Muir Hall residents celebrated their victory of the Annual Conservation and Diversion Challenge like a junior baseball team after winning the championship; with ice cream.
The Annual Conservation and Diversion Challenge (AC/DC) is held by Cal Poly’s Green Campus Team to bring awareness to the impact of energy and water reduction. The competition was between the six South Mountain residence halls.
“Too often we see students graduating from the university and not being able to talk about why energy efficiency matters. And we believe that by targeting freshman students, we are able to see a culture change from day one,” Green Campus Manager and agricultural systems senior Molly Barker said.
This year, the competition was held in fall quarter, during the first two weeks of November.
“Our goal in doing the competition so early in the year was to make sure that students are aware that reducing is even an option in the dorms and encourage them to keep reducing throughout the year,” Green Campus Team member Adriana Long said.
The effects of increased and sustained reduction not only benefit the environment, they also decrease the cost that Cal Poly spends on electricity per month. In total, the red bricks as a whole saved 15,708 kilowatt hours of electricity and 48,662 kilowatt hours of water in November compared to October’s data. This information was collected via Lucid, a building energy management program used for the competition.
“Muir reduced 20 percent of their electricity and the whole challenge saved housing $3,000, I believe, in just two weeks,” Long, an environmental earth and soil science sophomore, said. “Which is maybe a small amount in comparison to everything else they spend, but that is still money saved.”
As of now, the competition is only among a limited number of freshman students on campus due to the high cost of the Lucid program. According to Barker, Lucid is able to measure the kilowatts per hour and gallons of water used in each building. The program then sends that information to a “digital dashboard” that can be accessed by any device with internet.
“The system was sort of piloted in the red brick [residence halls], but the long-term expectation of the program is to be university-wide,” Barker said.
With this intent in mind, the Green Campus Team will continue to host events that highlight the different ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. In the upcoming quarters, the team will be hosting another competition among resident students concerning waste and recycling.
“If we can show the college what investing our time into these types of programs can do, then that would be awesome,” Long said.