UW-W takes part in national competition

 

April 23, 2014

By Haley Beets

 

The third week of Campus Conservation Nationals is coming to a close on the UW-Whitewater campus.

The Campus Conservation Nationals, or CCN, is the largest nationwide electricity and water reduction competition on college and university campuses. This is UW-W’s second year participating in the CCN.

UW-W participates in the electricity reduction portion of the competition. Residence halls are compared to each other with weekly electricity measurements.

The shared water systems would make it difficult to account for each residence hall’s use of water resources.

Sustainability Coordinator Wesley Enterline said electricity is the easiest resource to control with user behavior, since it can be prevented just by unplugging unused devices.

The goals of the CCN is not only to provide a lasting impact on the electricity use of students living on campus, but to foster a culture of conservation. Sustainability Coordinator Kevin Marks said conservation is an increasingly important cause.

“We are living in a world where we are consuming resources faster than the Earth can produce them,” Marks said.  “Not only that, but pollution is causing resources that do stick around, such as water, to no longer be drinkable or usable.  It is important that we slow this process down and hopefully leave enough resources for the future.”

Enterline said conservation can save the planet as well as money.

“Conservation of energy is the best win-win example of sustainability because reducing energy derived from burning fossil fuels lowers our carbon footprint and saves the students and taxpayers that support the university money on our utility bills,” Enterline said.

UW-W chose to stay involved for another year’s competition. They got involved through the Lucid Design Group.

“[Lucid Design Group] make a software product called Energy Dashboard we’ve considered implementing for many years to help raise awareness and encourage decreased consumption through a real-time feedback of energy use.  This product could have significant impacts on our energy use and could lead to cost savings for our students,” Enterline said.

Enterline also said the software already has been implemented at other campuses in the U.S., and they are looking into doing so for UW-W.Marks Marks

Participation in the CCN is easy. Anyone living in the Residence Halls is part of the competition automatically. Those living outside the Residence Halls can still help the effort of conservation. Marks said turning off lights, using compact fluorescent bulbs and unplugging unused electronics are easy ways to participate.

“It is all really simple,” Marks said. “It may not seem significant when just one person does it, but when a campus our size commits to these acts together, it can make a difference.”

This competition is a gateway into a much larger cause Enterline said.

“The real poison that afflicts us is thinking that nothing we do can make enough of a difference, so we might as well just do nothing,” Enterline said. “Being more sustainable takes more than showing up to a meeting once a week or signing an online petition. You need to take action and live by the principles you believe to really set a positive example.  There is no place for armchair activism if you actually want to make a difference in the world.  Campus Conservation Nationals may be a competition, but the true spirit of it is cooperation to achieve a more sustainable campus.”

For more on the CCN or ways to make the UW-W campus more environmentally friendly, visit uww.edu/sustainability.

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