Annual Green Cup leads to record high energy reductions

Dylan Bassett | Staff Reporter

This year’s Green Cup resulted in a greater amount of energy reduction than has been seen in any of the past years.

The Green Cup consists of dormitories and fraternities competing against one another for the prizes of a giant check for $300, cupcakes, reusable kitchenware and the Green Cup trophy by using as little electricity as possible during the month of February.

Washington University students used more than 100,000 fewer kilowatt-hours of electricity than they would use in a typical month.

“For a sense of scale, a typical American house will use around 10,000 kilowatt-hours in a year,” Director of Sustainability Phil Valko said during the Green Cup award ceremony. “In a single month…just by flipping off lights, unplugging devices, being conscious of your consumptions and really engaging with the spaces you’re inhabiting, you reduced as much energy as would be used by about 10 American houses, which is huge.”

The Lee/Beaumont residential college was victorious in the residential college portion of the competition, besting Liggett/Koenig by a single point.

Emily Wen, a freshman and Lee/Beaumont’s eco representative, led her peers during the Green Cup by reminding them to turn off the lights. Before she went to sleep every night during the Cup, she checked the common spaces in her dormitory to make sure electricity wasn’t being wasted.

“People thought that I was a freak for turning off the lights everywhere, but really I was just telling people, ‘No, don’t turn on the lights if you don’t need them,’” she said.

In the fraternity portion of the competition, Sigma Alpha Epsilon won despite finishing in second-to-last place in the previous year’s Green Cup.

“We were the most improved team, so we’re kind of hoping for some Dough to Door from that,” Ryan Mikkelsen, sophomore and house manager for SAE, said. “But [winning] was really about motivating all our members to get behind the cause.”

Measures taken by SAE members included turning off their lights, printers and televisions when not in use and taking a photo with Chancellor Mark Wrighton while wearing green, full-body spandex suits.

The North Side Association, which includes Village House, Lopata House and all University-owned off-campus residences, met the energy reduction goal it set for itself.

Following Lee/Beaumont and Liggett/Koenig in the residential college portion of the competition was the William Greenleaf Eliot residential college. The runner-up for the fraternity portion of the competition was Sigma Chi, who also came in second place last year.

“What you guys have accomplished in the last month is testimony to me, and should be to you, that you can have very real and significant, tangible impacts,” Valko said during the ceremony. “In the last month, you guys have nailed it, and your efforts have led to very significant reductions.”

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