Residences join energy challenge

St. Thomas University will be competing in the Atlantic Residence Energy Challenge for the first time this year with the help of new electrical metering to monitor energy usage. The competition runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11 and the goal is for STU’s residences and Windsor Street houses to use less energy than residences at UNB, Mt. Allison, UPEI, MSVU, St. FX and Holland College.

Kyla Tanner, students’ union sustainable lifestyles coordinator, says there will also be a competition amongst the STU residences with a prize for the most energy-efficient and innovative. The prizes have not been announced yet.

“I hope that students realize just how much energy they use in their daily lives and how even simple changes can help to
reduce that amount. I also hope that students continue these behaviours after the challenge has been completed,” Tanner said.

Reducing energy usage during the winter may be daunting but residence manager, Kelly Hogg, says there are more ways than just turning down the heat. They include taking shorter showers, unplugging unnecessary chargers and laptops, and turning off lights.

She commends Tanner and Facilities Management for bringing this competition to STU.

“I think it’s an excellent chance to engage residence students and raise awareness on simple ways that individual students can help reduce their carbon footprint. Our hope is that students will also continue the practices they learn during the challenge and apply them to their everyday lives,” Hogg said.

Tanner has more tips on her blog, http://stuenergychallenge.wordpress.com. She suggests only doing laundry if you have a full load, turning off power bars when they’re not being used, using an extra blanket instead of jacking up the heat, opening your blinds during sunny days, and closing them at night to keep in heat.

There will also be a “Cozy Sweater Day” on Feb. 6 to encourage less energy consumption.

Mount Allison University’s Hunton House won last year’s challenge with an energy reduction of 27 per cent.

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