The first Townhouse/Apartment Spring Electricity Competition began in the Spring of 2011 as a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and the Student Association. This competition has now become an annual Spring event.
The premise of the competition is to educate the senior class (and juniors) living in the townhouse/apartments about their electricity consumption and present them with the very stark reality of paying bills after graduation. The competition runs from 3-4 weeks. At the start of each week, every student is e-mailed an excel spreadsheet of what their electricity usage was the past week (and then it’s calculated to what their monthly usage would be as well as the monthly bill based on that week’s usage). As the competition progresses, they are given how much kWh they save (if they reduce their usage) and how much that would make their bill go down.
Several educational programs are offered during the competition that include a presentation by a representative from Efficiency Vermont to talk about basic electricity usage and offer tools and tips on lowering kWh usage. The Office of Sustainability also lends out Watts Up meters for students to investigate the wattage of individual appliances to understand where their biggest usage comes from. Members from the Office of Sustainability also offer personal one-on-one electricity consultation during which the staff walks the students through their apartment and notes areas for them to improve their conservation habits. All programs offer incentives for students to take advantage of.
The grand prize (offered to the townhouse/apartment unit in each living area that has made the largest reduction per capita) is a catered local dinner and bragging rights.
The Spring 2011 competition resulted in a savings of 25,758 kWh over three weeks!