Skidmore College is announcing their second annual participation in Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), the largest nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities. The competition was created by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and is carried out in partnership with Lucid, Alliance to Save Energy, and the National Wildlife Federation. Students on campuses across the country, including Skidmore College, will compete to achieve the greatest reductions in the electricity consumption in their residence halls over a three-week period that runs from February 11th to March 4th.
The Campus Conservation Nationals allows Skidmore to compete against other schools that are located in our area and have similar student demographics (Hobart & William Smith College, Hamilton College, St. Lawrence University, and Colgate University) for the largest total percentage in electricity reduction. The savings from all participants accumulate to reach a national challenge goal of one gigawatt-hour of energy saved. Using Lucid’s Building Dashboard®, participating schools will be able to instantly compare performance, share winning strategies and track standings among the leading schools and buildings. With generous sponsorship from United Technologies Corp, Sloan, Sterling Planet and Constellation Energy, CCN is an opportunity to organize students and staff to make immediate and lasting impacts on a school’s carbon emissions and campus culture.
The same idea applies on a smaller scale here on campus for an internal competition during the same timeframe called Skidmore Unplugged, which is now in its 4th year. Skidmore Unplugged is a competition aimed to inspire behavior change towards an energy conscious lifestyle. The eight on-campus residence halls compete for the largest percent reduction in energy consumption, which enables direct comparison of residence halls of varying occupancy and size. This year is also the third year that Skidmore College has partnered with Chipotle Mexican Grill to encourage participation in the competition. With their generous support, participants are rewarded for positive behavior change when they commit to reducing their electricity use in the residence halls. The residents of the winning residence hall in the 2012 competition, Kimball Hall, reduced their total energy consumption by 5.49%, or 938 kWh, which is similar to the amount of electricity consumed by a refrigerator for an entire year in a typical home.
A large part of the success of this competition on Skidmore’s campus is due to the ten Sustainability Representatives (S-Reps) living in the residence halls, and the two student managers of the program. S-Reps are Skidmore students who raise awareness about sustainability initiatives on campus and find ways for residents to become engaged. Ultimately the goal is to encourage students to change their behaviors in order to reduce the overall campus environmental and social impact. During the Skidmore Unplugged energy competition, the S-Reps host events in the residence halls, table in the Dining Hall Atrium, and collaborate with other student groups, such as the Peer Health Educators, to highlight the various connections to sustainability and electricity reductions. To learn more about the S-Rep program, you can check out the Sustainable Skidmore website here.