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About the Challenge

The OSU Building Energy Challenge strives to reduce energy consumption in participating buildings through the combined actions of building occupants.  Using only no-to-low cost measures, we believe that energy consumption in our buildings can be significantly reduced by

  • Making occupants aware of their energy consumption and the associated environmental impacts
  • Informing occupants of ways to reduce their energy consumption
  • Providing weekly energy consumption information to occupants

We will provide the information, but you must provide the action.  A small amount of effort by many occupants will result in significant energy savings, without significantly burdening any one individual.

Participant Responsibilities:

Event Coordinator: Mikkel VandeBergh (Student Sustainability Initiative)

Ensure proper coordination and communication between all participants of the Challenge.  Provide marketing materials and consultation where requested.  Coordinate events and prizes. Contact Mikkel for questions directly related to Residence Halls.

Outreach and Marketing Coordinator: Bo Bestvina (OSU Sustainability Office)

Provide marketing materials, contact building representatives, and offer consultation when requested. Contact Bo for non-residence buildings.

Data Reporter: Nick Somnitz  (OSU Sustainability Office)

Do weekly meter reads and provide energy data analysis. Contact Nick for energy updates.

Building Reps:

Act as building contact for coordinators and data reporter, mainly involved with distribution of materials and communications to own unit/department and to volunteers.


Distribute materials and communications to unit/department.

"Above and beyond" actions: Promote event within unit and beyond.  Take responsibility for typically overlooked spaces (e.g. turn off bathroom lights at night).  Request compact fluorescent lamps and power strips.  Request information on making building equipment and processes more efficient.  Network within building to further promote event.


Duration of the Challenge:

The 2012 Building Energy Challenge runs from February 6th to the 27th. Normally the challenge runs for the entire month of February

Calculation of the Baseline:

The energy baseline for each building is the line by which success will be measured.  Calculated using electricity consumption for the past three Februaries, the baseline allows for comparison between buildings while negating the significant differences between buildings (square footage, building use type, age, HVAC systems, etc.).  While this Challenge is billed as a competition between buildings, buildings are essentially competing against their historical consumption

Weekly baselines are created for each building. 

General Rules:

While the Challenge is between buildings, buildings are essentially competing against themselves.  For each building, an energy baseline, based on past February energy data, will be created.  Buildings that use the least amount of energy when compared to the baseline each week and for the duration of the Challenge win prizes.

The Challenge is focused on no-to-low cost actions performed by individuals or unit/departmental groups.  Examples of these actions may include:

  • Turning off lights in unoccupied areas
  • Putting computers into standby during long periods of downtime (>30 minutes) and at night
  • Using a power strip or unplugging electrical devices at night
  • Setting thermostat at appropriate levels

Please see our Tips page for more example actions.

While significant savings can obviously be made through building improvements (lighting upgrades, HVAC recommissioning, building envelope improvements, etc.) the goal of the Challenge is to inspire energy efficiency through behavioral change, not through capital improvements.

However, some low-cost equipment is available to all participants of the Challenge.  These include:

  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Power strips

Please contact Bo for more information about receiving this equipment.

Contact Info

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