A new project has been set up by GreenLancaster this term to try and raise student awareness of energy consumption and carbon footprints. Electricity meters have been installed into flats in Pendle College to record the ongoing electricity use for each residence.
The project is being run as part of GreenLancaster’s ongoing Carbon Competition. Mark Taylor, manager of GreenLancaster, described the competition as “an initiative which encourages students to reduce their energy consumption by providing prizes to the most energy-efficient flats.”
Taylor stressed how successful the scheme has been so far, with all 52 flats in Pendle and 45 townhouses in Grizedale and County now online. There are currently over 950 students participating in the Carbon Competition, with hopes to expand the scheme into other colleges across campus in the future.
Previously restricted to the County and Grizedale eco-residences, the scheme has now been extended to include Pendle, where monitors are situated in each flat’s kitchen. Students can view their current electricity use or reset to record individual weeks’ consumption.
“[Thanks to the meter] I have been able to see just how much electricity my flat was using,” one Pendle student said. “I was actually quite surprised at the meter reading as the seven of us had used £76.35 worth of electricity in five weeks. However, our overall position within Pendle College is a dismal 48th with 70.29kg CO2 per resident.”
Lancaster’s Facilities department also stresses that “the management of energy consumption and carbon emissions are arguably the two most important issues affecting the University.” Preliminary information from their Carbon Footprint Report indicates that in the academic year 2007-08 Lancaster University was responsible for emitting 71,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide. However, they aim to reduce the University’s overall consumption of water, electricity and gas use by 10% each. The GreenMeters are just one of a whole range of initiatives set to roll out to both accommodation and faculty buildings.
GreenLancaster’s Carbon Crusaders will also be visiting flats and townhouses soon to share hints and tips about how to reduce energy consumption in preparation for their Prize Giving Ceremony in week 10. Cash prizes for three awards are up for grabs – Trailblazers (best performing of the first few weeks), End of Term (best performing throughout the term) and Most Improved (biggest improvement over the second half of term).