02/28/2012 08:42 AM
BATON ROUGE – LSU students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments will participate in the fourth annual UNPLUG energy conservation competition as part of Campus Conservation Nationals 2012, a nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities created by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council through its Students Program and in partnership with Lucid, Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation.
Hosted by LSU Residential Life, Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE, and LSU Campus Sustainability, UNPLUG pits 10 residential communities against one another to conserve energy and water for three weeks in March.
UNPLUG seeks to promote an understanding throughout the LSU on-campus community of what energy conservation entails, by empowering students to take action in their daily lives. This is done by working to reduce the students’ own personal carbon footprint and, consequently, increase the university’s contribution to conservation of resources and energy efficiency.
Residence hall communities taking part in this year’s competition include Miller Hall; Herget Hall; the Blake Hall and McVoy Hall community; the Honors Community of West Laville and Acadian halls; the Horseshoe Community of Evangeline, Highland, Annie Boyd and Louise Garig halls; the Broussard/Pentagon community, which includes Broussard Hall and the Pentagon halls of Beauregard, Taylor, LeJeune and Jackson; the Residential College One Community of West and South Halls; Kirby Smith Hall; East Campus Apartments; and West Campus Apartments.
This year’s program will continue to incorporate the Do One Thing, or DOT, campaign, created by Saatchi & Saatchi. DOT is a nationwide movement in which participants make an online pledge to “Do One Thing” for environmental sustainability. A DOT pledge can be anything from unplugging charger devices when not in use, walking instead of driving or using reusable bags when shopping. The goal of DOT is to show how everyone’s small DOT can together to make a much larger impact.
During the campaign, on-campus residents will take part in hall pre-program educational sessions to learn about sustainable efforts, and to help them choose their DOT pledge. Students will be educated on how to reduce energy consumption by making small adjustments to daily behaviors, such us unplugging phone chargers when not in use, doing full loads of laundry or turning off lights when not use. The program officially kicks off on Thursday, March 8, at The 459 Commons and The 5 dining halls during lunch.
For three weeks in March, in-hall professionals will record meter readings to help declare the winning communities. Residents and the greater campus community can follow the results at the LSU Campus Conservation National Lucid Dashboard at www.competetoreduce.org. The residence hall community and the apartment community with the greatest reduction in energy usage, as compared to a baseline average, will be declared the winners and enjoy a celebration party in their community.
The 2011 competition yielded an average 3.7-percent reduction in energy consumption over a one-month period, according to final statistics. The reduction translated to estimated savings of $2,470. Residential College One, comprised of the Business and Engineering Residential Colleges, led the Residential Life competition and won the residence hall category with a 13-percent reduction. In the apartment category, the West Campus Apartments won with a 6-percent reduction.
The UNPLUG competition has been lauded since its inception in 2009. That year, the program was awarded an Environmental Leadership Program, or ELP, Award in Pollution Prevention from the Louisiana State Department of Environmental Quality. The ELP awards recognize businesses, communities, schools and universities for their commitment toward improving the quality of Louisiana’s environment through environmental stewardship.
Students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments yielded an average 18 -percent reduction in energy consumption, an estimated $13,763 in savings, over a one-month time period during the 2009 UNPLUG competition.
In 2010, LSU Residential Life and its energy conservation efforts received top honors from the Southern Public Relations Federation, or SPRF, at its annual conference. The prestigious Lantern Award recognized the UNPLUG competition as a top regional, short-term public relations campaign.
That year, UNPLUG yielded an average 14-percent reduction in energy consumption, an estimated $10,368 in savings, over a one-month time period in March 2010.
“Through educating and motivating students on how small adjustments in their daily routines can positively impact the world around them, the organizations involved in this competition seek to help the LSU community practice energy efficiency in everyday living,” said Colby Kinder, Residence Life Coordinator and Sustainability Education Committee chair for LSU Residential Life.
For more information on the “Do One Thing” campaign, visit www.strategyforsustainability.com/do-one-thing.
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2012