Undergrad students in residence compete to reduce their energy use

This year’s installment of York University’s annual Res Race to Zero competition was a resounding success. Nine undergraduate student residence communities participated in the competition, which saw the students working to reduce their energy consumption. Their challenge was to conserve energy over the month of March. At the end of the month, the total electricity saved was enough to serve the needs of an average Ontario household for 58 weeks.

“Congratulations to Bethune Residence, winner of 2013 Res Race to Zero,” said Helen Psathas, senior manager, environmental design & sustainability, Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO). “Bethune residents decreased their energy consumption for the month by 5.6 per cent as compared to their November usage. Bethune’s electricity savings over the month of March were equivalent to the demand required to res race bethune1run a typical Ontario household for 10 weeks.”

Representatives from Bethune College show off their Res Race to Zero certificate

Res Race to Zero is a University-wide residence competition meant to educate students on their electricity consumption habits and make change for the future. Students were challenged to decrease the amount of electricity used during the month of March as compared to what they used in November 2012. The competition is organized by Residence Life in partnership with CSBO.

Various initiatives throughout the month organized by Residence Life educated students on ways to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle while helping them reach their goal of winning the Res Race to Zero competition. During house meetings, nearly 500 residents committed to various pledges including using reusable mugs or bottles, sorting their garbage and recycling, and reducing the amount of paper, electricity and water they use. Ideas and tips in order to assist the students with these pledges were discussed and posted on residence bulletin boards.

On March 22, the Global Citizenship committee in residence hosted a field trip to Evergreen Brickworks, a local organization that educates the public how to be sustainable citizens in an urban environment.  The students responded enthusiastically to the visit. The student residents also attended and performed at the Earth Hour concert held in Vari Hall on March 23. The concert was organized by Sustainability @ York and the Eco-team. The Earth Hour event encouraged students to power down for an hour and raised awareness of the need to take action towards climate change. Many students indicated to organizers that they enjoyed an acoustic concert, which helped to ensure they did not consume any electricity.

For more information on the contest, visit the Res Race to Zero website.