Winners announced for IU Bloomington's Fall 2013 Energy Challenge

Nov. 20, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Collins Living-Learning Center, Tulip Tree Apartments, and Ashton and Read residence centers are among the first-place winners in the Fall 2013 Indiana University Bloomington Energy Challenge. Also winning their divisions were the Maurer School of Law, the Geological Science/Geological Survey building, Jordan Hall and Delta Delta Delta sorority.

The Energy Challenge, a four-week competition to conserve energy and water, ended Nov. 4.

In its inaugural season in 2008, the challenge included only 10 residence halls. This fall, the challenge included 17 residence halls and apartment housing complexes; 15 lab, classroom or administrative buildings; and 13 Greek houses, making it one of the largest energy challenges in the nation.

Compared to their normal usage, the 45 buildings had savings of 1,486,224 gallons of water (enough to fill 60,000 bathtubs) and 1,522,170 kilowatt hours of electricity (the equivalent of taking 1,500 average homes off line during the competition). Each building competed to reduce the largest percentage of water and electricity usage in comparison to each building’s weatherized baseline calculation. The IU Bloomington Utilities Information Group read the meters, and standings were updated twice a week.

"This was the first Energy Challenge that we attempted to account for the way individual buildings respond differently to changing weather conditions due to their unique heating and cooling systems and the way they are connected to central campus systems," said Bill Brown, director of sustainability. "That helps us isolate savings due to behavior change versus savings due to changes in the weather. Sustainability intern and SPEA graduate student Jessica Stavole performed a very comprehensive and complex weatherization and building analysis, and her work will make all future Energy Challenges more accurate and meaningful."

Academic buildings were placed in three categories based on building type: administrative, classroom or laboratory buildings. Residential Programs and Services residence halls and apartment housing were placed in four categories based on location: northwest, northeast, central and southeast neighborhoods. Thirteen sorority and fraternity houses competed in a final category, making eight total for the competition. This year's first-place winners are as follows:

Academic Buildings:

  • Administrative: Maurer School of Law
  • Classroom: Geological Sciences/Geological Survey
  • Laboratory: Jordan Hall

Residence Halls and Apartment Housing:

  • Northwest Neighborhood: Collins Living Learning Center
  • Northeast Neighborhood: Tulip Tree Apartments
  • Central Neighborhood: Ashton Residence Center
  • Southeast Neighborhood: Read Residence Center

Greek Houses:

  • Delta Delta Delta

First-place winners in each of the categories, except Greek housing, will receive a water bottle refill station installed within the buildings. The 13 Greek houses competed for a winner-takes-all grand prize of $600, a fund compiled through Greek house contributions. In addition to winning the competition, Delta Delta Delta received first place in a banner competition, taking home another $50.

"It was great to witness the excitement generated by this fall's Energy Challenge," said Stavole, the Office of Sustainability intern who coordinated the Energy Challenge. "From the Greek banner competition to the programs set up by various building leaders, the efforts made to raise awareness showed that small behavior changes truly do make a difference."

Created in 2010, the fall Energy Challenge provides organizers the opportunity to observe the persistence of conservation behaviors throughout the year. With the help of the Utilities Information Group, organizers will monitor savings between the fall and spring competitions to better understand the long-term impact of behavior change programming.

The Energy Challenge program has saved 5.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity and nearly 10 million gallons of water to date. These electricity savings are equivalent to taking 5,300 homes offline during the competition, and the water savings are equivalent to nearly 10 Olympic swimming pools of water.

As a result of this reduced consumption, the university has saved more than $1.5 million in utility costs and has avoided emitting more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These figures represent only the savings recorded during the four weeks of each Energy Challenge and do not include savings that have accumulated as a result of behavioral changes that stick with occupants after the challenges end.

The Energy Challenge is one of many ongoing sustainability initiatives at Indiana University.