Luther Sustainability and ECO to conduct fourth annual energy competition Feb. 5-March 5

Jan. 5, 2010

Luther College Sustainability and the college’s Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO) will conduct the fourth annual Luther College Energy Competition from Feb. 5–March 5, challenging students to reduce energy use in the college’s residence halls.

The annual Luther Energy Competitions are an integral part of the college’s sustainability initiative which aims to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint by 50 percent from peak levels.  Luther has reduced its carbon footprint more than 15 percent since sustainability was made a central part of Luther’s five-year strategic plan in 2007.

“As in previous years, weekly meter readings will be coupled with energy audits of each residence hall room on campus as a way of educating students about energy use and providing them with the knowledge they need to help their building reduce overall consumption,” said Maren Stumme-Diers, assistant sustainability coordinator and member of the 2010 Energy Competition planning team.

Stumme-Diers said students living in Luther’s Brandt, Ylvisaker, Olsen, Larsen, Miller and Dieseth residence halls and in the Baker Village student housing complex will all participate. The energy conservation themes for the 2010 Energy Competition will focus on “phantom” loads, water, lights and heat.

Students will be encouraged to reduce energy use by turning off unneeded lights, shutting off computers when not in use, cutting back on the use of electrical appliances including game systems and televisions, unplugging cell phone and laptop chargers when not in use, and reducing their use of hot water.ECO and Sustainability will also host an “unplugged” concert, promote energy-themed conservation weeks and conduct on-campus information and education campaigns to promote a culture of conservation at Luther.

The February Energy Competition will become part of a comprehensive Energy Conservation Program that Luther is developing with consultants from Sebesta-Blomberg, a nationally recognized engineering, eco-management and energy management firm.  

During fall semester, Luther President Richard Torgerson approved the proposal for Luther’s Environmental, Fiscal and Socially responsible Edifice (LEFSE).  This house dedicated to building a sustainable lifestyle will become a housing option for students beginning fall 2010.

Other January sustainability initiatives at Luther include hosting the first Oneota Film Festival (www.oneotafilmfestival.org) Jan. 22-23 and a feasibility study of a Zip Car service on campus.

For more information about the 2010 Energy Competition and other sustainability projects at Luther, visit the sustainability website, www.luther.edu/sustainability.