Andover Falls to Deerfield in 2012 Green Cup Challenge

This week, Andover lost to Deerfield in the Green Cup Challenge for the second year in a row. The 2012 competition concluded on Wednesday at midnight.

Both Andover and Deerfield Academy participated in the challenge, which began on January 18, to see which school could reduce its energy consumption by the greatest percentage in one month.

Deerfield reduced its campus electricity use by 7.8 percent, which was more than twice Andover’s usage reduction of 3.7 percent.

The Green Cup Challenge was a campus-wide initiative, with both dorms and academic buildings working to reduce energy consumption.

The top three dorms with the greatest electricity reduction were Eaton Cottage with a reduction of 25.4 percent, Pemberton Cottage with 15.1 percent and Bancroft Hall with 13.5 percent. This year marks the second consecutive year that Eaton Cottage has placed first in the dorm rankings. Last year, Eaton Cottage reduced its energy use by 30.6 percent.

Conversely, the top three Deerfield dorms reduced their usage by 54.3 percent, 17.1 percent and 15.8 percent, according to Building Dashboard.

Eaton Cottage gained a strong start in the competition when Shawn Fulford, Eaton Cottage House Counselor, unplugged Christmas lights that had been plugged in since December. According to Jonah Guerin, organizer of Andover’s Green Cup Challenge and Community Sustainability Intern, this action played a significant role in the dorm’s final success.

Bancroft and Fuess implemented the use of an environmental proctor who motivated students to conserve energy usage. Erin Wong ’13 serves as Bancroft’s environmental proctor.

“She did a great job of rallying the troops, getting everyone interested. [Bancroft] basically really lived in the dark for the past month or so,” said Guerin.

The three winning dorms will have a choice of a Chipotle, Panera or chipwich dorm munch as a prize. Eaton will get their first pick for its munch, and Pemberton and Bancroft will choose next.

The Gelb Science Center also contributed to the energy usage reduction efforts spending a day teaching classes using only the natural light from windows.

According to Guerin, one possible reason for Andover’s loss was the fall sustainability competition. During the fall, a dorm-wide challenge to reduce electricity usage sparked sustainability efforts on campus.

Guerin said, “I think people got really amped up for [the fall competition]. So maybe having a second competition in the winter…people maybe weren’t as excited about it.”

Another possible reason for Andover’s loss to Deerfield could be that Andover was already very eco-friendly to begin with. Guerin believes that Andover students were already living sustainably, a lifestyle which made it harder to show a drastic reduction in dorms that were already very eco-friendly.

Student motivation and enthusiasm are crucial factors in winning the Green Cup Challenge, according to Guerin.

He said, “Getting people interested is definitely the key and really making people want to reduce their energy.”

Planning more events to bring attention to the Green Cup Challenge or possibly getting different and better prizes for the winners are two ways that Guerin believes could bring Andover to break its losing streak next year.

As in previous years, the Sustainability Office and participants of the challenge will meet to assess which sustainability measures were most effective. They will also use the meeting to consider what future actions dorms should be advised to undertake for next year’s challenge, in order to maximize energy reduction.

Guerin hopes that students will continue to engage in energy reduction efforts even after the challenge has ended and will take these lessons into the future.

Guerin outlined easily implemented steps that students can take to reduce their carbon footprint both during and after the Green Cup Challenge.

Guerin said, “Leaving your windows open is one thing that definitely is an issue. Keeping windows closed will be a big help to save energy.”

He also said that although many people may not notice, taking the elevator consumes a lot of energy, while taking the stairs can in fact save a considerable amount of electricity.

Unplugging appliances even when they’re turned off can save energy as well. To make this an easy task, Guerin suggests purchasing a special power strip that can be turned off fully with a switch, eliminating the need to unplug appliances repeatedly.

Although the Green Cup Challenge is a national campaign to promote competitive eco-action, Deerfield was the only school Andover directly competed against because it is the only other New England area prep school that also uses Building Dashboard to monitor dorm energy consumption.

Since its launch last year, Building Dashboard has been used to relay energy usage data collected from meters in dorms across campus.