Cool Runnings


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego graduate students are leading the charge to raise awareness and reduce energy usage on campus. For the second year in a row, Scripps students, faculty, and staff are participating in a friendly inter-building competition in the name of saving energy.

The 2009 energy challenge has grown substantially from the 2008 pilot study, which involved competition between just two Scripps buildings, Vaughan and Nierenberg halls.

This year, most Scripps buildings have taken the challenge to power down, and their energy usage is being monitored closely to see how the occupants measure up when it comes to cutting energy.

The competition spurred such enthusiasm across campus, UC San Diego Facilities Management has responded by recently outfitting several more Scripps buildings with new ION meters, which report energy data back in real-time. Un-outfitted buildings receive their consumption data back weekly or monthly.

The contest runs March 30 through June 12, and occupants of the winning building will receive a pizza party and, in true Scripps tradition, coupons for free beer at the competition’s wrap party on June 26. The Energy Challenge Committee also hopes to reward the winning building with a piece of energy-saving equipment such as motion sensor lights or energy-efficient light bulbs.

The Energy Challenge Committee, comprised of Scripps graduate students Lauren Franck, Mike Pritchard, Gabe Kooperman, and Cameron Coates from Scripps’ Environmental Science and Policy student group, is also helping educate the Scripps community about energy efficient practices through weekly energy saving tips. Hints about how to save power in labs and offices by cutting the lights and unplugging unused devices help everyday users do their part.

Franck is pleased with the enthusiastic response the Scripps Community has had to the competition. “Monitoring one’s energy consumption is an important first step towards reducing it and achieving conservation goals,” said Franck. “With knowledge of our behavioral energy consumption patterns comes the opportunity to reduce it.”

-- Shannon Casey

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.