UNH Unplugged: Tug That Plug!

UNH Unplugged: Tug That Plug!

UNH Unplugged Energy Challenge

The time has come, as the last of the vibrantly colored leaves float across campus, for the UNH Unplugged Energy Challenge! This is a competition among UNH residence buildings to determine which student community can reduce its energy consumption the most. The competition will run for the month of November. At the end of the month, the energy usage for each building will be totaled and compared to the building’s 2013 usage. The building that decreases their rate of consumption the most will be declared the winner!

In honor of this challenge, I ask you: how often do you think about your energy usage?

Are you aware of where your electricity comes from? Here at UNH, the majority of our electricity is produced at the UNH cogeneration plant. Located on Library Way, you may have passed it on your way to College Woods. Methane gas produced at the Turnkey Landfill in Rochester travels along the EcoLine until it reaches the plant, where it is then used to produce electricity as well as heat for the Durham campus. UNH was the first university in the United States to generate most of its electricity from methane produced at a landfill!

Although the university has implemented a cleaner, more sustainable way of procuring electricity, it is still vitally important to decrease consumption-19,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases are emitted in a single year from UNH residence halls!


Do you often leave your room with the lights still blazing?

Return from dinner and immediately spot your room because your tell-tale Christmas lights were left on? Leave your cell phone charger plugged in when the phone is noticeably absent? Don’t pay for electricity to be in use when you aren’t in the room! A simple flick of the switch or tug of the plug solves this problem.

Think it doesn’t matter because yours is one room out of thousands? Think again! With so many students living on-campus, the amount of energy wasted for actions such as lights left on or cords plugged in for no direct use can be staggering. During the academic months of 2013, the average UNH student living on-campus used approximately 198 kilowatthours per month!

This is your chance to be a leader and make a difference- one switch or plug at a time! Yes, electricity is included in your housing fees. However, if the student body was to reduce consumption, it could prevent this cost from rising in the future. If the demand continued to lessen, it could lead to a reduction in the price of housing, something everyone can be excited about!

Are you curious to see how much electricity your dorm uses in a day, a month, or a year?

UNH has a fantastic program called the Energy Dashboard that can display all of this information for every building on campus. In addition, the Energy Dashboard can show your dorm’s water consumption, another important resource that UNH uses quite a significant amount of! Check out the Energy Dashboard to see how your dorm is progressing with the challenge!

The winning residence community will receive a beautiful banner and a pizza party to celebrate their achievements. So get excited Wildcats, because here is your chance to make a measurable and meaningful contribution to decreasing our university’s energy footprint.

For more information, talk to your hall’s Environmental Advocate or visit the UNH Sustainability Institute at www.sustainableunh.edu/unhunplugged.