University of Calgary

PowerOFF Challenge final results

UToday HomeDecember 17, 2012

By Amy Glassman

Turning lights on only when groups are using the space contributed to an impressive overall energy savings of 14 per cent over three weeks at the Olympic Oval. Photo by Riley BrandtTurning lights on only when groups are using the space contributed to an impressive overall energy savings of 14 per cent over three weeks at the Olympic Oval. Photo by Riley BrandtOccupants of the Olympic Oval have been declared this year’s winner of the PowerOFF Challenge with an overall reduction in energy consumption of 14 per cent. During the three week challenge, the oval saved approximately 67,000 kilowatt hours — enough energy to power about six single-family homes for a year.

Mark Messer, chief plant manager at the Olympic Oval, was very excited to hear that the Olympic Oval received first place in the PowerOFF Challenge, a jump from their fifth place finish in 2011.

Messer attributes their win to the dedication of the Olympic Oval staff who took every measure possible to ensure energy was being saved.

“In addition to implementing simple changes, such as turning off unused computers and appliances, we started cooling down the building overnight when user demand decreases,” says Messer. “We also became diligent at turning off the lights between groups using the ice and using natural light as much as possible.”

Messer and his colleagues plan to continue practicing their energy-saving habits. “Utility costs are a huge expense for the oval so reducing energy makes sense, not only for environmental sustainability, but for economic sustainability as well,” says Messer. “In addition to changing our behaviours, we will be retrofitting lighting and installing occupancy sensors in some areas next year to further reduce our energy consumption.”

Aside from bragging rights, occupants will also be honored with a $70 donation made on their behalf to the United Way of Calgary — $5 for each per cent reduced from the baseline.

In second and third place, occupants of the Health Science Centre and Kananaskis Hall have also achieved impressive reductions of 11 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

Each year, the PowerOFF challenge aims to create permanent, campus-wide change. Since many buildings have sustained the changes made in previous years, personal bests have become progressively harder to beat. Despite some buildings starting with lower baselines than last year, the campus as a whole still achieved a PowerOFF Challenge record high overall reduction of 2.5 per cent — approximately 227, 000 kilowatt hours over the three weeks.

Visit the sustainability website for full challenge results.