Sustainable UConn

By Rich Miller

How our values about the environment, clean energy, and social responsibility are greening the Husky Blue. Rich Miller is director of the Office of Environmental Policy.

Results for UConn’s EcoMadness 2012

As the sparse remnants of UConn’s fall foliage flutter to the ground, just days after the powerful winds of Hurricane Sandy stripped the leaves from even the most resilient of Oak trees on campus, it signals (at least to us campus sustainability wonks) that another fall season of EcoMadness has come to an end. The annual, one-month, inter-dorm energy and water conservation competition among 23 student residence halls, those that house primarily first- and second-year students, is over.  Our team of OEP interns have collected and tallied the real-time data reported by our Facilities Management Department’s carefully-calibrated sub-metering system and identified the winners and runners up. Now, all that remains is to award the coveted water-drop conservation trophy and carbon offset certificate to this year’s champions and celebrate a friendly but hard-fought contest with our UConn Dairy Bar/premium ice cream socials, held at the winning dorms.

The goal with EcoMadness is to instill more sustainable habits among our students, especially early in their academic careers, in order to reduce UConn’s overall consumption of electricity and water, and to help each of them leave a smaller ecological footprint during their college years and beyond. It seems to be working! This year, our purchased carbon offset certificate, representing the total greenhouse gas emissions avoided as a result of energy conserved by all participants throughout the competition, was for 39 tons eCO2 — the highest amount in the six-year history of EcoMadness!

Thanks to all of our colleagues in Facilities Management and ResLife, as well as OEP staff and interns, who helped run another successful campus energy and water conservation competition.

Here’s the re-cap from Katie Kelleher, a 5th semester Agricultural & Resource Economics student and the OEP’s lead EcoMadness intern this year.


The final results for EcoMadness 2012 are in!


Throughout the competition, Buckley held the number one spot for lowest daily per capita usage of energy, at 3.7 kWh per student per day.  Their hard work and dedication kept them in the lead, and as a reward they will have a free UConn Dairy Bar ice cream party in addition to bragging rights!

In the energy reduction category, Sherman/Webster of Towers held the lead for three weeks. However, during our double or nothing final week of competition, Whitney scrambled ahead in the final moments! They had held a top three position throughout the competition, but Whitney beat out Sherman/Webster by a slim 0.03% finishing for a 20.5% total reduction in energy consumption.

Of the 23 participating dorms, 21 successfully reduced their energy consumption by a total average of 8.5%. The average per capita use was 4.4 kWh per day.


Sprague, the new home of EcoHouse, was the clear winner for water reduction with an incredible final reduction of 21.0%! For some perspective on what a major accomplishment this was, the second place dorm reduced by 13.0%. Since the second week of competition, Sprague held its leading spot with steady improvements each week.   Another winner who held their position consistently throughout EcoMadness was Hamilton/Wade/Fenwick/Keller of Towers with an average per capita consumption of 32.0 gallons of water per day throughout the course of the competition.

Nine of the 23 dorms reduced their water consumption by an overall average of 2.9%.  Excluding the dorms whose water consumption was unchanged, the average reduction in water consumption was 7.1%.  The average per capita use of water was 39.9 gallons per day.

An honorable mention goes out to our second and third place dorms in all four categories:

Per Capita Energy: Holcomb (2nd Place) and Batterson (3rd Place)
Energy Use Reduction (%): Sherman/Webster (2nd Place) and Hollister A/Hollister B (3rd Place)

Per Capita Water: Terry (2nd Place) and Spraque (33.4)
Water Use Reduction: Alsop A/Alsop B (2nd Place) and Whitney (3rd Place)

The overall final results are as follows:

        Water Reduction Winner:
        Sprague (21% Reduction)

       Energy Reduction Winner:
       Whitney (East) (20.5% Reduction)

       Water Usage Per Capita Winner:
       Hamilton/Wade/Fenwick/Keller (32 gallons)

       Energy Usage Per Capita Winner:
       Buckley (3.7 kWh)

Congratulations to students in all dorms who successfully reduced water and/or energy consumption during the course of EcoMadness.  Keep up the good work and remember to keep conserving!