Learn to power down at energy conservation fair

Penn is hoping the campus community will once again pitch in to save energy.

Building on the success of past Power Down Challenges, the University’s Green Campus Partnership is expanding the program this year, and is offering a number of new energy-conservation initiatives.

The new programs are designed to help the entire Penn community reduce energy consumption, cut carbon emissions and save money. These efforts support the University’s Climate Action Plan, which has a goal of reducing energy use by 17 percent by 2014 from a 2007 baseline.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, renters and homeowners can attend an energy conservation fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. where they can learn more about Penn's sustainability efforts and how they can reduce utility costs at home.

The fair will take place at University Square—the public space in front of the Penn Bookstore—and will feature:

--Energy conservation consultants, including EnergyWorks, the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia and Keystone HELP, providing information on energy audits, winterization strategies, energy-efficient home improvements and financing

      --PECO’s Smart Ideas program, offering guidance, tools and rebate information for residential customers

      --The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, guiding consumers to make informed utility choices.

      --Penn Home Ownership Services, providing information on the University’s Enhanced Forgivable Loan program, which can be used for home retrofits that help cut utility expenses.

                Fair-goers can also talk with Penn staff Eco-Reps about productive sustainable office projects, and enter a drawing to win a free e-reader from the Penn Bookstore.

                This year, the Power Down Challenge has expanded beyond the College House system to a select group of campus buildings that are "home" to many in offices, labs, studios and classroom spaces. Led by the staff Eco-Reps, residents of the Franklin Building, Meyerson Hall, Stouffer Commons, Levine Hall, the Steinberg Conference Center and Blockley Hall will compete to achieve the largest reduction in electrical consumption over the three weeks that began Nov. 1. Participants will receive updates, conservation tips and standings throughout the competition.

                Two champions will be chosen: the building with the largest absolute decrease in electricity usage, and the building with the largest percentage decrease.

                “Reducing energy consumption is the most direct method of reducing the University’s carbon footprint,” says Anne Papageorge, vice president of Facilities and Real Estate Services, who works with other University leaders to oversee the Green Campus Partnership. “Over 86 percent of carbon produced by Penn is from building energy usage.”  

                For more information on competition updates, conservation tips and posters, the Power Down pledge and other sustainability programming, visit www.upenn.edu/sustainability/powerdown.html.    

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