By: Kristiahn Alvarado
To reach the PowerSave Campus goal of 600 therms of natural gas saved, UCSC PowerSave thought of a fun and creative project to save the necessary amount of natural gas! We came up with a Cold Water Wash competition in which residents of College Eight were asked to switch their laundry wash to cold water for a chance to individually win $5.00 gift cards and a chance to win a doughnut party for their entire quad by reducing their quad’s natural gas usage the most. Meetings were held with all of the residents of the College Eight dorms to educate the students about why we wanted them to switch to cold water and the importance of reducing natural gas. We also posted signs to remind the students to change their wash temperature!
Every week, one of UCSC’s PowerSave interns went to read the gas meters at each building in the College Eight Residential Dorms. We compiled all of the data into an excel sheet that would show us the weekly changes (increases and decreases) of natural gas usage of each of the four quads (A, B, C, & D quads). We also had random walkthroughs in which we placed tickets redeemable for gift cards on the washing machines that were turned to the cold setting.
At the end of the eight-week competition, “A quad” had reduced their natural gas usage by 12%! We threw the winning quad a donut party as requested by the students themselves in a pre-survey. Overall, the entire eight-week campaign ended up saving UC Santa Cruz’s campus 14,301.20 therms of natural gas. This amount is equivalent to 75.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the emissions from 10.4 average homes' electricity use for one year (according to the Environmental Protection Agency)!
We hope to continue this campaign at other colleges here at UCSC in the future!