When students at the University of Michigan team up to reduce energy consumption, there are scholarships, prizes and, of course, bragging rights on the line. It’s all part of the annual Kill-A-Watt competition, tied with the university’s sustainability initiative.
During the month-long contest, student residence halls compete against each other to see who can decrease their energy consumption the most. Winning halls must reduce their energy consumption by at least 10 percent from that same month the previous year, reports The Michigan Daily, and students from the residence hall that saves the most energy are eligible to pursue scholarship opportunities.
Students are also able to win individual prizes during Kill-A-Watt by submitting videos about how they personally save energy. Kill-A-Watt’s website offers a variety of suggestions for how students can reduce energy use, including using power strips for electronics, replacing less-efficient incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and CFLs, and washing only full loads of laundry.
This year, the third year of the competition, winners were announced at a zero-waste, low-energy concert that featured many campus musical groups.
The student organization that runs Kill-A-Watt strives to involve as many students as possible with energy issues and make sustainability relevant for students. Part of the group’s mission is to “start discussions on these topics while reducing energy use for its environmental and financial benefit,” according to their website. Kill-A-Watt is modeled after a similar program at the University of Central Florida, and the competition could likely be replicated at many other schools as well.