CANTON — Not enough St. Lawrence students are doing it in the dark, but there is hope for next year, according to Louise E. Gava, the university's sustainability coordinator.
For the past three weeks, the college has been sponsoring a competition among residence halls to see which building could reduce its electricity use the most. Through the competition, "Do it in the Dark," students used approximately 7,000 fewer kilowatt hours than usual.
That is enough to power a laptop for slightly more than 29 hours, or about 1 percent of the university's overall electricity usage.
"It's so small; it's 1 percent of the amount of electricity that we buy," Ms. Gava said. "While it may fall for some within the insignificant range, it's not insignificant to the students who are using it to change their behavior."
Though a similar type of competition has happened in years past on the campus, this was the first year the university has used an online program to track electricity use. Previously, Ms. Gava had to go around with meters to check each dorm by hand.
"Only a portion of our students knew this challenge was happening," she said. "It's sort of self-selecting. Maybe the people who aren't interested or don't think it's important are never going to hear about it."
The best time to do a competition such as this, she said, is during the First Year Cup, which is a competition among the various residence halls and their freshman occupants. The challenge had ended by the time the competition began, but the university wanted to test out the website anyway.
Java House, a theme dorm with 12 occupants, won the competition by reducing its electricity consumption by more than 20 percent, according to Building Dashboard, the website that tracks use.
On the lower end, some residence halls reduced their usage only 5 percent.
"For a period of intense prodding in the future with intense advice, it would not be unrealistic to see a 30 percent reduction," Ms. Gava said. "That's what some of our peer schools get."
"We're learning and I'm excited for the fall."