More than 265,000 students at 109 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada participated in Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) 2014, competing to reduce their energy and water use on campus. Collectively, they saved over 2.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity — equivalent to averting 3million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere or taking 201 homes off the grid for a year. Students also saved nearly 476,000 gallons of water, or the equivalent of 1.8 million water bottles. With energy and water combined, CCN saved schools an estimate total of $198,000.
From Feb. 3 to April 25, students, faculty and staff switched off unused electronics, took shorter showers and turned off lights in common areas, all to see which campus buildings could reduce the most. Participants organized events, utilized social media and launched creative marketing campaigns to motivate their peers to take personal actions and encourage change in building operations. CCN participants demonstrated once again that personal actions can significantly reduce energy use and advance the sustainability of their schools.
With 13 group competitions involving almost half of all participants, the competition between schools heated up. Appalachian State University not only won their group competition against Western Carolina University, but both schools were in the Top 10 for energy reduction. “We had a lot of fun with Western Carolina through social media and in pointing out different strategies. It was a good, friendly competition with them,” said Donna Presnell, Communication Coordinator at Appalachian State University. Her colleague, Data and Assessment Specialist Jim Dees, chimed in that “One of [Appalachian State’s] largest dorms had a 31% energy reduction because of this competition – that put a big, green smile on our face.”
The National Wildlife Federation also hosted a poster contest offering a $500 grand prize. Columbia University won best poster their “I commit to power down” theme with more than 700 votes from CCN participants. Penn State University posters won second, third, and fourth place for their posters featuring tips to reduce water and energy with eco-friendly washing tips; and Dickinson College came in fifth place with their “Lights Out” poster.
CCN is a partnership between the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Lucid, the National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance to Save Energy. Check out our total results, the top 10 schools for energy reduction, and the top 5 schools for water reduction in the infographic below and on http://www.competetoreduce.org!