120 colleges take part in national conservation challenge

Students and staff at 120 higher-education institutions in the United States saved more than 2.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity over 12 weeks earlier this year as part of the Campus Conservation Nationals Competition.

The effort, which organizers say is the largest nationwide electricity and water reduction competition on college and university campuses, is spearheaded by the National Wildlife Federation, in partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, the Alliance to Save Energy and Lucid Design Group.

From February 4 through April 26, 2013, 300,000 college students at the participating campuses saved 2,114,844 kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to 2,426,040 pounds of carbon dioxide. Students also saved 1,681,241 gallons of water.

The Wildlife Federation says the students, faculty and staff reduced their electricity and water use by switching off unused electronics, taking shorter showers, and turning off lights in common areas.

The five institutions with the greatest average percent reduction in electricity usage were Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, Calif.; Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville; Oregon State University, Corvallis; St. John’s University, New York City; and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their reduction rate ranged from 16 percent to 19 percent.

The five schools that performed the best in reducing water use (average percent reduction ranging from 4 percent to 9 percent) were Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, Calif.; Indiana University, Bloomington; Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio; and Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Wildlife Federation also held a video contest that offered a $1,000 grand prize to the school with the best video documenting students taking positive actions to save resources. Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., submitted the winning video, which demonstrates strategies to reduce energy and water usage on campus. (Click here to view the Earlham College video on Facebook.)

Below are highlights of some of the videos submitted by students taking part in the conservation competition.

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