University saves more than $200,000; Commons Center is Energy Bowl winner

The Commons Center (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

Energy conservation measures taken on the Vanderbilt campus during December’s Energy Bowl Challenge resulted in more than $200,000 in energy savings, according to Vanderbilt Plant Operations and the  Sustainability and Environmental Management Office.

The Commons Center at The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons was the campus winner, with an impressive 31 percent decrease in energy usage during the competition period. As a result, staff and faculty at The Commons Center will receive a pizza party.

Plant Operations kicked off the competition by centrally lowering temperatures to 65 degrees in almost all campus buildings and by turning off lights in all unoccupied areas. However, 10 buildings achieved energy savings of more than 15 percent compared to the same time period last year—the direct result of efforts taken by individuals within their own buildings to reduce consumption, including turning down individual thermostats and turning off remaining lights, electronics and equipment.

Nine other campus buildings achieved an energy savings of more than 15 percent, including Furman Hall, McGill Hall, Cole Hall, Hank Ingram House, the Schulman Center, Benson Hall, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Vaughn Hall and Carmichael Towers 1-4.

“[rquote]One of the goals of the Energy Bowl was to see a utility costs savings equal to one student’s tuition for a year, and we were able to more than quadruple that,”[/rquote] said Mark Petty, assistant vice chancellor for plant operations.

“We are very proud of the results that the university achieved during the campus Energy Bowl and the VUMC contest and hope that the Vanderbilt community recognizes how significant their energy conservation actions can be, especially if implemented year-round,” said Andrea George, director of SEMO.

For more information about how to conserve energy in the office, classroom, lab or residence hall, please visit SustainVU’s ThinkOne website.

For more information about the Energy Bowl contest or to contact SEMO, please call Tiffany Renfro at (615) 322-9022 or email