Office of Energy and Sustainability

Oberlin Ecolympics

Ecolympics is back! From March 4th - March 17th 2024.
This year’s Ecolympics theme is to Energy Efficiency, Electrification, and Solarization.

Ecolympics is Oberlin's annual community resource reduction competition and event series that aims to minimize water and electricity usage through behavior change. The goal of the competition is to challenge participants from the college and the community to strive for environmental action at both the individual and local levels. The complementary event series strives to educate members of the Oberlin community by initiating larger conversations about sustainability and resource consumption through events, activities, and more. This year we will also have the city-wide goal to reduce 10,000 gallons of water and 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, so everyone can do their part for energy conservation!

On Oberlin College’s campus there will be a competition between residence halls along with a friendly rivalry between the administration buildings. The Office of Admissions, Cox Administration Building, and Wilder Hall will face-off to find out who can save the most electricity! In the community competition, Oberlin Elementary School, Langston Middle School, and Oberlin High School will be contenders once more. In the competition between municipal buildings, there will be the Prospect Community Center, Oberlin Fire Station, OCSD Board of Education Office, and Oberlin Public Library. 

This year will include the exciting new Ecolympics Challenge on the Beanstack website, kindly sponsored by the Oberlin Public Library. With the assistance of this online platform, participants can log their sustainable activities and earn raffle tickets which they can enter to win prizes! Anyone from the college and from the community is welcome to participate in this challenge.


On Campus

Oberlin College monitors the electricity and water usage of the 85 campus buildings through an online system called BuildingOS. This system is connected to the color-changing orbs located in various residence halls and the Science Center. This year the system will be tracking the separate competitions between buildings within the Oberlin College campus, between the City of Oberlin schools, and certain municipal buildings. 

Participants will be able to track the progress of individual buildings using the link below, which contains up-to-date data regarding the competition. This site can also be accessed via QR codes that are posted around campus.


Check Ecolympics Standings in Real Time!

Who is winning?

To track current leaderboards in real time, please visit the Ecolympics Environmental Dashboard for all participants.


Participate in the Ecolympics Challenge

Register for the Ecolympics Challenge, in collaboration with the Oberlin Public Library, and win lots of great prizes! Pre-registration is open now. The Ecolympics Challenge will officially begin on Monday, March 4th. When registering, please indicate you are part of the Oberlin College compeition, not the community competition, as the tasks have been tailored to each category of participants. 

The first 400 people who register will receive glasses for the upcoming eclipse. During the two weeks of Ecolympics, complete as many challenges as possible to win raffle tickets for sustainability prizes including drying racks, metal beverage cups, dryer balls, plants, and more!


Allencroft (electricity only)

Asia House (electricity only)

Bailey (both electricity and water)

Baldwin (both electricity and water)

Barnard (both electricity and water)

Barrows (both electricity and water)

Burton (both electricity and water)

Dascomb (both electricity and water)

East (both electricity and water)

Fairchild (both electricity and water)

Firelands (both electricity and water)

Harkness (both electricity and water)

Harvey (both electricity and water) 

Johnson House (both electricity and water)

Kade (both electricity and water)

Kahn (both electricity and water)

Keep (both electricity and water)

Lord-Saunders (both electricity and water)

Noah (both electricity and water)

North (both electricity and water)

Old Barrows (both electricity and water)

Price (both electricity and water)

South (both electricity and water)

Talcott (both electricity and water)

Tank (both electricity and water)

Union (both electricity and water)

Zechiel (both electricity and water)

Track the progress of a dorm or campus building


Ecolympics is celebrating its second year back after a multi-year hiatus! During the gap between competitions, some of the meters for water and electricity were unable to be regularly checked. Although we have been diligently repairing meters for the last couple of years, the construction on meters is an ongoing process that takes extensive time and collaboration between a variety of technical experts. 

Because of this, not all buildings may be able to compete individually for water and/or electricity, but Ecolympics is more than just a competition, it’s a community effort to conserve resources and inspire environmental action. With the community-wide goal to reduce 10,000 gallons of water and 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, everyone can be a part of the effort to make the broader Oberlin community a more sustainable neighborhood. 

Village Housing is unfortunately not metered, but Village Housing residents can still contribute to sustainable change! If you are a Village Housing resident and would like to see what you can do to help your community save water and electricity, visit the Environmental Dashboard.

Admissions (electricity only)

Cox  (electricity only)

Wilder  (electricity only)

Energy Reduction Tips



Wash your clothes with cold water (use up to 90% less energy!)

Use wool dryer balls to reduce your drying time

Put your dryer on the “low dry” setting

Air dry clothing when possible 



Turn off power strips or unplug chargers or lamps when not in use

Turn on sleep settings for devices, sound machines, etc



Don’t put hot leftovers directly into the fridge (let them reach room temperature first)

Turn the stove off a couple of minutes before your food is done and use the residual heat to finish the cooking


Residence hall/house

Open your blinds during the day to take advantage of the natural lighting

Close blinds to cool rooms when they are hot

Turn off lights, fans, etc. when you leave the room!

Close blinds (especially at night) when the heating is on to keep your room warm. If you have control over your heating, set it to a lower temperature!



Plan your meeting or study sessions in common spaces where you don't need additional electricity

Communal activities often use less resources! Make dinner together or hang out to watch a show, listen to music, etc.

Water Reduction Ideas



Only wash full loads of laundry and only wash when your clothes are actually dirty- combine with a friend if it is urgent! 


Turn off the water while brushing teeth, shaving, shampooing, and/or conditioning

Take shorter showers- set a timer or make a playlist and stick with it!

Use the appropriate setting on dual flush toilets 

Report any leaky faucets or toilets that won’t stop flushing - 



Turn off the water while washing dishes

Collect water while waiting for it to warm up- use it for plants!

Pre-soak particularly dirty dishes instead of scrubbing under running water