Residence halls and co-ops increased their overall water and electricity savings over last year during the 2014 Ecolympics contest, which took place April 4 through April 25. Oberlin was also one of the biggest water reducers in the Campus Conservation Nationals.
Overall, residence halls saved 13,182 kWh of electricity, equivalent to more than the average amount of electricity 1.3 American homes uses in an entire year, according to Oberlin’s Office of Sustainability. The college increased its electricity savings by 3,112 kWh compared with last year’s competition.
The residence halls also saved 55,890 gallons of water — enough to fill about 2,300 bathtubs — representing a savings of 1,353 gallons over last year, or about 54 10-minute showers.
During the three-week competition, students participated in more than 35 educational events, including a DIY planter demonstration, litter and invasive species clearing, and free haircuts, with the hair donated for use in oil spill cleanup.
The winners of the 2014 Ecolympics are:
- Electricity winner: Keep Co-op with a 40 percent reduction. Residents win an ice cream party at Cowhaus Creamery and a water refill station. This is the second consecutive year that Keep has won the electricity competition.
- Water winner: Johnson House with a 60.5 percent reduction. Residents win an ice cream party at Cowhaus, as well as a wonder washer and a water refill station.
- Kitchen Co-op electricity winner: Keep co-op with a 13.9 percent reduction. Residents win another ice cream party at Cowhaus.
- Residence hall participation winner: Harkness Co-op. More than 20 percent of Harkness members attended Ecolympics events and filled out a ticket. They will receive an ice cream party at Cowhaus.
- Top five participants: In addition to the raffle prizes given away at each event, the five students who attended the most events also win prizes. The winners will be contacted by e-mail to claim their prizes.
This year’s Ecolympics included the Oberlin City Schools for the first time. Each school participated and saved a significant amount of energy, with Prospect Elementary as the winner.
Ecolympics is held in tandem with the Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN). This year, Oberlin joined more than 100 colleges and universities in saving 2.2 million kWh of electricity and 476,000 gallons of water. Oberlin was one of the top five water reducers, achieving a reduction of 4 to 17 percent.
Lucid Design Group, a key partner in the Campus Conservation Nationals, began as a student research project at Oberlin under the guidance of John Petersen, professor of environmental studies and biology. Oberlin was the pioneer of Dashboard monitoring, and the college’s energy reduction competition was the precursor to the national competition.
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