Indiana University Bloomington

IU Bloomington's Spring 2014 Energy Challenge kicks off March 24

  • March 11, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's Energy Challenge, a competition to conserve energy and water, will celebrate its ninth running March 24 to April 21.

In its inaugural season in 2008, the challenge included only 10 residence halls. This spring, the challenge includes 20 residence halls and apartments; 14 lab, classroom and administrative buildings; and 12 Greek houses.

In 2010, a Fall Energy Challenge was developed at IU Bloomington to observe the impact of the program on student, faculty and staff behavior throughout the year. On average, academic buildings and residence halls consumed below their baselines, suggesting that the Energy Challenge alters behavior beyond the four weeks of the competition.

This spring's contest will provide further feedback on the lasting impacts of the Energy Challenge. Each building will compete to reduce the largest percentage of water and electricity usage in comparison to a weatherized baseline calculation for its building. Building meters will be read by IU Physical Plant and standings updated twice a week.

"In the past four years, sustainability at Indiana University has become the norm instead of the exception," said Ben Brabson, professor emeritus of physics at IU Bloomington and an authority on climate change and elementary particle physics. "Each semester, Indiana University's caring students show us that using less energy and water is not only something we talk about, but something we can actually do when we put our minds to it. Since the increase in global temperature is directly related to our energy use, these wonderful students are leading the way for the rest of us, dare I say, old fogies."

This semester, the IU Mobile Energy Matters App will be made available to illustrate this utility usage to students, faculty and staff. The app will educate users on how to modify behavior in accordance with energy usage levels including definitions of usage, energy equivalent measurements, tips and suggestions, charts and graphs, and statistics.

To date, the Energy Challenge program has saved 11.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 27.9 million gallons of water. The electricity savings are equivalent to taking 11,500 homes offline during the competition, and the water savings are equivalent to 28 Olympic swimming pools. As a result of this reduced consumption, the university has saved more than $1.2 million in utility costs. These figures represent only the savings recorded during the four weeks of each Energy Challenge and do not include savings that have accumulated as a result of behavioral changes that stick with occupants after the challenges end.

The Energy Challenge is one of many ongoing sustainability initiatives at Indiana University. To learn more about sustainability-related programming and events, visit For more information about the 2014 Spring Energy Challenge, including activity guides, media resources and conservation tips, visit You can also follow IU Energy Challenge on Twitter to stay in the know.

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Jessica Stavole

  • IU Energy Challenge
  • Office 812-855-2678