Andover Places Seventh in Green Cup After First Week With 0.3% Reduction

After the first week of the Green Cup Challenge, Andover has emerged in seventh place out of fifteen schools with a 0.3% reduction in energy consumption of 544 Kilowatts. Though a small percentage, this reduction is significant considering that temperatures during the last week were 38% colder than during the period when Andover’s average energy consumption was measured. “It’s so telling of how behavior changes energy consumption. The energy change was powered completely by human behavior; we counteracted the power plant. We can’t change the weather, but we can change how we conserve energy,” said Rebecca Bogdanovitch, Sustainability Coordinator. Over the past week, the administration has encouraged students to turn off lights and computers and to lower indoor temperatures, but some dorms are going above and beyond expectations. “In my dorm, we’ve turned off all the hallway lights, but now we’re having issues with people falling down the stairs. I know it’s a competition, but we also need to make sure our efforts can be maintained in the long term and that we’re being sustainable,” said Bethany Simard ’07, Head of Eco-Action and resident of Double Brick House. After a few incidents where students had tampered with circuit breakers, the school reminded students that while competitive spirit is appreciated, safety should be the priority. Many members of the community have taken taking aggressive measures to reduce energy consumption. In the OWH Library, students are turning off lights when not in use, and the library staff has asked students to use flashlights in the stacks. The Commons staff has tried to keep lighting at a minimum. Students in Eco-Action are taking on the roles of “Green Cup Stewards,” encouraging and overseeing energy reduction in other buildings on campus. Some PA students believe there is room for improvement in campus energy saving. “I feel like the student body is not that motivated,” said Naomi Jiang ’07 “There’s no real incentive — the $3,000 [prize] isn’t so important to the students. Even if the dorm or cluster saving the most energy won a pizza party, I think people would be more motivated. Some sort of free food [because] people like free food.” Emma Ellis ’07 said that she thought the student body was not living up to the expectations of the Challenge. She said, “The Green Cup Challenge is supposed to teach us about the environment; we’re supposed to incorporate these values ourselves, be inspired to save energy and develop the skills and habits to reduce our energy use.” A number of students expressed concerns with wasteful use of energy, like unused vending machines and computer labs where computers are left on all night. Certain dorms and buildings do not have illuminated fire exits and are therefore required to leave hall and stairway lights on at all times. Proctor Academy is currently leading in the Challenge with an alleged energy reduction of 92%, and in second place is Deerfield Academy with an energy reduction of 25%. Due to metering issues, these percentages are in question and being looked into. Exeter has decreased energy consumption by 7.8%, and six out of the fifteen schools participating have experienced an increase in energy expenditure, likely due to an increase in power spent on heating after recent falling temperatures. Some competing schools have devised specific strategies for saving energy in the contest. Schools such as Deerfield and Northfield Mount Hermon have assigned dorm representatives, at Deerfield called “environmental proctors,” to enforce energy saving techniques in dorms. Proctor has started a series of weekly candlelit dinners to save energy, and Deerfield’s sit-down lunches no longer feature electric lights, as students take advantage of natural light. Spencer Harkins, a sophomore at Proctor, explained that the school’s extensive recycling system helps to reduce their energy consumption and that the student body at Proctor has been very motivated in the GCC. “They’ve pounded it into our heads that we have to save energy, and they showed our video at an assembly; it was so good. Maybe not everyone is stoked, but they’re definitely all happy to help to save the environment.” When asked if he thought Proctor might win the Challenge, Harkins said, “I know we’re going to win. But I guess it doesn’t matter because in the end everyone wins. The environment wins.” Sustainability Coordinator Rebecca Bogdanovitch has asked that students remember to unplug all electronics and lights, especially when leaving for the Midwinter Holiday weekend. Every light, computer or appliance turned off will save energy, increase Andover’s chances of winning the Green Cup, reduce energy consumption and help the environment.