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Will McHenry
IU Energy Challenge

Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kelley, Briscoe and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority crowned IU Energy Challenge winners

April 28, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As the 2011 Spring Energy Challenge came to a close last week, the Kelley School of Business, Briscoe Residence Center and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority emerged as winners.

The four-week challenge to reduce electricity and water consumption is designed to foster behavioral changes in students, faculty and staff. This marked the fourth spring running of the Energy Challenge. All 12 residence halls, 17 academic buildings and 17 Greek houses participated in the competition.

Campus Energy Challenge Spring 2011

Thomas Morrison, vice president for capital projects and facilities, announced the winning buildings during the Indiana University Office of Sustainability Internship Symposium on Friday (April 22). Representatives from the winning buildings were presented with traveling trophies constructed from salvaged meters.

Among the residence halls, Briscoe took first place, consuming 15 percent below its expected baseline.

"We in Briscoe are extremely proud to hear that we are the winners of this spring's Energy Challenge," said Briscoe President Dan Szmurlo. "Our residents made an excellent effort to turn off unneeded lights and use less water. Our RAs and staff were all critical in the process as well; without their diligence, we wouldn't have won."

The new Union Street Center placed second, with last fall's winner Willkie Quad close behind in third. The top three residence halls saved a combined total of 231,000 gallons of water and 110,000 kWh of electricity.

Kappa Alpha Theta came out ahead of Alpha Gamma Delta and Alpha Omicron Pi, consuming 23.5 percent below its expected baseline. "Participating in the Energy Challenge has been such a rewarding experience for Kappa Alpha Theta," said Katie Tetrick, a member of the sorority. "It has served as a great opportunity to educate our chapter on energy conservation and assess the amount of resources we are using. We realized that we can easily make long-term changes to conserve energy, raise awareness, and improve the quality of our campus."

Of the academic buildings, Kelley conserved the most electricity and water, consuming 24.1 percent below its baseline, with Wylie Hall and Geological Sciences/Survey close behind.

"We are all glad to see Kelley do so well in the IU Energy Challenge," said Emmy Fa, president of NetImpact, a student group that uses business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. "This goes to show that the business world has a vested interest in saving energy and the environment."

Combined, Kelley, Wylie and Geology saved 316,000 gallons of water and 85,000 kWh of electricity.

The purpose of the Energy Challenge is to instill conservation habits in participants. It rewards participants for making small behavior changes that, when performed collectively, can substantially decrease Indiana University's environmental impact.

"The Energy Challenge is an interesting time where the residence halls have a chance to hold unique events that promote conservation of energy," said Residence Hall Association Director of Environmental Affairs Alyssa Igartua. "The competition sets the stage to teach students how to save energy while having a great time. The students can take pride in all of the things they've done themselves and support their residence halls' creative way to promote a more sustainable way to live."

Total savings for the academic buildings, residence halls and Greek houses amounted to 317,000 kWh of electricity. No savings in water were realized, partly due to newly calculated baselines.

"The baselines for this spring's competition were figured solely using usage data from competition years," said Energy Challenge Coordinator Will McHenry. "While there is still more that can be done to conserve, the fact that our residence halls, Greek houses and academic buildings have saved so much against these already-reduced baselines is a testament to the efficacy of the program in influencing participant behavior."

Overall, the five Energy Challenges have resulted in a savings of 3,070,850 kWh of electricity and 6,061,365 gallons of water. The program has saved the university approximately $227,469.

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 2011 Spring Energy Challenge and tips for conserving energy and water, visit