Energy, water consumption soar in Greek life residences

Media Credit: Elise Apelian | Senior Staff Photographer

Townhouse Row, which is home to eight Greek chapters, recorded a 150 percent rise in water consumption since the last cycle of the eco-challenge.

Just as GW is urging students to think green, 70 percent of residence halls used more electricity during the University-wide eco-challenge this fall, according to results released Friday.

Participation in the annual challenge to conserve energy and water plummeted for the second year in a row this fall, signaling a rough road ahead for the University’s sustainability goals, which include reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2040.

Greek chapter houses have been some of the worst performers in the eco-challenge so far.

Townhouse Row, which houses eight Greek chapters, recorded the greatest rise in water consumption, increasing by about 150 percent this cycle. The Beta Theta Pi house at 603 22 St. increased its electricity consumption by 43 percent, the most out of any hall.

A total of 18 halls increased electricity use by more than 10 percent, and 13 halls saw water usage increases of 10 percent or greater. For example, Mitchell Hall increased its water consumption by 73 percent and FSK Hall increased its electricity use by 30 percent.

Munson Hall won this phase with a decrease in electricity consumption by 7 percent and a 42 percent reduction in water use.

Shannon Ross, a coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, said she wants all the residence halls “to step up their efforts in October.”

“Student involvement is critical to reducing GW’s carbon and water footprint, and even small actions like unplugging chargers when not in use or turning off the water while brushing your teeth add up to a big impact for the University,” she said.

The Office of Sustainability tried to spark interest by revamping the annual energy-saving competition this fall, adding monthly prizes as incentives to save more water and electricity.

During last year’s contest, more than half of the 30 participating residence halls increased their water and energy consumption.

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