University of Richmond placed second in the second-annual Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals competition, an electricity reduction competition against VCU from Feb. 10 to Feb. 28.
This is the second year in a row that Richmond lost to VCU. According to the Sustainability Office's Building Dashboard System, VCU had a 4.9 percent electricity reduction over the course of the competition, while Richmond only had a 3 percent electricity reduction.
Atlantic House was the residence hall on campus that reduced electricity consumption the most during the competition. A water bottle refill station, like those in Boatwright Memorial Library, was supposed to be installed in the winning residence hall, but because Atlantic House already has one, it will receive a different prize and the fountain will be placed in a different location.
Director of Energy Conservation, Megan Zanella-Litke, said students had pledged to unplug electronics when not in use, turn off the lights when they had left a room and turn off computers at night when nobody was using them.
"They're all small actions but when a few thousand students that all live on campus do them, that can amount to significant savings," Zanella-Litke said.
Richmond and VCU have the same building dashboard technology and weather patterns, which made it possible to hold the competition, Zanella-Litke said. At Richmond, the University Forest Apartments competed separately from the residence halls.
According to the dashboard, apartment blocks 200 and 1600, as well as Wood Hall, saw an increase in electricity consumption over the course of the competition.
"Generally speaking, people find it easier to get behind a competition for a good cause than a good cause alone, especially when it involves a rival school like VCU," said freshman EcoRep Andrew Loesch. "With new ideas and events coming from Eco-Reps and GreenUR, I believe that we can emerge victorious in the coming years."
Richmond was winning for a brief period of time during the competition, and was in close contention with VCU for most of it.
As well as tracking the electricity reduction of the residence halls and UFA during the competition, students can also check the dashboard all year round, both online and when it is displayed on the monitors in the dining hall.
The Sustainability Office also promotes Recyclemania and Greeks Going Green, a sustainability competition among the Greek organizations on campus, and will be hosting an e-waste collection on March 6 as well as a clothing swap on March 21.
"In the future, I think we could collaborate more with VCU to hold a big event to get more people involved and thinking about the competition and conservation in general," said sophomore EcoRep Lizzy Harris. "More participation would be ideal.
"The Sustainability Office and EcoReps program tried to get the word out about the competition as best we could but everyone is busy. I think there were a lot of people who didn't know we were having a competition at all."
Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals is the Sustainability Office's biggest event of the year.
Contact Collegian reporter Danielle Schweizer at firstname.lastname@example.org