On Feb. 22, Penn its energy use by 11.4 percent. This reduction was tracked as part of the one-day Energy Reduction Challenge, which is the culmination of the Power Down Challenge, a month-long campaign to promote Earth-friendly policies.
This decrease in energy translates to 282,350 kilowatt hours, which is equal to 198 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of taking 42 cars off the road or planting 5,143 trees.
As they did last year, the Penn Green Campus Partnership will donate $11,400 — determined by the 11.4 percent saved — for climate research grants via the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.
“We were amazed by the level of participation,” Sustainability Outreach Manager Julian Goresko wrote in an email. “The entire Penn community collaborated to save as much energy as possible by turning off lights, turning down the thermostat, unplugging appliances, and reducing energy in whatever ways possible.”
Last year, energy use was reduced by 5.8 percent.
The Power Down Challenge is one of the initiatives Penn undertakes to promote both environmental research and energy savings. For instance, the event occurs each fall and focuses on minimizing waste.
In addition, Penn Green Campus Partnership also helps students work with professors to incorporate such topics in the classroom, places students in relevant internships and funds and advises the Student Sustainability Association at Penn.
When speaking with The Daily Pennsylvanian earlier this month, Ann Vernon-Grey, associate director for undergraduate research at CURF, mentioned the importance of such initiatives.
“I think it is helpful to have a concrete link — like, ‘I only have to make a small adjustment and it can have a big impact today.’”