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Fall Initiatives Save Energy, Money, Emissions

By Sara Cleaves, Sustainability Academy
December 10, 2008

Thanks to student energy captains (in photo: Liz Joseph and Lena Collins) who rally students living in their residence halls or apartments, UNH’s Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge saved more than $16,000 in energy costs -- the emissions equivalent of 112 barrels of oil – from October 1 – December 1, 2008.
Thanks to student energy captains (in photo: Liz Joseph and Lena Collins) who rally students living in their residence halls or apartments, UNH’s Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge saved more than $16,000 in energy costs -- the emissions equivalent of 112 barrels of oil – from October 1 – December 1, 2008.
Credit: UNH Photographic Services

UNH faculty, staff, and students saved approximately 192,000 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of energy, $27,000 in energy costs, and 80 metric ton equivalents of carbon dioxide emissions through the university’s fourth Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge and annual Thanksgiving “power down” initiative.

These energy and emissions savings are the equivalent of 186 barrels of oil or not driving 15 passenger cars for one year.

“The Challenge and power down campaign demonstrate that by working together we can save energy, lower energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Tom Kelly, UNH’s chief sustainability officer. “As part of the sustainable learning community at UNH, faculty, staff and students play important roles in ensuring that we respond to the challenge of climate change.”

Gibbs Hall won the Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge, which rewards the top three residence halls and on-campus apartment complexes that reduce their per capita energy consumption by the largest percentage compared to their building’s average usage from the past three years during the same time period. Eaton, one of UNH’s Mini Dorms, came in second place, and Woodside Apartments came in third.

In total, all halls and apartments saved more than $16,000 in energy costs during the eight-week fall Challenge, which ran Oct. 1 to Dec. 1. These savings translate into emissions the equivalent of 112 barrels of oil or not driving 9 passenger cars for one year.

“The Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge truly shows the impact of student organizations and the huge change that can result from individual actions,” says Rebecca Romanoski, a senior and vice president of the student group that runs the Challenge, the Ecological Advocates. “We are thankful to have such a supportive university and engaged student body. It is our hope and ultimate goal that students will incorporate environmental awareness into their daily habits and lifestyle long after the timeframe of the Challenge.”

“It is great to see students working so hard to reduce waste and energy consumption on campus. Our combined efforts help the environment while also helping to keep costs at UNH down,” says Kathy Irla-Chesney, director of UNH Housing.
 
By “powering down” – turning off computers, lights, office equipment, and electronics – for the Thanksgiving holiday break, faculty, staff, and students saved more than $10,000 in energy costs and emissions reductions equivalent to 70 barrels of oil or not driving five passenger cars for one year. Electronic equipment and appliances can draw 30 percent of their total energy use even when they are turned off but still plugged in.

To learn more about  Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge, visit www.unh.edu/etf/challenge.html.

UNH is a leader in conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating sustainability throughout its curricula, operations, research, and engagement efforts. Committed to being a climate protection campus that pursues a sustainable energy future through emissions reduction policies, practices, research, and education, UNH has earned several awards for its sustainability initiatives, which range from an undergraduate dual major in EcoGastronomy and organic dairy research to having the largest transit system in the state and being the first in the nation to receive an EPA Energy Star building rating for residence halls. Discover the sustainable learning community at UNH at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu and discoversustainability.org.

Thanks to student energy captains (in photo: Liz Joseph and Lena Collins) who rally students living in their residence halls or apartments, UNH’s Student Energy Waste Watch Challenge saved more than $16,000 in energy costs -- the emissions equivalent of 112 barrels of oil – from October 1 – December 1, 2008.
Credit: UNH Photographic Services


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