Residence halls compete to lower carbon footprint

Altogether, eight residence halls saved nearly 70,000 kilowatt-hours, averted over 62,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and saved about $11,000 in energy costs as a part of the Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) competition.

Hofstra is among over 150 schools that are taking charge in an effort to conserve energy on campus, reducing the irreversible damage we do to the world, in the CCN competition.

Hofstra is now in its fourth year of participation, and in collaboration with the Office of Residential Programs, the competition was more widespread than in years past.

Over the past few weeks, there were three groups of residence halls competing to see which building could reduce their energy consumption the most. Alliance, Vander Poel and Constitution halls competed against each other, as did Bill of Rights, Estabrook and Enterprise halls, and Nassau and Suffolk halls.

The halls that came out on top in their respective groups were Alliance, Enterprise and Nassau. However, overall, Nassau Hall reduced their consumption of energy the most, with a 35 percent reduction.

Now in its fifth year, CCN is the largest electricity and water reduction competition for colleges and universities in the world.

Jointly organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, Lucid, National Wildlife Federation and Alliance to Save Energy, the competition aims to do many things, including to “engage, educate, motivate and empower students to conserve resources in residence halls and other campus buildings,” according to its website, CompeteToReduce.org.

To carry out these goals on this campus, the Office of Sustainability, Residential Programs, Students for a Greener Hofstra and Sustainability Studies Club joined forces to host this competition.

These numbers affirm that Hofstra is willing to help maintain a cleaner planet, but more can and should be done. “From the statistics, we can see progress of the increasing reduction. But still, not many students were notified of what was going on,” said Tsz Hin Tang, president of Students for a Greener Hofstra.

Dakota Pelly, a freshman sustainability studies major who resides in Alliance Hall, was upset that he wasn’t aware of the competition. “I wish I would have known more about the project being done. Energy usage is an important factor in the future of Earth, and it should be considered by all to be more sustainable for future generations to have reliable and safe energy that doesn’t harm the planet,” said Pelly.

Tang felt that it was very important to bring the competition back to this campus because people need to be aware of what is happening to the environment.

“It is the thought of caring about the environment that is the most important part of the education. People do not care because they do not know what is happening,” said Tang. “If they want to know what they can do to help the environment, they have to first know that they can be part of the change. For example, if everyone knows how and where a plastic bag would end up, they might consider not using one.”

For Tang, leaving a livable planet for future generations means starting initiatives like the campaign #PRIDEnotPLASTIC, which was created to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic bags in the environment and ultimately ban them from campus.

For universities like Hofstra all across the country, the competition is about joining together to go from conserving over 500,000 kilowatt-hours and averting 815,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in 2010, to saving 2.2 million kilowatt-hours, averting 3 million pounds of CO2 and saving 476,000 gallons of water in 2014.

Tang offers ways in which each individual person can make a difference on campus.

“Try to use less electricity. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Turn the lights off when no one is in the room,” Tang said. “Use a reusable water bottle to eliminate plastic waste. Ask for a plate when you eat in Student Center. And of course, join Students for a Greener Hofstra.”

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