April 25, 2019 | 56° F

U. energy contest: Take the stairs

The start of March this year kicked off a University-wide energy contest aimed at reducing electrical energy usage. This month long contest, sponsored by University Facilities and Capital Planning, campus deans and Public Service Electric and Gas Company, is designed as a "Campus vs. Campus" Energy Competition where the five campuses will be competing to lower their percentage of electrical energy usage for the month of March. The campus that is able to reduce the percentage of electrical energy consumption the most compared to the month of March last year will win a roving trophy that will be presented on Earth Day, April 22.

Rutgers has been committed to finding sustainable energy solutions as well as to reducing energy use for some time now, which is evident through many of its projects and undertakings. These range from solar panel installations, making buildings more sustainable and efficient and the application of new energy policies, to name a few. This contest in particular highlights individual efforts on each of the Rutgers New Brunswick campuses.

Individual efforts can come in many forms and are simple to accomplish in saving energy. Ideas to actively reduce electrical energy use include:

Turn off lights when you leave the room.

Unplug cell phone chargers and computer chargers when not in use.

Turn off power strips when not in use.

Turn off computers when not in use.

For those who are interested in reducing their energy use while increasing their chance of winning the Rutgers Energy Contest, another way to consciously reduce energy use is through choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Not only does this effort save energy but it also burns calories — at about forty calories for every three floors that you climb. While this tradeoff may seem trivial, it adds up over time. The amount of energy required for an elevator to go up and down three floors a day for a month is enough to power a 37" plasma television for three hours. Collective action by choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator could save a lot of energy while boosting overall health. So next time you have the choice, take the stairs and save some energy!

For more information regarding the Rutgers Energy Contest and weekly updates please visit the University Facilities Web site: http://facilities.rutgers.edu/Energy/Contest.html.

Robert Vetter is a Cook College junior.

Robert Vetter

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