Last October and November, Cal’s Greek community hosted its first energy savings competition between fraternities and sororities. Green Cup 2011 challenged 18 chapters to reduce their per-capita electricity and natural gas consumption while offering a $2,000 grand prize to fund a sustainability-related retrofit of the winning chapter house.
The competition idea was incubated in ER 190, a behavior and sustainability seminar co-taught by Energy and Resources Ph.D candidates Joe Kantenbacher and Chris Jones last spring. A team of four students worked with student organizations Greening the Greeks and Green Campus throughout the semester to plan the competition which would be hosted in Fall 2011. Green Campus also received an $8,740 grant from The Green Initiative Fund to fund prizes, publicity, and free supplies for all participating chapters.
Each participating chapter was represented by an appointed sustainability chair that was responsible for educating and motivating his/her chapter members to reduce their electricity and natural gas consumption. All chairs were trained by Greening the Greeks and Green Campus with educational presentations and easy tips to pass along to their members. Educational materials were tailored to focus on issues pertaining to the Greek community, including lighting, laundry, and power strips.
All chapters were required to submit energy consumption data from PG&E for October and November of 2009 and 2010 in order to calculate chapter-specific consumption baselines. Energy consumption during the competition was compared to this baseline to assess percent change in per-capita consumption. Changes in electricity and natural gas consumption were weighted equally when determining a winner.
Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity was recently announced as the winner of Green Cup 2011 after reducing their per-capita electricity consumption by 40% and natural gas consumption by 24%. According to Green Campus, the residential halls usually see a 10% reduction in electricity consumption during their Black Out Battle competitions. Fiji’s sustainability Chair Chris Ackman regularly sent e-mail reminders and gave educational presentations during his chapter’s weekly meeting. Additionally, he replaced over 50 incandescent bulbs with CFLs and turned off a large, unused refrigerator.
Kappa Alpha (KA) fraternity and Chi Omega sorority additionally had impressive results. KA reduced their per-capita electricity/natural gas consumption by 38% and 23% respectively, putting them in second-place. Chi Omega was the top performing sorority, reducing per-capita electricity/natural gas consumption by 20% and 29% respectively. In total, the 18 participating chapters avoided 11 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saved over 29,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 660 Therms of natural gas, and $5,600 in utility bills.
Greening the Greeks and Green Campus look forward to organizing another successful Green Cup next year! For additional information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Article by Kelley Doyle