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Mckenzie Beverage
IU Energy Challenge

Last modified: Monday, March 1, 2010

Eight academic buildings to join the IU Energy Challenge

March 1, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The third annual IU Energy Challenge, set to take place March 25-April 22, 2010, is expanding dramatically. The competition to save energy and water began in 2008 with 10 residence halls competing; in 2009, 18 Greek houses joined the mix. This year all 11 residence halls, 26 Greek houses and eight academic buildings will participate.

The eight buildings to pilot the academic portion of the Energy Challenge include: Chemistry, Geological Sciences and Survey, Jordan Hall, the Business Building, Myers Hall, Simon Hall, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Building and the Herman B Wells Library. The buildings were selected for the pilot study based on the availability of utility data and faculty and staff support.

Several of the buildings have previously established Green Teams, formed by faculty, staff and students interested in greening their work places. The IU Office of Sustainability is in communication with additional buildings about the possibility of starting new Green Teams, with their support and enthusiasm providing an unprecedented force for decreasing utility usage in academic units.

"I'm delighted that this year's Energy Challenge has been expanded to include academic buildings," said Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "The success of the annual Energy Challenge has underscored our awareness that we all have to take responsibility for the places where we work and live, and it has reinforced our sense of the efficacy of our efforts to conserve. It is an important part of a range of initiatives aimed at positive environmental change on the campus."

In 2009, Teter Quad took first place in the residence halls and Sigma Alpha Mu was the Greek house winner. The 10 residence halls saved a combined total of 709,211 kWh, the equivalent of powering 700 average American homes for one month. The residence halls also saved 1,120,813 gallons of water, which is approximately the amount of two Olympic size swimming pools.

The Greek houses saved an estimated 30,975 kWh of electricity and 509,475 gallons of water during the competition. The combined savings between the dorms and the Greek houses contributed to an estimated 1,151,729 pounds of avoided carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to taking 96 cars off the road for an entire year. In total, these savings amounted to an estimated $47,000 in avoided utility costs for the four-week period. The IU Bloomington campus collectively pays approximately $28 million a year in utility costs alone.

"The Energy Challenge has shown that a small investment in changing habits can have a major payback in utility savings," said returning Office of Sustainability Energy Challenge intern Mckenzie Beverage. "In the 2009 competition, there was a 59 percent increase in electricity savings and an 83 percent increase in water savings over the previous year's savings. The estimated fiscal savings jumped from $26,000 in 2008 to $47,000 in 2009, and we expect a similar jump this year. Each year, Energy Challenge awareness and participation grows and so do the savings."

Bill Brown, director of the Office of Sustainability, added, "Any time you can get more than a quarter of the campus population involved in a common educational experience, it is a great thing. To have all 11 residence halls and nearly twice as many Greek houses committed this year is fantastic. I can't wait to see the results in the eight large academic buildings."

"The positive response to the addition of the academic buildings to the Energy Challenge is wonderful," said Rachel Weeks, Office of Sustainability Utilities Conservation intern. "This provides the hard-working faculty and staff on Indiana University's campus the opportunity to become more directly involved with the energy and water conservation. We expect this competition will demonstrate the magnitude of utility savings that can be achieved by implementing simple conservation initiatives within these buildings."

More information about the contest, emerging results and tips for conserving energy and water can be found at More information about the Indiana University Office of Sustainability can be found at