120,000 Students Save 500,000 Kilowatt-hours of Electricity in First Annual Campus Conservation Nationals Contest | Alliance to Save Energy

120,000 Students Save 500,000 Kilowatt-hours of Electricity in First Annual Campus Conservation Nationals Contest

Release Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Competition sponsored by Alliance to Save Energy Green Campus Program, Lucid Design Group, National Wildlife Federation

Alliance Green Campus Humboldt State Wins Water Reduction Competition; DePauw University First in Electricity Reduction

For Further Information
Renee Lafrenz 510-451-4081; rlafrenz@ase.org
Eleanor Kim 310-882-8700; ekim@ase.org

For Immediate Release

Oakland, Calif., November 24, 2010 – The results are in for the nation’s largest real-time electricity and water use reduction competition on college campuses, the Campus Conservation Nationals 2010 – and the 40 participating colleges and universities collectively reduced electricity consumption by 508,694 kilowatt-hours to save $50,209 and avoid putting 816,394 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The Alliance to Save Energy, in partnership with Lucid Design Group and the National Wildlife Federation, established the inaugural Campus Conservation Nationals, in which schools competed from November 1-19 to achieve the greatest energy reductions in their residence halls.

“Students can be hugely effective sustainability advocates on their campuses and in their communities,” commented Jo Tiffany, senior director of education for the Alliance’s Green Campus Program. “By doing simple things to make energy use more visible, such as emailing residents their weekly energy use, putting up posters with energy and water savings tips and rewarding building users who achieve the most energy savings, students can combat the ‘hotel mentality” often held by dorm residents who do not pay directly for the energy they consume.”

She added, “We are thrilled that one of our Green Campuses, Cal Poly Pomona, won the state-level competition by making a 4.8 percent reduction in its electricity use.”

“For the Cal Poly Pomona campus, educating students was a key to making Campus Conservation Nationals a success,” said Green Campus student intern Brandon Ro. “We kicked off the competition with an educational movie night and gave out tips on how students can start saving energy.”

“Over the past three weeks, students showed that curtailing electricity and water use is achievable in dorms and residence halls simply by changing their behavior,” said Lucid Public Programs Manager Andrew de Coriolis. “And the savings are impressive – the equivalent of 402,242 miles in a 29-mpg car.”

With 25.8 percent reduction in electricity use, DePauw University is the overall winner and will receive Building Dashboard® for two buildings from Lucid Design Group. The software will enable students to view, compare and share building resource use data, track electricity budgets, host real-time competitions and communicate sustainability efforts to the campus community.

To achieve such substantial reductions DePauw engaged in a wide variety of promotional and marketing activities to motivate its students. Residential Assistants (RAs) on each participating floor made bulletin boards displaying energy saving “Battle Tactics.”

“For us it was really important to have the RAs involved, and know what’s going on, having them challenging their halls to take action was really effective for us,” said Missy Orr, assistant director for sustainability. 

Building on their “Battle Tactics,” students could become “Conservation Vigilantes,” going beyond just taking individual actions by making sure conservation was happening in their neighbors’ rooms. “The Vigilantes were critical, their efforts moved us beyond what each of us have individual control over and really started to build a movement,” said senior Ecology and Society major Taylor Cantril.

As a last push, the DePauw Energy Wars team organized “The Big Turn Off,” an hour-long event that encouraged people to turn off everything in the dorm and congregate in a common area. The event was so effective that “one woman came back to the hall and thought the power was out. The rest of the students pretended to go along with it so she wouldn’t turn any lights on,” said Cantril.  

“For us, these results show that we’ve really built a competition culture over the last few years. People see the publicity around campus, and they know they’ve been involved in the past. Everyone is engaged to a different level, some people don’t care that much, some people do a few things like turn out lights more often and then a smaller group comes to the office and asks what more they can do. That group is getting bigger every year,” said Orr.

“Everyone who had the opportunity to participate should be commended for their individual enthusiasm and collective action in making the first annual competition a huge success. Not only does this prove that behavior change can achieve significant savings, but we’ve taken another significant step toward creating cultures of conservation on campuses,” said de Coriolis.

Nationwide category winners


Campus with the greatest average percent reduction across all participating residence halls: DePauw University – 25.8 percent
Campus with the greatest total reduction across all participating residence halls (per person): DePauw University
Building with the greatest percent reduction: Stratford Heights 8, University of Cincinnati
Building with the greatest total reduction: Cannon Hall, Appalachian State University


Campus with the greatest average percent reduction across all participating residence halls: Humboldt State University – 15.4 percent
Campus with the greatest total reduction across all participating residence halls (per person): Emory University
Building with the greatest percent reduction: Siddall Hall, University of Cincinnati

Regional- and campus-level category winners

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – 4.8 percent reduction in overall energy use

Bowling Green State University – 11.4 percent reduction in overall energy use

New York
St. John’s University – 12.2 percent reduction in overall energy use

To learn more about the competition or join the 2011 competition, visit www.CompeteToReduce.org.


The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy and national security.