Mad About Saving Energy

Author: Rachel Novick


Megawatt Madness has come to an end, and the resultant energy savings amply demonstrate the enthusiasm with which Notre Dame students took to this new form of energy competition. Across the campus, students saved almost 57,000 killowatt hours, equivalent to approximately 80,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the three week competition.

“It was fantastic to see the excitement around the event,” said Linda Kurtos, Director of Sustainability. “Not only were the students engaged and excited, but the Rectors added to the excitement by ramping up the competitive spirit through individual challenges. It was great to have the community working together to motivate everyone to lower their energy use.”

Megawatt Madness matched up residence halls in head-to-head competitions that rotated each week. With this structure, halls had a chance to start over each week, which increased their motivation to maximize energy savings. Halls now have an opportunity to choose from a three-tier menu of prizes if they have won one, two, or all three competitions.

“The mini-competition format allowed my dorm to stay focused each week without becoming discouraged by tough competitors,” said Kate Christian, Sustainability Commissioner of Pangborn Hall. “The prizes were definitely helpful in motivating my dorm: everyone saw the rewards of winning for all three weeks and really pushed to make it happen."

Many residence halls have already chosen their prizes, which range from high efficiency appliance upgrades to frozen yogurt parties for the entire dorm. Other halls are still contemplating their choices. Megawatt Madness was sponsored by GreeND, the Office of Sustainability, Students for Environmental Action, the Center for Sustainable Energy, Student Activities Office, Facilities Design and Operations, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and the Athletics Department.