by Gabe Oppler ’17
Last spring, Haverford Facilities teamed up with Lucid Design Group to install individual electricity meters on 19 campus buildings and track electricity consumption via an online dashboard at www.buildingdashboard.net/haverford. At the beginning of this school year, CER made it one of this year’s priorities to make use of the building dashboard and participate in Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), “the largest electricity and water reduction competition for colleges and universities in the world.” CCN, now in its fifth year, is jointly organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, National Wildlife Federation, and Alliance to Save Energy. Last year, 109 Schools participated with 1,330 Buildings, encompassing 265,000 students, faculty and staff. Through the competition they averted 3 Million lbs of CO2. This year, more than 175 colleges and universities took part in CCN.
Since it was our first year participating, CER thought it would be best to start relatively small; we decided that the three major freshman dorms, Gummere, Barclay and Tritton Halls, would make a natural choice for the competition, especially thanks to the already established “competitive” framework in place due to the Customs Program, as well as natural good-natured rivalry. CER asked each hall in Gummere, Barclay, and Tritton to provide one “ecorep” to be a liaison between the hall and the organizers. The ecorep was responsible for encouraging their hallmates to participate fully in the competition, relaying updated results to their hall, and generally serving as resource for their hall.
The competition ran from February 9th to 27th with the following stated goals:
•A 10% total reduction in electricity usage in Gummere Hall, Barclay Hall, and Tritton Hall.
•Raise awareness on campus about just how much electricity the College uses, the global environmental impact of this use, and the importance of reducing our environmental footprint.
•Inspire the Haverford community to be more conscientious about their electricity usage and ultimately form more environmentally friendly habits. These habits should extend far beyond any individual’s time here at Haverford and into the rest of his or her life.
•Encourage friendly competition that fosters camaraderie within each dorm.
A baseline measurement was taken for the three dorms to which competition data was compared. Each week a winner was established based on the percent decrease from that baseline. As if merely reducing energy consumption wasn’t enough incentive, there were also prizes available for every student in the winning dorm each week: The week 1 winners, Barclay, received custom stickers with the Do it in the Dark logo; in week 2 Gummere residents received custom hand towels with the same logo, and in week 3 Gummere once again won and received stainless steel water bottles with the same logo. The grand prize (determined by the greatest total energy reduction) was awarded to Gummere. The entire dorm enjoyed generous helpings of warm Insomnia Cookies in the Gummere Lounge.
The overall standings finished as follows: Gummere (10.8% reduction), Barclay (6.1% reduction), Tritton (1.1% reduction). Overall we managed to save 1,808 kWh of electricity, avert 2199 lb of CO2, and save $144 for the college.
It is also important to note that although the competition this year was officially between the three dorms, CER wanted all Haverford students to participate in the campus-wide energy reduction campaign. To raise awareness for Do it in the Dark, CER hosted the following events open to all students:
•Kickoff Party in the CPGC Café with Primo Hoagies and cupcakes (Friday 2/6 @ 7pm)
•“Do it in the Dark” Dance in Lunt Basement (2/13)
•Movie Night, WALL-E, with Hummus, Pita, Falafel, and Insomnia Cookies (Friday 2/20 @ 8pm)
Throughout all phases of planning and execution of the competition, CER received tremendous support from many groups on campus. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following groups for their help: Facilities, the CPGC, the President’s Office, Student Activities Office and Students Council.
While the College has made great strides to maximize renewable energy sources (including buying wind and solar energy), the simplest and possibly most effective way that we can decrease our carbon footprint is by simply cutting down on overall usage. We hope that this campaign will be just a first step in a long-term process of improving Haverford’s practices with regards to energy consumption. CER learned a great deal from this first iteration of CCN and looks forward to hosting the competition for many years to come. Despite some logistical hiccups here and there, “Do it in the Dark” was a great success; moving forward we would love to expand the competition to include all residence halls and perhaps, ultimately, all metered buildings on Haverford’s campus.