Wattage Wars? What’s that?

Danielle Schultz–Staff Writer

The Sustainability Committee is holding a competition for all Dordt students from Oct. 15 through Nov. 14: whichever residence hall, apartment, or dorm reduces its energy the most (percentage-wise) wins.

“We were just looking for a way to motivate the campus towards sustainability, which is one of our primary goals at the committee,” said Elayne Apol, one of the three co-chairs of the Sustainability Committee.

According to Apol, the competition will benefit both students and administration at Dordt. Students will learn how to successfully reduce electricity, which will create life-long habits that will save them money later in life. Administration will save money when the competition results in reduced electricity bills.

How can students save energy? The three main energy-users are heating, electricity, and idle electronics. Students can turn off all lights when they leave the room and consider unplugging their Christmas lights and using one light instead. The heater can also be turned down to minimal levels. If students are comfortable in sweatshirts, then there is no need to have the room feel like a summer day. Finally, unplugging idle electronics can save energy.

“Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that any electronics they have plugged in—even if they are not actively using them—will suck electricity.” Apol said. She noted that some of the biggest issues are Xboxes, Play-Stations, and smart T.V.s. Modern electronics are advanced enough that they should not be harmed when unplugged.

And because Dordt’s electricity is fossil-fuel based, the competition will also help reduce fossil fuel usage, which is another goal of the Sustainability Committee.

The prize for the residence hall that wins the competition is an ice cream party for the entire building. Since the electricity reduction will be measured by percentage, it will not give a residence hall with less people an advantage over one with more people.

If everyone contributes to this competition, Dordt could become a lot more sustainable. After all, according to Apol, each year idle electronics in the U.S. consume about the same output as 12 powerplants.

“If [Dordt’s] September electricity usage was consistent year around,” she said, “we would consume about 10 percent of the amount of electricity that the entire nation of Liberia consumes in a year. And that’s just our residence halls. That’s not the community. That’s not our state. That’s Dordt’s residence halls.”

Even little steps, like turning all the lights off before you leave the room, could make a big difference and benefit our campus and world.

If students are interested in joining the Sustainability Committee, they should email sustainability@dordt.edu.

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