The Environmental Organizers’ Network (EON) and Project SAVE have teamed up again this year to coordinate the “Do It In The Dark” competition among the senior woodframes and program houses. The competition, which began in early October, challenges participants to reduce energy emissions by taking steps to cut down individual energy usage.
The program specifically targets senior woodframe houses, the least energy-efficient form of housing on campus. Woodframes alone account for 40 percent of all the energy used to power the campus.
“Do It In The Dark” asks senior woodframes and program house residents to take small measures of change that will produce a larger impact. Turning off lights, maximizing loads of laundry and moderating thermostats are just some of the actions being taken by the competitors.
Leah Weinberg ’08, who lives in a five-person woodframe on Home Ave., considers herself an active participant.
“I turn my computer off when I leave the house,” Weinberg said. “I only turn on my printer when I’m printing. When it gets colder we’re planning on keeping heat to a minimum.”
Ben Ahles ’08, also a resident of Home Ave., appreciates that the program is making him more environmentally conscious.
“I’m just trying to be more aware of my impact on the world and solve it so it’s not as much of a problem,” Ahles said.
Woodframe residents are not the only ones taking initiative. Olivia Miller ’09, a resident of Out House, was proud that her fellow housemates were embracing the program.
“We have people that hang their laundry out outside,” Miller said.
Program housing is a new addition to the competition this year. Sarah Reed ’08, a coordinator of the “Do It In The Dark” program, admits that the competition is not targeting the program houses, though their residents are encouraged to participate.
“There’s not as many of them and they’re not as inefficient,” Reed said.
Though many students have been actively involved in the problem, not all members of every house participate. As a result, some houses have one or two people compensating for the others’ lack of involvement in the program.
“I’ve noticed during the day that the kitchen light is on, so I turn it off, and then 15 minutes later it’s on again,” Weinberg said. “I guess if you live in a five-person house, it’s kind of unavoidable.”
The winners of the competition will be treated to dinner at Eli Cannon’s or another local restaurant, courtesy of Project SAVE.
Residents have two ways of winning, depending upon the type of house they live in. The house with the greatest energy reduction of all of the houses will win a free dinner. However, the house with the greatest energy reduction compared to its previous tenants’ usage will be rewarded with a meal, as well. This second way of winning benefits those students who live in older, less energy-inefficient woodframes.
Many students agree that they are not in it for the reward, but some are more encouraged by it.
“We kind of do those things anyways, but it’s fun to have a competition to root ourselves on with,” said Dana Powell ’08, who lives in a woodframe on Miles Ave.
Home Avenue’s Alana Miller ’08 is excited that the prize is something worthwhile.
“I think it’s fun!” she said. “It’s not some abstract idea of energy conservation, it’s like, ’Hey! We’ll get a free dinner!’”
All in all, the program seems to resonate with its participants. Compensation or not, they’re glad to be making a positive impact.
“I’m not looking for any reward, it’s just something I’ve got to do,” Ahles said.