NEWS

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March 6, 2007

Dorms slash energy use for Battle of the Bulbs

[img id="80173" align="alignleft"] The Battle of the Bulbs electricity-reduction competition ended last week, with Burton-Judson (B-J) emerging as the clear winner.

B-J decreased its electricity usage by 20 percent during the month of February. Shoreland came in second with an overall reduction of 15 percent, followed by Blackstone at 11 percent. Pierce came in last with no decrease in electricity use from this time last year.

The final week saw some of the highest reduction rates of the entire competition, amounting to a 17 percent overall decrease in energy use. Shoreland residents earned an honor for a 45 percent energy reduction.

The lessons learned from Battle of the Bulbs have a direct effect on students, said Christopher Keating, the director of residence halls and commons. Lower energy use would ultimately reduce the student housing fee.

Keating said that it is hard to compare electricity usage between dorms that are constructed so differently, but it was impressive that most dorms still managed to reduce their usage.

The Battle of Bulbs accomplished its goal of increasing student awareness of energy efficiency, said Dan Schnitzer, a fourth-year and competition organizer. “We set out targets each week to reduce electricity by 5, 10, and 20 percent, but there wasn’t any way going into it to know if it was possible,” he said.

Kate Michonski, a Green Campus Initiative (GCI) member, said that Battle of the Bulbs was more successful than she had expected. She said she learned a lot from the experience and would like to make Battle of the Bulbs a permanent fixture at the U of C.

“It could be done better next year if we did it for a shorter period of time so enthusiasm stayed high,” Michonski said.

As a prize for winning Battle of the Bulbs, B-J will receive a study break from GCI and a trophy from Material Exchange, a student organization on campus.