Campus Conservation Nationals in the Home Stretch!

Published on: 
18 Apr 2013
Hannah Debelius

The Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) competition closes in less than two weeks, and we are just 20,000 kWhs away from our national goal! Thousands of students across the nation have dedicated their time and creativity to “compete to reduce” energy and water consumption on campus and are now waiting to see if we reach the goal of reducing energy consumption by 2 million kWhs.

Almost 200 colleges, including 20 community colleges, have been participating in the largest nationwide electricity and water reduction competition on college and university campuses. Students, faculty and administration have been working together to reduce consumption and mitigate the impacts of climate change. During the competition, which began on February 6, students monitored “regular” energy and water consumption for one week (baseline) and then spent the following three weeks competing to reduce their consumption (reduction percent) using Lucid Design’s Building dashboard. In addition to competing nationally, students have been competing within a local region or between buildings on their own campus.

So far in the competition, enough energy has been reduced to save 2,017,211 pounds of carbon entering the atmosphere. This equates to energy cost savings of over $120,000 for participating institutions. CCN teams, comprised of student leadership, residential life, facilities personal and faculty have found creative ways to inspire students to make behavioral changes. These small changes, such as unplugging appliances or taking shorter showers, have added up to impactful national numbers and spread awareness about energy and water consumption across campuses, departments, and student organizations.

Students have taken this opportunity to get creative about sustainability and climate change. For example, the CCN team at Wentworth Institute of Technology built a giant black box to represent the amount of carbon used by a student in one year. They then re-assembled this box all over campus during their three-week competition to give students an impactful, visual reminder to mind their consumption. Participants also took advantage of social media opportunities, showcasing results or tweeting useful tips such as this tweet from University of Arkansas Campus Sustainability “@UAOFS: In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.”

This year, the National Wildlife Federation additionally elevated the creative side of the competition through a video contest with cash prizes. Students submitted videos spreading awareness of CCN or encouraging students to participate and posted them on NWF’s Campus Ecology Facebook page. The winner will be chosen by popular vote- so make sure to go online to watch the CCN 2013 videos and vote for your favorite CCN video!

CCN is a collaboration between USGBC Students, Lucid, the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance to Save Energy and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support from Constellation Energy, an Exelon company, and United Technologies Corp. For more information, check out the CCN website. If your school would like to participate next year, sign-ups will take place in October 2013. The best way to participate next year and be a part of other national events on college and university campuses is to join or start a USGBC Students group.