November 22, 2010 — Residents of the University of Virginia's McCormick Road residence halls reduced their electricity consumption by 19 percent during October as part of a first-year dorm energy challenge.
The older halls beat out the newer Alderman Road residence houses, which reduced their consumption by about 13 percent.
The combined kilowatt hours saved is equal to about 156 tons of carbon dioxide, said Nina Morris, sustainability outreach coordinator for Facilities Management. U.Va.'s Division of Facilities Management tracked electric use in both housing areas and compared it on a per-capita basis to the electric consumption during the previous October.
"The change was behavioral," Morris said. "The students turned off lights, shut down their computers and television sets, and some hung out their laundry on designated days."
Morris said the exercise was designed to teach the students good energy use habits. The winning students will receive a hot cocoa, cookies and cake party on Dec. 8.
"Some of the students will keep the habits," Morris said. "The challenge builds awareness through fun and activity."