UCF Housing and Residence Life teamed up again with UCF Sustainability and Energy Management to lower energy consumption of the 6,000+ residents on campus in spring 2010. The “Kill-A-Watt: 4th Annual Energy Conservation Competition,” a program recognized by the United States Department of Energy asking students to reduce their electrical consumption between the months of February and April. Up to $6,000 in SGA scholarships among other incentives were available for students in on-campus housing areas that saved the most energy. The result was 441,000 Kilowatt hours saved, or approximately $41,240 in energy savings. This 4th year set a record with a 51 percent increase from the $27,000 saved in 2009.
The winning communities in the Academic Village not only qualified for the scholarship prizes, but are now seeing their savings come to life. The Department of Housing and Residence Life has rewarded Academic Village by using a part of the savings to purchase trees and other landscaping enhancements for the Hercules and Nike Communities. Magnolia, elm, shumard oak, sweet gum, holly trees as well as several hedges have been planted throughout the Academic Village. “The trees are a very nice addition to the communities and we have placed them strategically to prevent golf cart traffic from wearing paths in the grass,” said Richard Berwanger, superintendant of Facilities for Housing.
The Housing office continues to demonstrate a commitment to green initiatives through programmatic and other efforts including “Green House,” a special interest housing community that focuses on recycling and conservation efforts. Additionally, according to Christi Hartzler, director of Housing and Residence Life, new housing construction is planned to meet standards to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ) Silver Certified.
The 5th Annual Kill-A-Watt competition will kick off in spring 2011 with hopes for even more savings. Margaret Lo from the Office of Sustainability & Energy Management hopes contests like this as well as the many other sustainability efforts taking place on campus help to create a culture of conservation, one that lasts beyond the borders of the competition.
In an interview for the Department of Energy, UCF President John Hitt said, “The big energy problems [we are facing]…some will be solved by big advances in technology, but a lot are going to be solved by the constant attention to detail, the little ways we can all save and conserve energy.” The University of Central Florida is taking on this problem in both ways.