This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Dorm Energy Conservation Challenge

The College Committee on Sustainability harnessed the competitive spirit between the dorms in a month-long challenge to reduce the campus’s energy usage and raise awareness of sustainable energy use practices. Libby Murphy ’08 proposed the challenge in her interview to become the Buildings and Grounds Sustainability intern, as a way to use the energy meters installed in December of last year. Cushing, Davison, Jewett, Josselyn, Lathrop, Noyes, Raymond, and Strong all competed during the month of April to see which dorm could reduce their energy usage the most by the end of the month. (Main could not compete because of problems with the building’s meters.)

The challenge will complement the Vassar Carbon Reduction Plan, which was presented to President Hill in May as a roadmap to carbon neutrality for Vassar. The result of the challenge was an overall decrease in energy usage of 6.2 percent in all the dorms combined, which is an important step. “We're talking about a situation where small changes really do make a difference,” says Murphy. “I envision that the Dorm Energy Challenge will bring students more in-touch with their energy use and more mindful of the consequences of the day-to-day choices that they make.”

Strong won the competition with the greatest reduction in energy demand per person, followed by Joss and Cushing. Joss lead for the greatest percent reduction as a house, and Cushing followed at second. The new College Committee on Sustainability intern, Aubrey Wynn ’11, is planning more innovative energy challenges for the upcoming year, including challenges between dorms, senior housing, and even academic departments.

September 2008

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