Winning by Saving: DuBois and Sansom, Meyerson Hall Champions of 2014 Penn Power Down Challenge

March 17, 2014

After four weeks of turning off unneeded lights, unplugging unused devices, layering up to warm up, and other creative means to conserve electricity, the champions have been named in Penn’s 2014 Power Down Challenge.

This friendly competition, which ran from February 3 through March 2, motivated all of Penn’s College Houses and seven of its Non-residential Campus Buildings to find effective and creative ways to save electricity. In addition to raising awareness among students, staff and faculty, the Power Down Challenge aims to get participants to adopt energy-conserving practices that will last year round.

The College House Competition is based on two different measurements:  (1) percent reduction in average daily kWh use and (2) gross electricity reduction (most kWh).  

Among College Houses, DuBois ran strong for the entire competition and came out the winner with a total percent reduction of 4.5%. The College House with the largest gross electricity reduction was Sansom Place, with a reduction of 10,446 kWh.

DuBois, a College House with no student Eco-Reps, relied heavily on the work of the GAs and House Coordinator, says House Dean “Ms.” Trish Williams. “The Power Down Challenge was a total House effort,” she explains. “My team, during their building rounds, were meticulous about turning off lights in the lounges, work out rooms, and even the laundry room when they’re not in use. The staff sent out encouraging reminders to our residents on a regular basis so that they could be more conscientious and aware about power reduction in their suites.”

Non-residential Campus Buildings competed in two different measurements of reduction: (1)  % reduction in average daily kWh usage and (2) reduction in average daily kWh use per square foot. 

Throughout the Campus Building Competition, Meyerson Hall (210 S. 34th Street), led the race and won in both categories with a 7.57% reduction in electricity usage, and Reduction in Electricity Usage per Square Foot, at -5 kwh/1000sq.ft.

Karl M. Wellman, Jr., Director of Operations and Planning for the School of Design, said that Meyerson pulled together so well for Power Down in response to positive messaging. “Instead of chastising a behavior that was seen as wasteful, I addressed the concern with a ‘Weekly Tip’ email,” he says. “The Meyerson Building didn’t focus on a prize but rather challenged our PennDesign family to do the ‘right thing’.”

All reductions compare to a unique baseline for each building. Champions in this competition also received a prize to be used for a building-wide celebration.


A four-mile bicycle trip keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.

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