Campus Conservation Nationals 2012 Schools Lauded for Leadership in Reducing Consumption

NWF, Lucid, U.S. Green Building Council, Alliance to Save Energy applaud student teams’ 1.7 gigawatt-hours of energy saved

05-02-2012 // Max Greenberg
Notre Dam quad

NWF's Campus Ecology Program, Lucid, U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) and Alliance to Save Energy have announced the winners of Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) 2012, a nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities. It is the first nationwide electricity and water reduction competition on college campuses.

Between February 6 and April 23, 2012, students across the country competed to achieve the greatest reductions in their residence halls’ electricity consumption over a three-week period of their choosing. In all, nearly 250,000 students in 1,300 residences at 100 colleges and universities entered, saving more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of energy--equivalent to more than 2.6 million pounds of CO2 and over $150,000 in energy savings, equal to removing 151 US homes from the grid for a year. These results outpaced the original Campus Conservation Nationals goal of one gigawatt-hour of electricity saved. Students also saved more than 1.5 million gallons of water—about 10,300 hours of shower time.

Top five schools in average percent reduction in electricity usage:

  • Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT)
  • Western Technical College (La Crosse, WI)
  • Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH)
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
  • Hofstra University (Hempstead and Uniondale, NY)

Top five schools in average percent reduction in water usage:

  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
  • Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • Taylor University (Upland, IN)
  • University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

“It’s great to see college students stepping up as energy conservation leaders. They’re laying the foundation for a cleaner, smarter and more efficient nation,” said Kevin Coyle, NWF’s Vice President of Education and Training. “As President Obama said in his Earth Day message, change won’t come from Washington alone—it will come from Americans across the country. Our colleges and universities have always been a living laboratory for innovation and progress.”

How Campus Conservation Happens

Participating schools were able to compete ‘against’ buildings on their own campus, or against a select group of peer institutions, with savings from all participants accumulating to reach a national challenge goal of one gigawatt-hour (since surpassed). Students organized peers through direct action in their residence halls, and extensively utilized social media to motivate and encourage sustainable behaviors. “By making commitments to turn off unused electronics, take shorter showers, use the stairs instead of the elevator and other simple tactics, students across the country demonstrated the power of occupants’ individual action in changing how buildings consume electricity and water,” said Jen Fournelle, NWF’s Campus Program Coordinator.

Organizers at some schools created videos to encourage student participation and to celebrate the success of their competition. You can find these videos at NWF’s Chill Out page. NWF’s Chill Out program recognizes campuses, students, faculty and staff dedicated to making a difference in reducing global warming pollution.

Schools that participated in CCN used Lucid’s Building Dashboard, which allowed users to compare energy performance and track the leading schools and buildings in the national standings.

With generous support from United Technologies Corp, Sloan, Sterling Planet and Constellation Energy, CCN is an opportunity to organize students and staff to make immediate and lasting impacts on a school’s carbon emissions and campus culture. It offers valuable educational opportunities, such as enabling students to put conservation fundamentals into practice, as well as environmental and economic benefits. Above all, CCN is designed to empower the future generation of energy and environmental leaders, and foster a culture of conservation within campus communities. To learn more about the competition, join the network or follow leading schools, visit

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