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Mod quad, God quad win energy competition

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Thursday, April 12, 2012

This past month, conserving energy was a regional affair on campus, as dorms grouped as quads competed in the inaugural Quad Energy Competition.

According to a press release from the Office of Sustainability, the Mod Quad and God Quad team of Carroll Hall, Knott Hall, Pasquerilla East Hall, Pasquerilla West Hall, Siegfried Hall, Sorin College, St. Edward’s Hall and Walsh Hall won the $1,000 grand prize decisively, reducing energy consumption by 15.7 percent between March 10 and 30, compared to baseline data from the end of February.

North Quad finished second, conserving energy by 7.3 percent. South Quad saved 6.6 percent more energy and West Quad decreased energy consumption by 3.1 percent, according to the press release.

Rachel Novick, outreach program manager for the Office of Sustainability, said Notre Dame’s Quad Energy Competition is a part of Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN), a nationwide energy conservation contest in college dorms involving over 150 schools.

“Each school gets to pick a three-week period between February and April in which to run their competition, and each uses a baseline to level the playing field,” Novick said. “At the end of April, CCN will announce the final results, and we’ll find out how we did relative to other participating schools.”

Novick said publicity made a difference in the competition’s results.

“From what I’ve heard from Mod [and] God Quad, there was a ton of publicity and residents really rallied around the competition and made a concerted effort to keep up the energy conservation,” Novick said. “Initially, they were behind, but they didn’t give up and surged ahead in the last week of the competition.”

Junior Martha Dee, Walsh Hall sustainability commissioner, said promoting the competition in her dorm contributed to its success.

“I used Hall Council as a way to get the word out about the competition and to rally up some support,” Dee said. “We put up signs in each of the bathrooms to promote turning off the lights and made a conscious effort to turn off lights in large social spaces.”

Part of the competition took place during spring break, and Dee said eliminating “vampire energy” from unused electronics during this time was important to the victory.

“Since the competition was over spring break, I really tried to encourage girls to unplug their chargers, switch off power strips and defrost their refrigerators for the week,” she said. “We tried to decrease elevator use and use the stairs more often.”

During the competition, the Energy Dashboard on the Office of Sustainability website was updated frequently to track the competition’s progress. This feature will continue to run to chart the energy use of individual dorms to increase awareness for potential opportunities to save energy in the dorms, according to the Office of Sustainability press release.