Today is the kick-off for the 2012 edition of the Green Cup Challenge (January 18 – February 15), a nationwide competition between schools to save electricity, save money, and save the environment.
Last year during the Green Cup, Deerfield Academy reduced our electricity usage by 9.1% from our baseline. This prevented the emission of 64,605 pounds of carbon dioxide (from burning coal) into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, that is roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as would be released by driving Mr. Jewett’s old Subaru for 71,000 miles! Saving electricity also prevents the release of mercury (a neurotoxin), nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides, both of which cause acid rain. Nationwide studies have shown that competitions like Green Cup result in savings of electricity not only during the competition, but afterwards as well, as students incorporate new habits of conservation into their daily routines.
This year we will have three related competitions for the Green Cup. The first will be a Deerfield intramural competition between dorms. The dorm that reduces their electricity usage the most will receive a yet-to-be-announced awesome prize, in addition to all the glory that goes with victory. Smaller prizes will be awarded to the best dorm each week of the competition as well as the best girls dorm and best boys dorm. The second competition will be a head-to-head competition with Phillips Andover. For both of these competitions we can track our relative performance real-time on the Campus Energy Dashboard. The final competition will be the larger Green Cup Challenge against many schools around the Northeast region.
So what can you do?
Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Turn off your computer monitors/TV/X box when you’re not using them. If your desk lamp is an incandescent or halogen bulb, replace it with a compact florescent. Try piling into one room during study hall, to reduce the number of lights needed. Have an “electronics-free” weekend, where you recreate without using electrons – remember cards and board games? Wash your clothes in cold, not hot water. Close your windows when you’re not in the room. Dry your clothes on a rack, not the dryer. Put all of your electronics on a power strip, and turn the whole strip off when you leave or when not needed. Talk to your e-proctor about more energy saving ideas.
Have fun, and remember: every little bit helps!