Energy challenge results revealed

College reduces electric consumption by 10 percent


Graphic contributed by Allegheny College

This year, Allegheny College reduced electricity consumption by 10.5 percent, or 101,500 kilowatt hours, during the annual October Energy Challenge. Kelly Boulton, sustainability coordinator, said that this year’s results were better than in the past.

“Typically we range 7-9 percent reduction, so this year the 10.5 percent reduction was great,” she said.

Boulton credits this year’s increase in savings to an increase in student awareness and understanding.

“When [students] understand this is the culture of sustainability, when their professors, classmates, the administrators of the campus all get this and all are contributing in one way or another,” Boulton said. “I have heard from students that they are increasing in having a sense that this is a culture of sustainability. This is the culture of Allegheny, that we are shifting into a sustainable community and [students] want to be part of that.”

This year, the energy challenge included more than just reducing electrical consumption. In addition to focusing on energy reduction, the challenge incorporated waste disposal, including composting and plastic water bottle usage.

Boulton wants students to take more away from the energy challenge than it being one month of sustainable habits.

“Typically we see that after the energy challenge there’s still a lasting change in behavior, but that’s one of the big things, we don’t want the challenge to be the one four-week period where everyone pays attention,” Boulton said. “The idea is that its a four-week period that we bring attention to it and you learn habits and your continue to do them throughout the year…This is the time to have really responsible habits because you aren’t paying the bill and when you do you’re going to be so happy that you got into the habit of turning off lights and unplugging chargers. It really adds up.”

The total savings from Oct. 10 through Nov. 7 were $8,700 to be spent by popular student vote. In the past, savings from the challenge went solely towards installing solar panels on Steffee Hall which now houses 24 panels. This time, students have the opportunity to vote on how to spend the savings.

The voting options include, adding more filtered water bottle refill stations around campus, installing experimental rooftop microturbines and updating lighting control in dorm halls and bathrooms.

Voting will continue through the weekend. Votes can be placed through MyAllegheny.