London Hall wins Rez Powers Down challenge

Students in London Hall dialed back their energy consumption over the past two weeks to win Western’s Rez Powers Down conservation challenge. In their building alone, participants reduced energy consumption by 19.3 per cent or nearly 18,000 kwh of energy.

Rez Powers Down was initially developed to bring conservation awareness to students as they left campus and became renters, paying their own utility bills. This year’s campaign took a more active role on campus by challenging students in residence to out conserve each other.

Although London Hall led the competition, Alumni House was a close second with 10.8 per cent savings, while Delaware placed third with 4.5 per cent savings. Overall, participating residences reduced their energy consumption by an average of 5.48 per cent, totalling 38,710 kwh and saving Western residences over $4,000. Organizers used Facilities Management’s new real-time energy dashboard to monitor progress over the two week period.

Andrew Quenneville, Alumni House assistant program coordinator, teamed up with the Residence Staff Sustainability Committee and Facilities Management to drive the campaign.

“The Rez Powers Down campaign is a student-run sustainability initiative that we’ve promoted for the past three years in the residences at Western,” Quenneville said. “Sustainability is a priority in the Department of Housing and Ancillary Services and so we really wanted to make the campaign appeal to students in residence this year.”

Facilities Management’s Environmental Project Coordinator helped launch the campaign by hosting an energy conservation awareness event. With that information, residence representatives were able to champion efforts in their respective buildings.

“Residence representatives performed nightly energy checks to ensure residents’ appliances were unplugged, lights were turned off and thermostats were down to about 20 degrees,” Quenneville said. “As well, residents were encouraged to take shorter showers, reduce the temperature of their showers, run only full loads of laundry, wash their clothes with cold water and reduce their use of building elevators.”

“There were unofficial guerilla light monitors, including the building’s head Residence Soph, that went around the building making sure that lights in hallways and common spaces were off when they weren’t in use,” said Mitch Campbell, London Hall’s residence manager. “London Hall is also fortunate to have an environmental floor, and their leadership team was a critical force in raising awareness of both the Rez Powers Down program and the importance of energy conservation in general.”