4/05/2012 Chris Karlesky

Energy Contest Encourages Students to Go ‘Unplugged’

Franklin & Marshall’s Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment has kicked off an initiative to raise awareness of energy consumption and stoke friendly competition among students.

F&M Unplugged, an energy competition among F&M’s College Houses, began on Monday, April 2, and runs through Sunday, April 15. The contest encourages students to decrease their energy consumption, from unplugging unused refrigerators to turning off the lights. The College House that lowers its energy consumption the most by April 15 is the winner.

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	Franklin & Marshall's "Building Dashboard" allows students to compare energy-consumption rates among residence halls. The dashboard provides an instant comparison among buildings, and between live and historical data. Franklin & Marshall's "Building Dashboard" allows students to compare energy-consumption rates among residence halls. The dashboard provides an instant comparison among buildings, and between live and historical data.

Prizes include a solar backpack, T-shirts and “electro Ben and Johns,” power strips that bear the likenesses of F&M namesakes Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

“We hope this competition raises awareness of energy consumption and that we see a reduction in energy use,” said Elena Lopez ’12, a student intern at the Wohlsen Center. “I think sustainability is really important because we only have one Earth. It would be nice for each College House to have a goal for energy reduction, and for them to reach that goal.”

The staff of the Wohlsen Center will monitor the competition using energy meters that were installed in the five College Houses in the 2010-11 academic year. Live data from the meters can be seen on F&M’s Building Dashboard, a website hosted by Lucid Design Group designed to educate the F&M community on its consumption behaviors. The dashboard provides an instant comparison among buildings, and between live and historical data.

Lopez is working with Dan Freire ’14, another student intern at the Wohlsen Center, to oversee the competition. The students have received encouragement in organizing the contest from Sarah Dawson, director of the Wohlsen Center; Shawn Jenkins, special assistant to the dean of the college for strategic projects; and Tom Simpson, Millport Conservancy liaison and sustainability coordinator.

“Dorm captains” in each College House will urge students to conserve energy. They include Spencer Johnson ’14 (Bonchek College House); Lauren Silverman ’14 (Brooks College House); Lopez and Jeff Harrington ’15 (New College House); Ian Irlander ’14 and Max Polans ’14 (Ware College House); and Varun Rajagopalan ’14 and Liz Middleton ’14 (Weis College House).

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