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Campus buildings win energy contest

By Will Canon | Office of Sustainability Initiatives | Nov. 14, 2012

Emory's annual campus-wide Energy Competition has come to a close, ending another year's friendly contest between buildings across the University. The event, held during the month of October, attempts to instill awareness and foster conscientious initiatives among the members of the Emory community to take steps toward becoming more energy-efficient in our daily routines. The hope is that the efforts displayed during the competition by fellow employees and students will stick as lasting habits, continuing to save energy -- and money -- throughout the year.

This year's winning buildings are Modern Languages, in the academic category, Turman Hall, in the residential category, and Winship Cancer Institute, in the research category.

"We commend the faculty, staff and students who live and work in these buildings on their efforts to create a more sustainable work and living environment at Emory," says Emily Cumbie-Drake, sustainability programs coordinator at the Office of Sustainability.

To encourage people to band with others within their buildings to collaborate and effectively reduce their energy consumption, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives offers a prize of $1,000 to the winning buildings of the three competing categories. The award money is used for a sustainability-related prize at their building site. For example, one of last year's Energy Competition winners, the School of Medicine, chose to use their prize money to create an educational garden.

While the contest is a fun way to build community between those who work and live in close proximity, the importance and mission of the competition is not to be overlooked. The total energy reduction among buildings that decreased consumption from last year amounted to 970,000 kWh of electricity, resulting in $69,000 in electricity cost savings. In terms of CO2 emissions, there was a 713 ton reduction from these buildings compared to last year.

The fiscal and environmental benefits of such a reduction in energy usage show the real reasons for taking part in this campus-wide initiative.  

Says Cumbie-Drake, "As we near 2015, it is essential that all members of the Emory community take part in energy reduction practices in order to meet our 25 percent per square foot energy reduction goal, and this competition is a way to incentivize energy conservation that will hopefully last throughout the year."