Hobart and William Smith Colleges won first place in the Fall 2014 New York Negawatt Challenge, reducing electricity usage by 5.1 percent during the competition, which is part of the Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN). HWS competed against the other five institutions that are part of the New York Six Consortium: Colgate University, Hamilton College, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, and Union College. The competition ran from Oct. 29 through Nov. 19.
Average campus electricity usage was determined in the two weeks prior to the Negawatt Challenge and was then monitored in the Scandling Campus Center, Warren Hunting Smith Library, and Caird, de Cordova, and Emerson Halls via the Lucid Dashboard. HWS realized a savings of more than 12,627 kWh over the course of the competition and Emerson Hall had the lowest energy intensity at .38 kWh/ square foot during the challenge period.
“This year was a great example of many people and organizations across the HWS campus participating in sustainability initiatives. The CCN win this year was truly a team win,” says Sustainability Manager Adam Maurer.
A number of events were held during the CCN Negawatt Challenge that reinforced the message of electricity conservation in fun or informative ways. Among these were an acoustic open mic night titled, “Turn Down (Energy) for What!” which was co-sponsored by Campus Activities Board (CAB), Residence Hall Association, and Office of Sustainability; Glow in the Dark Bowling (co-sponsored by CAB and Office of Sustainability); and Dining in the Dark in Saga, during which reduced lighting was used in Saga during all hours of operation throughout the entire three-week competition. Additionally, windows were painted in the Scandling Campus Center reminding people to “Keep Calm and Conserve On.”
“While the Colleges purchase 100 percent of our electricity through wind power, we still have to pay so much per kWh,” explains Maurer. “So it is in the institution’s best interest financially to reduce our electricity usage – which then reduces the need to produce this electricity and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.”
The Colleges participated in the fall this year for the first time. This was the fourth annual participation in the Campus Conservation Nationals.
Hobart and William Smith have committed to achieving climate neutrality (net zero emissions) by 2025, as part of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. An Energy and Climate Committee made up of facilities staff, the sustainability manager, a Hobart student, and a William Smith student meet monthly to discuss strategies in reducing campus energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. More information about HWS’ sustainability initiatives and the Climate Action Plan are available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.