Students compete to lower electricity consumption in their residences

By: Buff Lindau

heather ellis lynchAbout 500 Saint Michael's College students who reside in the college's townhouses and apartments saved 37,497 kWh of electricity in just three weeks in April solely by changing their behaviors. In the 3rd annual Townhouse/Apartment Electricity Competition, students in those residences were challenged to and succeeded in turning off lights, unplugging chargers, and limiting any and all electricity consumption.

"Imagine what the savings could be if we all paid a little bit more attention to our electricity consumption habits year-round," asked Heather Ellis-Lynch, Saint Michael's Coordinator of Sustainability, who organized the competition.

During the spring semester each student in the Townhouses, Hodson Hall and the Ethan Allen Apartments received an excel spreadsheet that had their baseline usage, weekly usage update, and an account of what they could expect their monthly electricity bill to be based on the previous week's usage. By knowing the facts and monitoring their usage, they lowered their bills and lessened energy consumption.

For the past three years at the end of each spring semester, the Office of Sustainability, headed by Heather Ellis-Lynch, has organized the three-week electricity competition. Just under 500 students were challenged to see which units in each area would have the lowest total per capita kWh over the three-week period.  The winners received a delicious local meal from Sugar Snap (thanks to the Student Association).

Students were also able to check-out a Watts Up Pro meter to learn about the electricity consumption of their appliances. Ellis-Lynch offered all members of the campus community a chance to borrow a Watts Up Meter to inventory their appliances.

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