduced expenses, reduced non-recyclable waste, reduced energy usage, and learned a lot of “green” facts and figures during announcements at monthly staff meetings,” said Anne Veselik, Challenge Leader for the Office of the Graduate School. “We will gladly continue our new office practices even after conquering our competition!”

“Being able to use the weight of a team challenge as leverage really helped get everyone on board with this worthwhile project: the small things DO count!” added Susan Shields, Challenge Leader for the Office of University Relations.

The College of Science efforts focused primarily on laboratory efficiency. “We created and posted signs to encourage everyone to turn off lights and close fume hoods and conducted building energy audits and fume hood audits,” said Bill O’Hayer, Business Manager of the College of Science. “We concentrated out efforts on the high impact areas such as fume hoods, which drove significant savings in Jordan Hall, enabling us to keep costs even during a time when overall use of the building increased.”

Dean Gregory Crawford also met with College of Science night-shift custodial staff to ask for their assistance in reducing lighting usage overnight. The custodians of Hurley Hall said, “We are doing everything we can to keep energy use down when we are working at night.” They also suggested opportunities to save hundreds of dollars worth of electricity each year by adjusting the timers on the ornamental lighting in Hurley Hall’s Globe Room.

Office of Sustainability staff supported the competition by conducting energy audits of laboratories and offices and developing an Energy Challenge website to track performance and provide energy-saving tips and strategies. Take a look at the COS Webpage and the Main Building Webpage used to track energy use during the compeition.

The awareness raised by the Energy Challenge will undoubtedly continue to yield benefits. As Liz Rosencrantz, Challenge Leader for the Office of the Registrar, put it, “I am thrilled that ND is creating initiatives to help the campus become greener. Bring on the next challenge…”