Water, energy use declines in dorms

A University environmental challenge has saved more than 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 2.6 million gallons of water since the beginning of the year, according to data released earlier this month.

Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 16, students living in University-owned housing used 6.6 percent less electricity and 9.6 percent less water per person than they did over the same time period last year, according to data from GW’s Eco-Challenge. The challenge, now in its second year, is a University-wide initiative to track changes in GW’s water and electricity usage.

GW housing conserved 304,401 kilowatt hours of electricity and 2,656,431 gallons of water, according to challenge data, but Director of Planning and Environmental Management Nancy Giammatteo said while students are still improving their conservation efforts, they did not reduce their electricity usage at the same rate as last year.

“GW’s residence halls are conserving more water this year than in last year’s contest, but they aren’t quite conserving as much electricity as last year,” Giammatteo said. “We are still using less electricity than last year, but not to the same degree as last year’s reduction. Any reduction in electricity or water consumption yields a direct decrease in GW’s carbon emissions.”

Director of the Office of Sustainability Meghan Chapple-Brown said there is still plenty of potential for improvement, noting there are many ways students can save by changing daily habits.

“Each time you turn off your computer or your lights, you may feel like it is no big deal, but all of these small actions do add up to big impact,” she said. “The numbers from this period show that once again GW students are willing to step up to the plate to help make change on campus.”

The Phi Sigma Sigma house, located at 2028 G St., houses 16 female students and was the top conserver overall. They used 43.4 percent less water and nearly 25 percent less electricity than last year, according to the Eco-Challenge report.

Top 10 Rankings
1. 2028 G St. (Phi Sigma Sigma)
2. Guthridge Hall
3. Hensley Hall
4. 526 22nd St.
5. 2109 F St.
6. 1959 E St.
7. 605 22nd St. (Alpha Epsilon Pi)
8. Amsterdam Hall
9. Francis Scott Key
10. 603 22nd St. (Beta Theta Pi)

“We are absolutely thrilled and proud,” said Andrea Johnson, house manager for Phi Sigma Sigma. “The girls have been working really hard to pay attention to the little things.”

Phi Sigma Sigma President Madi Lottenbach said the townhouse’s location near the ‘green building’ was an inspiration for the girls.

“Living across from Building JJ last year, GW’s green dorm, was very inspirational,” Lottenbach said.

Building JJ, located at 2031 F St., did not make the top 10 list for conservation this year, despite topping the chart last year. The townhouse ranked 11th for their energy usage and 19th for their water usage.

South Hall, the new LEED certified residence hall on campus, was not included in the results.

“South Hall cannot be ranked in the Eco-Challenge because there is no historical data to compete against,” Giammatteo said. “A different contest for South Hall is being developed to incentivize students to conserve resources in this hall.”

Giammatteo said one of the benefits of the contest is allowing GW to track building consumption over time to spot any high-usage buildings.

Over the summer, the University completed upgrades to buildings, which may have had an impact on the results.

Francis Scott Key Hall, which currently ranks ninth, received new low-flow toilets and showerheads. Additionally, new boiler controls were installed in FSK, Crawford, Lafayette, Strong, Madison, and Fulbright halls, along with Building JJ, Giammatteo said.

The University also installed motion sensors in all residence hall laundry rooms and basement lounges on both campuses so when students leave, the lights will turn off.

Giammatteo said all students are encouraged to conserve resources throughout the remainder of the contest, which ends April 14.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.