Vic Student Bethany Paterson has plotted a competition between Te Puni and Weir House to lower the halls’ power use.
The competition, dubbed Switch It Off, hopes to get students thinking about their personal energy use and how it can be changed by altering day-to-day habits.
Between July 13 and last Monday, Te Puni had reduced its energy use by more than five per cent on the same period last year—a healthy lead over Weir, which had saved less than one per cent.
VUWSA’s Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer Rory Lenihan-Ikin, who has been involved with the project, told Salient that “since the launch two weeks ago, we have had strong interest from students at both halls, with quite a few students stepping up to take a lead”.
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With the support from VUWSA, Meridian Energy and other power companies, first year students will be able learn tips and change their habits surrounding energy use in time for flatting.
Lenihan-Ikin claimed that “typically, students are forced to learn fast about power use when they move into flats and are hit by the burden of power bills for the first time. If students can begin this learning while they are in halls, then hopefully they can head into flats a bit more prepared”.
This is not the first energy-saving scheme that the university has put in place to encourage students to be eco-friendly. While there are additional academic options for students interested, the Hub is a key example of the university’s sustainability with it’s recycling facilities.
The Green Wall outside Maki Mono was also a Council-supported feature offering people a ‘connection’ with nature.
On top of all of this, the university has improved its environmental footprint in the past two years by significantly lowering its electricity and gas consumption as well as reducing its carbon emissions and waste.
According to the university’s Environmental Manager Andrew Wilkes, these initiatives saw Victoria use 6.99 gigajoules of energy per equivalent full-time student in 2014, 22 per cent below the national average of 9.01 GJ/EFTS for tertiary education institutions.
Long-term, the University hopes that the competition will normalise energy efficient practices in halls and remain a part of the University’s green policies.
OTHER ENERGY INITIATIVES FROM THE UNIVERSITY
- Working with the Wellington Regional Council on the design of the new Wellington City bus network and tertiary concession fares
- Distribution of walking maps
- Installation of a bike repair stand on the Kelburn campus
- Planning for a carpooling scheme
- Introducing incentives for staff to give up their parking permits
- ‘Growing Graduates’ tree planting
- Regular monitoring of water use patterns to detect anomalies
- Expansion of the University’s new recycling system to the Te Aro campus and the Rankine Brown building
- Organic waste collection at Hare Krishna outlets
- Installation of sensors on lighting in stairwells
- Some LED lighting replacements
- Home Energy Saver assessments (including installation of water efficient showerheads, cylinder wraps and lagging, LED light bulbs, draught stripping and insulation) in university hall houses