Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Emilie Rex
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Energy Challenge has IU Bloomington buildings competing to conserve this month

April 2, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's Energy Challenge, a competition to conserve energy and water, will celebrate its fifth running April 2 to 23.

To mark the beginning of the competition, representatives from the 60 participating buildings will join the Jefferson Street Parade Band for the Energy Challenge Parade. The group will meet at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, at the Sample Gates, then march through campus. All students, faculty, staff and Bloomington community members are welcome to attend.

In its inaugural season in 2008, the challenge included only 10 residence halls. In 2009, the competition grew to 18 Greek houses, and in 2010, the first eight academic buildings joined the challenge. This spring, 21 academic buildings, 23 Greek houses, all 12 residence halls and, for the first time, four apartment complexes will participate.

Residence halls and apartment complexes also will be competing in the 2012 Campus Conservation Nationals, a nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities created by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council through its Students Program. IU Bloomington joins the ranks of nearly 250,000 students at 150 universities and colleges nationwide, all competing over a three-week period of their choosing between Feb. 6 and April 23.

As in the IU Bloomington Energy Challenge, each residence hall and apartment complex will compete to reduce the largest percentage of water and electricity usage in comparison to a baseline measurement for its building. These savings will be aggregated with all other participants to determine the national savings. Nationwide, participants have exceeded the original goal of one gigawatt-hour of savings (one million kilowatt-hours), having reduced electricity usage by over 1.8 gigawatt-hours.

"Watching the Energy Challenge evolve into a nationwide competition has been extremely rewarding. As we aggregate our savings with those of other schools, it really helps to open our eyes to the huge impact our Energy Challenge has," said Nolan Hendon, the utilities conservation intern at the IU Office of Sustainability. "Just a three-week push to reduce electricity consumption by several schools across the country may result in a savings of over 2 gigawatt-hours. It is exciting because there are so many more people at each school that can be reached out to, and the savings could continue to increase."

In 2010, a Fall Energy Challenge was developed at IU Bloomington to observe the impact of the program on student, faculty and staff behavior throughout the year. Usage data from November 2010 and February 2011 have been recorded and compared to average usage data for these time periods over the past three years. On average, academic buildings and residence halls consumed below these baselines, suggesting that the Energy Challenge alters behavior beyond the four weeks of the competition. This spring's challenge will provide further feedback on the lasting impacts of the Energy Challenge.

To date, the Energy Challenge program has saved over 3.1 million kWh of electricity and more than 6.5 million gallons of water and has avoided nearly 6.8 million pounds of CO2 emissions. As a result of this reduced consumption, the university has saved more than $350,000 in utility costs. These figures represent only the savings recorded during the four weeks of each Energy Challenge and do not include savings that have accumulated as a result of behavioral changes that stick with occupants after the challenges end.

"Energy Challenge has shown that behavior change is one of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures," said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability. "In addition to the savings during the challenge, we have found that conservation behavior persists for months, which has saved the university over a million dollars since the first Energy Challenge. We are excited to be competing nationally for the first time and happy to see more than half of the campus buildings and nearly all resident students included in this year's event."

The Energy Challenge is one of many ongoing sustainability initiatives at Indiana University. To learn more about sustainability-related programming and events, visit For more information about the 2012 Spring Energy Challenge and Campus Conservation Nationals, including activity guides, media resources and conservation tips, visit