Penn buildings compete in Power Down Challenge

Penn staff and faculty in 10 campus buildings will compete in this year’s Power Down Challenge to see which location can use the least amount of electricity during the three-week contest. The challenge is organized by the Green Campus Partnership and is designed to raise awareness about the steps members of the University community can take in their daily lives to conserve energy. It is part of Penn’s larger commitment to reduce energy use by 17 percent by 2014, as outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

During the Campus Building Competition, which will run from Monday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Nov. 18, occupants of each building will be challenged to reduce their normal electricity usage. At the same time, students will participate in a College House Competition in which residence halls will also try to out-do one another in energy reduction.

Every week, each building’s energy consumption will be calculated, and the standings and results will be posted on the Power Down Challenge website. All reductions will be compared to a unique baseline for each building.

New this year is an interactive software service called Building Dashboard that allows competitors to see the results of the latest meter reading for each building, commit to energy-saving actions, view the Green Campus Partnership’s Twitter feed (#GreenPenn), and see what others are posting about the Power Down Challenge on Facebook.

“This Building Dashboard software provides a dynamic and visually engaging website designed to inspire collaboration and friendly competition,” says Dan Garofalo, environmental sustainability coordinator at Penn. “It invites interaction and really gives the competition clear graphics and educational elements.”

Last year, occupants of five academic and administrative buildings took part in the Power Down Challenge, with the Franklin Building taking the honors by reducing its electric consumption by more than 20 percent.

New buildings signing on for this year’s Challenge include the Division of Public Safety at 4040 Chestnut St., the Anatomy–Chemistry lab at the Perelman School of Medicine, Huntsman Hall, Jaffe Hall, the Pottruck Center, and Steindhardt Hall.

To reinforce the competition’s energy-saving messages, the Green Campus Partnership website includes easy energy-reduction tips to share with colleagues, as well as posters available for download that can be used throughout buildings, offices, or classrooms.

Power Down Challenge