Campus Wars results gradually

By Emma Gallegos

Results slowly trickling in from February’s Campus Wars have led event organizers to declare Macalester’s efforts to conserve energy a success.

According to event organizer Timothy Den Herder-Thomas ’09, so far Macalester is leading the group of six Minnesota colleges that have submitted the amount of heat and electricity used for the month of February.

The objective of the competition was for each campus to reduce its heat and electricity output by the greatest percentage when compared to an average of the last three years. The event was organized by Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society (Mac CARES) and Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG).

Macalester reduced its electricity usage by 8.42 percent. In close second, Carleton reduced its usage by 6.83 percent. Hamline University and University of Minnesota-Morris– the two other schools who have submitted data so far – registered increases.

Den Herder-Thomas said that measuring which campus decreased the total amount of energy spent on heat was a little more difficult. This February happened to be a colder month than any of the previous three years so everyone who reported results, including Macalester, actually used more heat this year.

Macalester used 9.94 percent more heat this year, but Den Herder-Thomas said that had the college not taken steps to reduce its heat output, that increase would have been closer to 21 percent. Macalester had the smallest increase: Morris’ heating went up 11.79 percent and Hamline went up 14 percent.

Den Herder-Thomas said that he is still waiting to hear back from the other nine campuses that participated.

Even as he cited ways that the college can further reduce energy output, such as lowering the thermostat in academic buildings or turning off lights used in the Campus Center during the daytime, Den Herder-Thomas credits February’s success to efforts from all parts of the Macalester community. He said he was amazed at the response.
Winton Health Services made signs encouraging people to take the stairs, while Facilities Management and individual departments on campus tried to make sure that electrical equipment in academic buildings such as media towers in each classroom were turned off when they weren’t being used.

Den Herder-Thomas said Campus Wars will continue annually, and because the 3-year average will include the previous year’s records, campuses that did well initially, like Macalester and Carleton, will be challenged to best themselves. He said that he hopes that more efforts to communicate and collaborate between campuses will help to lower heat and electricity usage among all the competitors.