Res Race to Zero: Annual race sees York students reduce their energy footprint

Image of an incandescent lightbulb for the YFile homepage story on res race to zero

For the month of March, York undergraduate students living in the Keele and Glendon residences are being challenged to reduce their carbon footprint as part of the University’s sixth annual Res Race to Zero challenge.

This year’s competition, involves seven Keele campus residences and two Glendon residence buildings. The undergraduates are being led through the competition by Residence Environmental Ambassadors (REAs) who are working with fellow students to help make the challenge a success. Res Race to Zero focuses on modifying actions and encouraging students to take responsibility for their energy footprint.

Each residence has a baseline average weekly kilowatt usage per student based on data gathered from 2013. The challenge for each student will be to do their best to reduce this figure by taking steps that are as simple as turning off their lights before leaving for classes. Other tasks include switching off televisions in house lounges when not in use, putting computers into energy saving sleep modes and unplugging power cords and small electronics when not in use.

Res Race to Zero is now two weeks into the challenge. Students living in the Calumet Residence had the top results for the week ending March 7. As of March 14, students in Glendon’s Hilliard Residence took over the lead.

Res Race to Zero results for the first two weeks of the challenge

“Students are so inventive in the ways they find to save energy,” says Helen Psathas, York University’s senior manager of environmental design and sustainability. “The competition makes it fun, but we also demonstrate how individual efforts add up quickly, and have a huge impact on lowering consumption of energy. And of course, we hope students stay mindful of how they use energy, both here, and wherever life takes them.”

The Res Race to Zero complements York University’s five-year Energy Management Plan, which includes a $40 million investment to reduce consumption by 25 per cent.

Res Race to Zero comparison chart

In March 2013, students living in the Bethune won first place, and 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 run a typical Ontario household for 10 weeks.

For more information and to view the weekly progress, visit the Res Race to Zero web page.

The “winner” of the race is the residence that shows the greatest overall improvement in energy usage over the month of March.