Courtesy of Green Campus

Power Down HSU!

Help out and power down HSU on March 6!

Help out and power down HSU on March 6!

Wednesday March 6 is Power Down HSU! Turn off unneeded lights, turn the thermostat down and unplug or power down vacant computers. Help lower HSU’s power use as much as possible.

Megan Moore, Power Down HSU program coordinator, gave some insight into Green Campus’ techniques to turn HSU off.

“We use slogans like ‘Turn Down for Watt,’ and ‘Energy Savers do it in the Dark’ to get people to pay attention,” Moore said. “We collect data each month to set a baseline for power down. We do this all with the help of our Guerilla Teams.”

Graphic courtesy of Green Campus

Click. The room had gone dark. Guerilla Team Alpha successfully powered down Siemens Hall. To achieve a total Power Down, Green Campus dispatches cape wearing Guerilla Teams across campus with one objective, turn off as many lights as possible.

The Guerillas began marking their tally sheets for Power Down. Siemens Hall: 85 lights flipped off, 40 computers shut down, megawatts saved. Guerilla Team Alpha has to sprint to the next building. They were running out of time. The school day was coming to an end. Before the day was over, all of the campuses lights had to be shut off. All in the name of energy.

Moore encourages everyone to help out. She said that Power Down helps reduce HSU’s carbon footprint.

“It will make a difference for the campus and if you power down at home, it will make a difference for you,” Moore said.

Power Down HSU brings awareness to HSU’s power use and encourages students, staff and visitors alike to change their behavior. The goals of Power Down is to encourage people to embrace natural light by turning off unneeded interior lights. Green Campus makes an effort to unplug appliances, shut down computers on standby and teach the student body about why these actions matter.

Let’s talk about why energy use is significant. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average U.S. Citizen uses 10,399 kilowatt hours of energy every year. One kilowatt is 1000 watts. Running an appliance that consumes 1000 watts for one hour means one kilowatt hour of electricity has been used. Along the same wire, if ten 100 watt light bulbs are ran for an hour they would consume one kilowatt hour of electricity.

Graphic courtesy of Green Campus

Interested in learning your annual energy consumption? Understanding kWh can let you control your electricity bill, reduce your energy use, and minimize your ecological footprint. Most of your appliances, especially light bulbs, will tell you how many watts of energy they use. Do some math and you can figure out it’s kWh usage. Outside the house is a PG&E power meter. This device will tell you how much energy you have used since your last bill. Watch those numbers rise.

Now let’s upscale. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a calculator which compares watts to other things. 10,399 kWh is equivalent to 827 gallons of gasoline consumed, 8,039 pounds of coal burned, 937,683 smartphones charged, and 519,950 twenty watt light bulbs lit. That’s a lot of resources being used by one American per year. Now consider the fact there are 325 million of us. It’s shocking.

Moore gave some tips of things people can do to help out such as turning off computers that aren’t being used.

“Use natural light instead of artificial light,” Moore said. “Encourage you teachers to teach with the lights off or bring class outside for the day. Let’s meet and exceed our 2,755 kWh goal from last Spring.”

Green Campus has been conducting Power Down HSU for several years now. It began as a club activity to reduce power consumption on campus. Today it is a challenging competition between the members of Green Campus as they spend the day turning off as much of the school as they can.

Over the past few years Green Campus has been recording the power use of HSU in large data sheets. Compared to a baseline set on non-Power Down Wednesdays, Green Campus and their Guerilla teams make a significant impact on HSU’s power use. You can help too.

“On the first Wednesday of every month do anything to save energy,” Moore said. “Meet in front of the library to get drafted to a Guerilla Team. If you’re busy Wednesday, try to make it to our Green Campus meetings Thursday, 2pm in Nelson Hall East 106.”

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