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Residence Halls Gear Up For Inaugural Energy Challenge

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010

Santa Clara University will kick off its inaugural Residence Energy Challenge in the coming weeks to encourage a low-energy diet for on-campus dwellers. Organizers believe the three-week contest between the university’s Residential Learning Communities will unite students to slash wasteful energy use and promote more sustainable living.

All eight RLCs will compete to reduce their total energy consumption, but will actually have only themselves to beat. Each community, confined to specific residence halls, will use energy data from years past to determine how they size up during the upcoming contest. The per-capita model prevents the CyPhi community, with almost 400 residents, from competing unfairly with the Xavier community, with about half as many residents. Students will be able to keep track of their residence hall’s energy use and compare it to others with Santa Clara’s Electricity Graphing System.

Students are encouraged to get creative with their energy-saving techniques, but common actions including turning off lights in rooms when not in use, taking advantage of natural daylight and using the stairs instead of the elevator. Residents can also use common study spaces to share their energy use with others.

Rooms can undergo voluntary energy audits throughout the contest. Auditors hope to catch students green-handed – with things like open blinds during the daytime and unplugged appliances that aren’t always used. If not, auditors will be happy to offer advice on ways to save energy in the living space.

A dinner and dance for residents on Feb. 24 will mark the contest’s halfway point. The Low-Carbon Diet dinner in Market Square will highlight locally grown foods requiring less carbon to produce and transport. A Save Rave dance party in the Bronco later that night will feature a DJ and glow-in-the-dark party favors.

The competition will begin Valentine’s Day and run through the first week of March. In addition to bragging rights, the winning RLC will receive a pizza party and 50 tickets to Sky High Sports in Santa Clara. Additional tickets to the gym featuring wall-to-wall trampolines will be available depending on how much energy the community chops off compared to previous years.

Check out the competition flier here.

To learn more about the competition, see which RLC is in the lead and discover more energy-saving tips, visit the Residence Energy Challenge web page.

By Cara Uy, '11, Sustainability Intern. Contributions by Chris Woodhouse, '10, Sustainability Intern

Tags: Buildings and Grounds, Energy, Program Highlights, Residence Life



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