Quad, Franklin Building Win 2011 Power Down Challenge

December 15, 2011

Congratulations to the Quad College Houses (Fisher Hassenfeld, Riepe, and Ware) and the Franklin Building for their victories in this fall's Power Down Challenge, a three-week energy conservation competition which took place from November 1-20. The competition is part of the University's larger commitment to reduce campus energy use by 17 percent by 2014, as outlined in the Penn Climate Action Plan.

Both the Franklin building and Quad College Houses reduced their electric consumption by more than 20 percent over the three-week competition. They saved more than 35,000 and 25,000 hours (kWh) of electricity, respectively. To put the savings in perspective, 25,000 kWh is equivalent to planting 453 trees, powering 40 homes, taking 63 cars off the road, or preventing the release of 17.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the same three-week period.

Prior to the start of the competition, each building’s energy consumption was calculated as part of a unique two-week baseline reading. Since the Quad is metered as one building, Fisher Hassenfeld, Ware, and Riepe worked together as a single building in the College House competition. All buildings were ranked based on their percent electricity reduction against their baseline. Quad residents celebrated the victory with a house party, where raffle winners picked up bamboo flash drives, an eco-friendly hemp backpack, and one bicycle for the grand prize. The Franklin Building staff celebrated their win this week with refreshments and energy-themed giveaways.

Throughout the competition, College House residents focused on turning off lights in their rooms and in the common areas, unplugging appliances in their rooms, and greening their laundry practices by washing only full loads of laundry in cold water.  The winning team at the Franklin Building communicated both through the management structure and through Staff Eco-Rep / Green Team members.  Office managers reminded their colleagues to participate in the competition, and Green Team members acted as role models, educators, and as a last resort walked around and turned off unnecessary lights and appliances.  Certain successful conservation efforts and solutions to energy efficiency challenges will be addressed and applied to buildings across campus where possible.

All together, the 15 participating buildings (College Houses and campus buildings) saved a total of 113,778 kWh over 20 days, which is equivalent to:

  • Over 2,000 trees planted
  • About 9,000 gallons of gasoline conserved, which is like driving 46 round trips between here and San Francisco
  • Powering 185 West Philadelphia homes for three weeks
  • Taking 280 cars off the road for three weeks

In addition to the College Houses and other campus buildings, Hillel was also metered throughout the competition and achieved a 14 percent reduction in electricity usage thanks to involvement from their Eco-Reps group.

Check out additional coverage of the College House competition at The Daily Pennsylvanian.

For the final results of the College House and Campus Building competitions, visit the Power Down Challenge webpage. Keep up the conservation over Winter Break and into 2012!


The 2014 Power Down Challenge resulted in a combined savings of over 35,000 kWh across campus –enough to power 3.3 homes’ electricity for one year.

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