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IU Energy Challenge Saves Electricity But No Water on Campus

Turning off lights helped Indiana University consume less electricity during its Energy Challenge. But some buildings appear to be growing less efficient.

Turning off lights helped Indiana University consume less electricity during its recently completed Energy Challenge. But some buildings appear to be growing less efficient, rather than more.

The good news from the 5th IU Energy Challenge is that the top-performing buildings used significantly less electricity and water than expected.

“We’re standing in front of a school of business that saved 24% over their previous three-year averages.  That’s pretty amazing,” said Director of Sustainability Bill Brown.  “The other winners included Kappa Alpha Theta.  They saved about 15% over their normal usage.  And then Briscoe quad saved about 24%.”

But the bad news is that for all the electricity savings, the competition registered no cumulative water savings campus-wide, thanks in part to new reporting standards.  In addition, three residence centers, four academic buildings and more than half of all Greek houses on campus showed increases in their energy consumption over the past six weeks.  But Brown said finding such anomalies can serve as a notice to the University that buildings need improvement.

“That diagnostic thing is pretty crude at this point, but when we have all these buildings fully metered, I think we’re going to get a lot of that information to allow us to find leaks very early on in their life so that we’re not wasting hundreds of thousands of gallons; we’re finding that when they’re just a small leak,” Brown said.

Brown said he’s pushing to have an energy usage tool installed on all buildings on campus, so building-by-building consumption can be tracked more efficiently.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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