The residence hall energy competition concluded on Oct. 4 with the Feast of Saint Francis event.

Using the energy usage monitoring devices installed on campus by Optimized Systems, an energy auditing company, a baseline for each hall was set on the first day of the competition (Sept. 16).

The amount of electrical energy reduced was then calculated using that baseline.

Andrew Baruth, a Creighton associate professor of physics and energy technology, shared the final numbers for the 19 days of official competition.

“We saved nearly 33 metric tons of CO2 emissions,” Baruth said. “This is the equivalent of a football field dug nearly 14 feet deep to hold all of that CO2.”

To put that number in perspective, 550 trees would have to be planted and then let grow for 10 years to offset that much CO2.

One would have to drive over 80,000 fewer miles to get similar CO2 reduction levels, and turn off over 3 million light bulbs for one hour to equal that reduction in electrical usage.

“Finally, the amount of energy we saved in 19 days of competition would take nearly 120 days for our Cuming Street solar array to produce. This just shows how much easier and more effective it is to save energy, rather than produce ‘greener’ energy,” Baruth said.

The competition element of the event took place between the individual residence halls’ usage and their Sept. 16 baseline.

As Colin Thomas, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, detailed during the Spirit of St. Francis event, Opus and Davis Hall differed as they use electricity for heating and cooling while the other residence halls do not. The higher level of control given to students accounted for the higher energy reduction levels.

Otherwise, Heider Hall reduced its electricity consumption the most with an 11% reduction from the first day of competition.

Baruth and Thomas were both recipients of the Spirit of St. Francis Sustainability Award, a community-nominated award that identifies and recognizes members of the Creighton community who are engaged in making an impact on and developing a culture of campus sustainability, as detailed on the Global Engagement Office’s website.

The award recognized both of their efforts not only with their involvement in this year’s energy competition, but also their continued efforts and commitment to sustainability through energy technology and community involvement. 

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