Watts down: Vintage Sheldon Court wins energy contest

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Melissa Osgood

Even for old buildings, please respect your elders. Cornell’s venerable Sheldon Court – a Collegetown residence hall that’s more than a century old – earned first place in Unplugged 2014, the university’s annual energy saving competition among dormitories, as part of the university’s Think Big, Live Green sustainability campaign.

Using a baseline 46.2 kilowatts of electricity from April 7 through April 25, Sheldon Court consumed only 36.96 kilowatts, a 20.4 percent reduction. That translates to 4,231 fewer kilowatt hours used, or 3,837.6 pounds of carbon dioxide that an electricity plant didn’t need to produce. On the residence hall’s electric bill, the students saved the university $338.50.

Brandee Nicholson, Collegetown Halls residence hall director, sent emails to her residents to advertise the contest. In turn, Sheldon Court resident advisers spoke one-on-one with residents and suggested “small things they could do to save power. It was a small-scale individual effort,” said Nicholson. “I am very proud of the residents of Sheldon Court for winning this contest, and I think it goes to show how small changes can make a difference.”

Erin Moore, Cornell’s energy outreach coordinator, was heartened by the response to the contest. “It’s about the people in the residence halls and how efficiently they use their spaces that makes the difference in the end,” she said. “I think it truly shows how much can be done by paying attention to personal habits.”

In other contest results, Low Rises 6-10 on North Campus earned second place. From a baseline 89.12 kilowatts of electricity, Low Rises 6-10 used 71.33 kilowatts during the competition, a 20 percent reduction. Low Rises reduced their electricity consumption by 8,113.70 kilowatt hours, which translates into 7359.10 pounds of carbon dioxide avoided by an electricity plant. The students saved the university $1,298.20.

Last year’s winner Ecology House earned third place with a 16.1 percent reduction in electric usage. Their baseline consumption was 29.18 kilowatts, and they managed a 24.48 kilowatts usage. Ecology House dropped down 2,147 kilowatts, reducing their carbon footprint by 1,947.40 pounds, and they saved the university $171.80.


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Blaine Friedlander