PA in 8th Place After 3 Weeks Of Green Cup: Energy Consumption Decreases by 6.7%

After three weeks of the Green Cup Challenge, Phillips Academy is currently ranked eighth out of 15 competing schools. Last week, Andover’s energy consumption was 6.7% lower than the average week when Andover’s baseline was measured a month ago. Holderness is currently in first place, with Millbrook and Darrow in second and third places respectively. On Monday, the overall results of the competition will be released, along with the results for the fourth and final week of the contest. Together the fifteen schools competing have prevented almost 263,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Over the past three weeks, Andover’s percent energy reduction has increased steadily. Andover cut 0.3% of its average energy spending during week one, 4.41% in week two, and 6.7% last week. Overall, Andover has reduced its total energy use by 3.8% through the Challenge so far. The mid-winter holiday weekend may have contributed to the reduction, as the school did not need to heat or light academic buildings as during a day of class. Many students also spent the weekend off campus, helping cut energy spending in dorms. Andover’s significant reduction is also likely due to recently combined efforts of the Office of the Physical Plant and the Chemistry Department. After realizing that many of our fume hoods remain on at all times, even throughout school breaks, a few faculty members of the Chemistry department worked with OPP’s energy management system (EMS) to find a way to only turn on fume hoods when needed. “Our reduction was really a combination between OPP being creative, and personal, independent behavior changes,” said Rebecca Bogdanovitch, Sustainability Coordinator. With one more day left in the competition, Bogdanovitch urges students to be aware of their energy use, and to continue to turn off lights, unplug chargers and turn down heat when possible. She also encourages students to periodically check the dorm energy monitor on the first floor of Gelb, and to note the significance of time of day in relation to energy expenditure. Eco-Action will sponsor a Coffee House in the Underwood Room this Friday night to celebrate the Green Cup. The event, named “Unplugged,” will feature a variety of student-led performances that will not use electricity at all. Performers will rely on acoustic instruments and their own voices, without microphones. Eco-Action is also hoping to make plans for National Day of Climate Action on April 14th. This day, also known as “Step It Up” day, is part of a movement currently organizing across the country. In over 850 communities nationwide, people will gather and rally with a common message — a request to the U.S. Congress to help reduce carbon emissions and to pledge an 80% reduction by the year 2050. Bill McKibben, an environmentalist and current professor at Middlebury College, is the leader behind the program. He plans to start by lobbying with state legislatures to raise awareness and encourage Congress to be more proactive in dealing with climate change. Eco-Action hopes to organize some sort of event at PA on “Step It Up” Day, possibly in collaboration with Andover High School or the town of Andover. Other communities will observe “Step It Up” day with marches, parades and speeches. Though a large event may not be possible, Eco-Action hopes to celebrate National Day of Climate Action somehow. In response to the Green Cup Challenge so far, members of Eco-Action said they were pleased with the awareness raised this year and with the spirit of the school during the past weeks. They hope for even more success in the competitions in the coming years. Next year, PA may begin inter-cluster energy-saving competitions, with prizes for the dorms and clusters that reduce the most. While many dorms are not currently equipped to measure energy use, OPP may install more meters in the near future. Drawing from the model of other schools, Andover may implement “environmental proctors” in each dorm. Bogdanovitch is still working on a proposal for a similar system here. Proctor applicants in the future might be able to specify if they would like to be an “E-proctor.” “E-proctors” would remind dorm members to turn of lights and unplug appliances year-round, and would be especially active during the weeks of the Green Cup Challenge. While options for next year’s competition are still being discussed, students are reminded to practice sustainable energy-saving habits year-round.