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Emilie Rex
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall 2012 IU Energy Challenge kicks off next week

Oct. 17, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's Fall Energy Challenge, a competition to conserve energy and water, will run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 12 with a record number of participants.

During the competition, each building will compete to reduce the largest percentage of water and electricity usage in comparison to its baseline measurement. Because the IU Bloomington campus is fully metered, as of July 2012, all buildings were invited to participate in the 2012 Fall Energy Challenge.


Ashton Residence Center has been a conservation leader in previous IU Energy Challenge competitions.

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Traditionally, buildings have been split into three competition groups: academic buildings, Greek houses and residence halls. This fall, 82 buildings responded to the call for registration, leading Energy Challenge organizers to split the buildings into six categories: small academic buildings, large academic buildings, sorority houses, fraternity houses, residence halls and apartment housing complexes. For a full list of the competitors, visit

"When people learn good energy conservation habits, those habits persist, resulting in significant savings in energy and water throughout the year," said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability. "We are delighted to have a record number of participants this year, in all types of campus buildings, and we have expanded the building categories accordingly to create an exciting and fair competition."

To mark the beginning of the competition, the Energy Challenge Steering Committee will hold the first IU Energy Fair from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, next to the Woodburn Hall clock. The fair will provide the campus community information about the challenge and how to get involved, and tips about energy and water conservation.

In the residence halls, the Energy Challenge will run simultaneously with the Greenest Floor Challenge, a competition within each residence hall center rewarding the floor that "green certifies" the largest percentage of rooms through the Green Room Certification Program. The winning floor within each center will receive a pizza party, funded by the Residence Halls Association and Residential Programs and Services Academic Initiatives and Services Funding Board. Each student who certifies will receive a certificate and an eco-friendly water bottle, funded through the Student Sustainability Council's winning Senior Challenge Grant from the IU Student Foundation.

"RPS and Office of Sustainability interns designed the Green Room Certification to provide students a framework for pursuing sustainability activities and decisions within their residence hall rooms," said Emilie Rex, assistant director of sustainability. "We're hoping the Greenest Floor Challenge will engage those students who are interested in going above and beyond energy and water conservation to investigate how they can live more sustainably at IU."

IU Bloomington developed the Fall Energy Challenge in 2010 to observe the impact of the program on student, faculty and staff behavior throughout the year. That year, usage data from November 2010 and February 2011 were 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 competition period. This trend also persisted through the 2011-12 academic year.

"Energy Challenge has benefited from getting the campus fully metered, and now it is great to see that metering is allowing for expansion of this conservation initiative," said Tom Morrison, vice president of capital planning and facilities. "Promoting conservation behavior is an important strategy for reducing our energy and water usage, along with improving infrastructure and the energy efficiency of our facilities."

Over the seven Energy Challenges to date, IU has saved 3,673,619 kilowatt hours of electricity and 7,378,873 gallons of water. When combined with the savings seen throughout the year as a result of behaviors learned during the challenges, IU has saved more than $1.2 million in utility bills and has avoided emitting more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

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