Calumet Residence wins the Res Race to Zero challenge

Over the month of March, students living in York’s eight undergraduate residences competed in the Res Race to Zero challenge to reduce their carbon footprint. The challenge saw students working to reduce their individual and collective carbon footprints by reducing their energy consumption. The results are in and the winner of the Res Race to Zero challenge is York’s Calumet Residence.

“This was an awesome opportunity to allow the residences to come together to exhibit their concerns and feelings about making the York Keele campus more energy efficient,” says Natalia Weiss, Calumet’s residence environmental ambassador. “Residents had a chance to make a difference in their residence and hopefully in further reducing the carbon footprint for the Keele campus."

Right: From left, Calumet Residence Don Jason Brennan, Calumet residence life manager Kristina Osborne and Natalia Weiss, Calumet residence environmental ambassador

Students living in the Calumet Residence had the largest per cent decrease in energy consumption over the month of March. The residence will receive $1,000 to be spent towards enhancing sustainability at York, in the residence or the world. Bethune Residence placed a close second with the Stong Residence coming in third place.

“I am inspired by all the undergrad students living at Keele campus, and particularly by the residence environmental ambassadors who stepped up and galvanized such tremendous support in their residences. We could all learn a thing or two from the way they have conducted themselves this past March,” says Helen Psathas, York’s senior manager of environmental design & sustainability.

“It illustrates an important point; as we continue to implement the $40 million retrofit of buildings, in the end, it will come down to how we choose to conduct ourselves – are we turning off the lights when we leave the room and are we turning off the computer? I know the answer to that question for the undergrads at Keele and the York community needs to follow their lead. Congrats to Calumet,” says Psathas.

During the contest, each residence worked from a baseline average weekly kilowatt usage per student figure that was based on data from March 2008. Students in the undergraduate residences were challenged to do their best to reduce this figure through a number of steps, some as simple as flicking the off switch in their rooms before leaving for classes in the morning. Other measures included turning off televisions in house lounges when not in use and making sure they turned off extra task lighting in their residence rooms. 

The Res Race to Zero challenge was created as part of the Yorkwise program by Campus Services & Business Operations, Student Community & Leadership Development and Marketing & Communications, in order to build awareness of students’ carbon footprints and create positive change in behaviour. 

Yorkwise is a University-wide initiative to support sustainability and quality of life on campus. The Res Race to Zero complemented York’s five-year energy plan, which includes a $40 million investment to reduce consumption by 25 per cent. Additionally, any savings will be invested in improvement of quality of life of residence students on campus.

To find out more, visit the Res Race to Zero Web site.