Care for creation is central to the mission of Valparaiso University. The Office of Sustainability builds awareness, understanding, and a culture of sustainability on Valparaiso University’s campus.
The recent Campus Conservation Competition featured a friendly competition between the residence halls to promote sustainability awareness about energy and water consumption.
The residence halls competed in a 3-week competition in April to reduce water and electricity consumption, based on benchmark data taken two weeks prior to the competition. The Office of Sustainability also gathered information about sustainable topics and issues on campus by asking the students to fill out surveys. The survey results will be used to create better sustainable solutions. Four different surveys asked students about water and electricity usage, transportation, and living patterns.
Overall, the competition was a success, resulting in over 7,000 kWh of energy saved and 100,000 gallons of water. In addition, there was about 10% participation in the surveys designed to collect data to inform future energy saving measures in the residence halls.
The two plots below show how much energy or water was used each day throughout the benchmarking time and the competition for the top three scorers in each category. Overall, each tread line shows that the usage in each building went down from the beginning of the benchmarking time to the end of the competition. The strong slope of the sorority housing complex in both cases explains why they won first place in the competition.
Valparaiso looks forward to learning from this experience and hopes that this annual competition will spark increased awareness and conservation among students that live on campus.