The Collegian
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Richmond competes in national energy saving contest

Campus Conservation Nationals is hosting Richmond's second "Dorm Wars," a national sustainability competition from Feb. 6-26.

Caitlin Bonney, president of Richmond's U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), said she and her fellow council members would measure the amount of energy used by students in each dormitory on campus for three weeks.

"Basically, it's an energy reduction competition," Bonney said. "It promotes environmental awareness around campus and encourages students to lead more sustainable lifestyles."

The main goal of Richmond's involvement in the contest was to show students that they could have a positive impact on the environment -- even with the smallest gestures, Bonney said.

"We want to show people that they can do simple things to better the world around us," Bonney said. "Turn the lights off, take shorter showers, unplug your electronics -- all of these things use electricity and can be limited."

Bonney also said that the USGBC Richmond sector had an online pledge where students can commit to simple acts of environmental sustainability and encourage their peers to do the same.

Every Sunday, Bonney and her fellow councilmen will collect data from the energy meters located in each dormitory, she said. This data will tell which dormitory has conserved the most electricity throughout the week, and will be projected on various television screens around campus, Bonney said.

Megan Zanella-Litke, head of sustainability coordination on campus, said 150 colleges and universities were competing nationwide.

"Collectively, all the schools are trying to save a gigawatt of electricity," Litke said. "But we are focusing more on having our dorms compete against each other."

Bonney said members of the Richmond USGBC hoped that the competition would give students the incentive to change how they behave toward electricity usage.

"We actually had an increase in energy usage during the competition last year," Bonney said. "Hopefully we'll do a little better this time around."

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