IU Bloomington Spring 2016 Energy Challenge is under way

You turn off the lights when you leave the room, you unplug your phone charger when you aren’t using it and you don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth. What else can you do to reduce electrical and water use for the Spring 2016 IU Energy Challenge?

Here are a couple of tips, courtesy of University Information Technology Services and the Sustainable IT Working Group at Indiana University Bloomington:

  • Turn off your computer monitor when you leave your desk for an extended time.
  • Disable your power-gobbling screen savers, which aren’t needed on modern machines, and instead set the display to turn off automatically when the computer is inactive.

Energy Challenge logoThe Energy Challenge began March 21 and continues through April 11, with students, staff and faculty across campus competing to save the most energy and achieve the greatest reductions in water consumption in residence halls, Greek houses and academic buildings.

Launched in 2008 as one of the first initiatives of the IU Office of Sustainability, the Energy Challenge seeks to instill the ethic and habits of conservation by rewarding small behavioral changes that collectively can have a substantial impact on the environment.

“The Energy Challenge is important because it promotes sustainable behaviors across IU’s campus in order to lessen our impact on the world around us,” said Shelly Salo, an IU junior who helps promote the project as an Office of Sustainability intern.

New activities this spring include a social media challenge, in which participants can win gift cards if they take pictures of themselves in energy-saving activities and post them to the IU Energy Challenge Facebook page or tweet them to @HoosierEC; and head-to-head competitions between designated pairs of academic buildings.

Ian Yarbrough of the IU Utility Information Group serves as meter data analyst, collecting and analyzing data to track how much energy and water the buildings have saved from baseline usage.

“I think the Energy Challenge is important as a demonstration that individual effort makes a difference,” he said. “Talking about sustainability is all well and good, but demonstrating an impact is really the goal, and the Energy Challenge does that on a moderately large scale.”

In the Fall 2015 Energy Challenge, the campus reduced usage by 750,256 gallons of water, more than enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool; and 570,128 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which could power more than 50 homes for a year.

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