05/13/2014 02:35 PM
BATON ROUGE – Through its annual UNPLUG conservation program, LSU Residential Life recently finished in the top 10 in electricity reduction in the Campus Conservation Nationals 2014 contest, according to information from the organization.
Lucid, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance to Save Energy announced that more than 265,000 students at 109 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada collectively saved more than 2.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to averting 3 million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere and saving $196,000 through the Campus Conservation Nationals 2014 contest.
This year, students also saved nearly 476,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of 1.8 million water bottles, nationwide.
From Feb. 3 to April 25, students, faculty and staff unplugged unused electronics, took shorter showers and turned off lights in common areas, to see which campus buildings could reduce the most energy & water use. Participants organized events, utilized social media and launched creative marketing campaigns to motivate their peers to take personal actions and encourage change in building operations. Through thousands of direct actions and collective effort, CCN participants demonstrated that personal actions can significantly reduce energy use and advance the sustainability of their schools.
Along with LSU, the top 10 schools in electricity reduction were Appalachian State University, Bard College, Berea College, California State University Chico, Dickinson College, Loyola University Maryland, Portland State University, Wake Forest University and Western Carolina University, with an average energy reduction of 17.2 percent.
“This tangible mobilization of hundreds of thousands of students reducing energy consumption, promoting sustainability and actively mitigating the effects of climate change shows that the next generation is ready for change and is no longer willing to wait for decision makers to address the issues at hand,” said Hannah Debelius, USGBC Students program manager, the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council.
Participating schools used Lucid’s Building Dashboard to compare performance, share winning strategies and track standings.
This year’s UNPLUG program at LSU included kickoff events in the campus dining halls. It also included residence hall custodial staff, who hosted quizzes in the lobbies of their communities.
A new aspect during this year’s UNPLUG competition was Resident Advisor Building Captains for each building or community. The captains led the sustainability efforts in their respective buildings, communicating progress to their staff, giving ideas for sustainable-themed programs to host during the competition and more
Karen Rockett, director of housing with LSU Residential Life, said that LSU is up nearly 20 percent in its energy savings from the same time a year ago.
“When we calculate the savings using approximately the same time period last year, we are up 10 percent in savings,” she said. “But, if we use some of last year’s figures to calculate this year’s overall budget to finish the fiscal year and find the percentage, it is a .07 percent savings for those two weeks. At 26 weeks for the year, this gives us an 18.7-percent savings for the year.”
If LSU could enlist such an energy conservation lifestyle for its resident students and maintain it for a year, Rockett said, it could equal about $240,000 in savings in the overall budget.
“It is the equivalent of two air conditioner replacements in our system, or a complete furniture replacement for a building like Evangeline Hall,” she said.
“We are encouraged by this progress and are committed to educating residents on how their actions impact not only LSU but the greater community and world,” said Steve Waller, executive director of residential life and housing at LSU. “By making small adjustments in their daily routines, residents help us keep utility costs down, which subsequently helps us keep rental rates steady but, more importantly, will carry these habits with them after leaving campus.”
To learn more about LSU’s UNPLUG campaign, visit http://unplug.lsu.edu.
“As CCN continues to grow and expand, we are amazed at the impact students and staff are able to make,” said Chelsea Hodge, director of product engagement, Lucid. “These students are demonstrating that creating a culture of conservation and inspiring individuals to change their behaviors can significantly reduce their campus’ carbon footprint.”
To learn more about the program, visit http://www.competetoreduce.org/CCN.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org, explore the Green Building Information Gateway and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About the Center for Green Schools at USGBC
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From kindergarten to college and beyond, the Center works directly with staff, teachers, facility, students, ambassadors, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play. For more information, visit www.centerforgreenschools.org, follow us on Twitter at @mygreenschools, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/centerforgreenschools.
Founded in 2004, Lucid is a privately held software company and a pioneer in providing real-time information feedback to teach, inspire behavior change and save energy and water resources in buildings. Over the past eight years, Lucid's team has endeavored to make resource use visible, accessible and engaging so that building occupants have the data visualization and communication tools to manage and reduce their consumption. Visit www.luciddesigngroup.com, or follow Lucid on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
About The Alliance to Save Energy
Alliance to Save Energy is a non-profit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote energy efficiency to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security. The Alliance's K-12 and higher education programs empower students to change the culture of their academic environment to one that embraces energy efficiency. Students lead no-cost behavior changes, building retrofits, events on green careers and other initiatives that save energy within and beyond their school building.
About National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, working across the U.S. to protect wildlife for our children’s future. NWF’s Campus Ecology Program has been working with colleges and universities for more than 25 years to advance climate action and sustainability on campuses, and to encourage the next generation to seek innovative ways to create a more just and sustainable future for humans and wildlife.
Contact Aaron Looney
LSU Media Relations
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2014