For the first time ever the University of Minnesota participated in Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), an energy and water saving competition between residence halls nationwide. CCN serves as a common voice to motivate thousands of students to work together in conserving limited resources. CCN is also about having fun with conservation, they have a poster contest in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation awarding large cash prizes to the top 3 contestants and they set up some great pages for interaction between students in all corners of the US. Participants of CCN have until April 25th to submit their data, check back for the national winners in a few weeks!
University of Minnesota competed in the energy sector because we do not have an accurate means of tracking our water usage. To track energy use, a two week baseline sample was taken before any residents became aware of the competition. After the baseline was complete on-campus residents were notified of our enrollment in CCN 2014 and explained the purpose of our participation- to reduce environmental impact and mitigate the effects of climate change. The residence halls were encouraged to be mindful and conservative of energy during the two week competition, Feb 23nd through March 15th, The residents participating could keep track of each individual halls energy saving progress with the UMN Dashboard, depicting a red or green arrow explaining the amount of energy your hall is either saving or consuming. Students could also read ideas on the dashboard site that would help them conserve energy called "commitments". These commitments are formulated to fit into the everyday lifestyle of a student, they are small tweaks to a daily routine to make a conservation impact. Examples of these commitments are, "adjust your computers power setting so it goes to standby after 5 min of inactivity", "unplug appliances not being used to eliminate vampire power", "combine the contents of your mini fridge with your roommate and use only one", or "take the stairs instead of the elevator".
A total of 116 students made commitments, the most popular commitment made by residents was to "turn off the lights in common spaces at night".The top three residence halls, Yudof, Bailey, and Frontier, saved a total of 9,306 kWh.
Combined, CCN has resulted in a total savings of $92,222.46 (based on our rate of $9.91/kWh). Just goes to show how a little effort goes a long way. It is too often assumed that small conservation efforts don't make a difference, we are here to remind you that It All Adds Up!