Turning off a light switch or an electrical device in one of four residence halls could mean the difference between victory and defeat in this campus rivalry.
The second annual competition between the Palmitas, Cedritos, Alamitos and Aliso residence halls to save energy has put one of the university’s core values — sustainability — in a new light. The residence hall that saves the most energy will earn the Bronco Energy Trophy and bragging rights for the next year.
“It’s a fun and constructive way to spread awareness about energy conservation and sustainability. Every kilowatt hour that is saved helps the environment,” said Monika Kamboures, the university’s sustainability coordinator. “These students are the future gatekeepers of the planet.”
The contest started on Jan. 23 and will run through Feb. 23. The residence hall that saves the most energy will be announced in March.
In the inaugural contest in 2017, Cedritos residence hall saved 177 kilowatt hours to earn the trophy that stays in the winning building for a year. One kilowatt is equivalent to using a 100-watt lightbulb continuously for 10 hours.
Sustainability discussions are a component of the current master planning process. The university’s efforts include a network of solar panels, a reverse-osmosis plant that produces drinking water, a fleet of electric vehicles, the use of drought-tolerant plants in landscaping, a Waste Reduction and Recycling Program, and the use of reclaimed water to irrigate landscape and crops. Sustainability falls under the auspices of the Department of Facilities Planning & Management.
The competition not only provides a lesson in sustainability for students in the four residence halls, but also for residents in other campus housing. In addition to turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and shutting down electronic devices that are not in use, resources also can be saved by taking shorter showers.
In last year’s competition, 773 kilowatt hours were saved. That month of energy conservation is the equivalent of burning 629 pounds of coal to generate electricity.
The competition involves nearly 800 students in the four residence halls.