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Fostering energy-wise choices through student engagement generates significant results
The University of the Fraser Valley has committed to reduce energy use on campus not only through upgrades and technological changes, but also by encouraging energy conservation among colleagues and students. UFV is participating in BC Hydro’s Workplace Conservation Awareness (WCA) program, which draws upon the power of employee engagement to save energy and to establish a permanent culture of conservation within an organization.
"The students in Baker House are important to overall energy conservation at UFV. These students have a greater sense of connection to the campus, and act as ambassadors to the rest of the students here."
--Sheldon Marche, UFV's Associate Director Building Systems
Engaging student in energy saving behaviour on campus can be a big challenge for post-secondary institutions. Many of the students are living on their own for the first time, and are unaware of the energy implications of their actions. The team at UFV tackled this challenge with a successful competition in the Baker House, facing one wing against the other in a challenge to save energy.
The challenge took place over the month of November 2013, and involved a pledge, tabling, social events and social media promotions. Enlisting the help from residence advisors (RAs) was key to the success of the campaign. Through facilitating meetings, promoting the competition at related events, leading by example and encouraging their students, the RA’s were able to help foster a competitive spirit and great participation. Social media, posters and student events facilitated strong engagement, promoting the challenge and the actions students could take to make a difference. The behaviours focused on:
- Turning off lights when leaving
- Turning down heat
- Unplugging chargers
The BC Hydro Outreach Team visited during a basketball game, and the students promoted the challenge with a Onesie party. Electricity metering was installed to measure results, and the teams were challenged to compete for the lower electricity usage over the competition period.
The results included 67 pledges (34% of approx. 200 students) to save energy between the two teams, with the winning South Wing using 5% less energy than the competing North Wing. The winning wing was presented a trophy and $10 Tim Hortons Cards for those who completed the pledge.