Every winter over a three week period, Fanshawe Sustainability holds an Energy Reduction Challenge between three of our residence buildings. The challenge is designed to encourage students living on campus to reduce energy use and live more sustainable lives. There are many small things we can do to make a big impact, and results from this challenge demonstrate this to be true.
Each year, a baseline for energy usage is established, to compare current energy consumption. Real time energy usage is tracked daily and compiled in a weekly update, posted in residence lobbies.
You can also like Fanshawe Sustainability on Facebook, where we will be posting updates and tips. You can also share your own conservation tips using #FanshaweECC!
The residence with the highest energy conservation wins! Monies saved by the reduced energy usage are put toward a pizza party for everyone in the winning building, courtesy of Fanshawe Sustainability.
Energy savings tips
Turn off the lights
This is one of the easiest things for us all to do. Make sure you turn off lights when you are not in a room. This includes common rooms and washrooms as well. Any light turned off will save energy and money.
Use free light
Try using lights only when they are needed. Most residence rooms receive enough light during the day from the sun, removing the need to turn the lights on at all. Try opening your blinds or curtains to allow this natural light to filter in.
Turn off computers and set energy savings functions
Leaving your computer on overnight can use up to 4kwh of electricity – that's the same as burning three pounds of coal! With most students owning personal computers, there is a great opportunity to save energy. Turn your computer off when you are not using it, or set the energy savings functions to sleep mode.
Note: the screensaver is not an energy savings function. They are designed to protect the screen, and will use the same amount of energy as when the computer is in use.
Minimize your phantom load
Many appliances and electronics we use consume energy even when they are not being used. These include TVs, DVD players, game consoles, computers, cell phone chargers, hair dryers and flat irons. This wasted energy is called Phantom Load, and the easiest way to save this energy is to unplug all appliances and electronics when they are not in use. Another option is to plug them all into power bars that you can turn off when not in use.
Take short showers
It can be nice to wake up in the morning during a nice long, hot shower; but a five minute shower can use up to 100L of water, and it takes a lot of energy to warm that water. By taking a shorter shower, you can significantly reduce water and energy usage.
Take cooler showers
It takes a lot of energy to heat water, so by turning down the temperature of your shower, even just a little, you can save a lot.
Use the cold wash cycle
A large percentage of energy used by laundry machines goes into heating the water, so try washing on the cold cycle. There are many new types of soaps that are formulated specifically for cold water washes, and cost the same as regular detergents. Additionally, make sure you are always doing a full load to use the water and energy more efficiently.
Use a drying rack instead of the dryer
A dryer can consume upwards of 4 kWh. Use a drying rack or line to skip using the dryer. This will also increase the lifespan of your clothes and prevent some colours from fading.
Take the stairs
If you live on the lower floors of your building, try taking the stairs. Not only will you save time and get exercise, you also save energy.
Don't leave anything on when you are not home
Make sure you turn everything off when you go leave your room. Every little bit helps!