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UAlbany goes green (and blue): Energy Campaign competition

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The Office of Environmental Sustainability kicks off their 12th annual Energy Campaign this year with a focus on water conservation.

The Energy Campaign is a 10-week competition between residential and academic buildings to see who can reduce energy usage the most. In past years, the campaign focused on reducing electricity and carbon dioxide usage. While this year’s campaign will include those aspects, water is the new focus.

The campaign is aimed at making modifications to everyday habits that will create change on a on a larger scale.

“If you see a leaky faucet or a running toilet, report it,” said Cassidy Drasser, assistant director of sustainability. “Apartments on campus that have dishwashers, you know, wait until you fill the entire load before you wash it. Same thing when doing laundry: cold water, full loads.”

These behaviors will be tracked by the new water meters on campus. Previously, there has been a single water meter that has been monitored to track water usage on campus. This year, there are two meters, one for the living areas and one for the kitchens and dining halls.

“Now we can separate living areas versus the kitchens. Now we can see who’s really using a lot of water,” said Drasser.

The meters will be especially helpful when considering the prizes at stake.

The winner of the Energy Campaign will have the first shot at applying for the Residential Life Sustainability Programming grant, which helps fund RA’s sustainability programming. “They are required to apply for the grant and meet certain requirements.” Drasser said. “One requirement is that the program or event must target at least three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” The grant’s intention is to further education through speakers, conferences and events like the annual Shredding Day in May.

The competition will go from Sept. 5 until Nov. 11, monitored and announced via email blast bi-weekly.

Last year, with the efforts of students, faculty and staff, UAlbany reduced its overall electricity usage by 5.3 percent, according to the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Keturah Vics, a student in her sixth year dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the cause from her first day on campus and will continue to her last.

“As a graduate student and a graduate teaching assistant, I saw more paper wasted in terms of scantrons, test papers, review sheets, etc,” said Vics. “I approached my professor about going as paperless as possible – online quizzes, syllabi, notes, homework submissions. My professor agreed to do it.”

In one semester, with the idea of a single student, two of Vics’ courses recycled nearly 2,500 scantron sheets and saved paper by switching to Blackboard for classwork. This effort not only saved thousands of sheets of paper but also aided in electricity conservation by eliminating the need for printing and copying.

 

Editors’ Note: This article has been updated to include reference to guidelines for applying for the Residential Life Sustainability Programming grant.

 

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