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Mckenzie Beverage
IU Energy Challenge

Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

IU Energy Challenge moves to fall; competition to launch in October

Sept. 14, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For three years running, the IU Energy Challenge has engaged 10,000-plus participants in a competition to see who will be the biggest loser. This year, the first-ever fall competition will take place from Oct. 6 to Nov. 3.

This annual competition to reduce electricity and water consumption through behavioral changes has traditionally taken place in the spring, ending on Earth Day.

"The purpose of the competition is to instill conservation habits in participants," said Mckenzie Beverage, Energy Challenge coordinator. "In order to more effectively measure whether the challenge is having this effect, a competition needs to take place earlier in the school year."

Eleven new academic and administrative buildings have been added to the line-up, bolstering the number of participants to nearly 40 percent of all IU buildings.

"The Energy Challenge gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to participate in saving money and conserving resources," said Lee Walters, manager of the IU Bloomington Utilities Information Group.

The latest additions to the Energy Challenge will raise the number of participants to more than 18,000 students, faculty and staff. Due to construction in the residence halls, McNutt and Briscoe will be unable to participate this fall. New academic and administrative competitors include:

  • Ballantine Hall
  • Devault Alumni Center
  • Lindley Hall
  • Optometry School
  • Psychology Building
  • Rawles Hall
  • Service Building
  • Student Building
  • Swain Hall
  • Woodburn Hall
  • Wylie Hall

"The IU Energy Challenge is one of the world's largest and most effective student-run energy and water challenges," said Bill Brown, the IU director of sustainability. "I am excited that it will grow substantially larger this year and move to the fall semester so that we can track the persistence of conservation practices throughout the year."

The spring 2010 competition resulted in a collective savings of 2.5 million gallons of water and more than 1 million kWh of electricity. This is enough water to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools and enough electricity to power more than 1,000 average American homes for one month. These utility savings amounted to an estimated $66,000 in avoided utility costs.

In order to account for the difference in environmental and economic impacts of water and electricity savings, from this point forward the Energy Challenge will give more weight to electricity conservation when determining standings. Water and electricity were given equal consideration in past competitions.

The Energy Challenge began in 2008 as a competition among 10 residence halls. In 2009, Greek houses joined the competition and in spring 2010, eight academic buildings were added. With the addition of 11 academic and administrative buildings for the fall, the IU Energy Challenge is well on its way to becoming a part of the IU tradition.

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