SSB and Shrum Chem faceoff

By Ariane Madden

Sustainability competition’s goal is to reduce energy consumption by five per cent, which could save up to $24,000

Starting March 5, the South Sciences Building and the Shrum Science Chemistry building will go head to head in a competition to reduce their energy usage and increase sustainability awareness. The competition, an initiative of the SFU Sustainability Network, teamed up with B.C. Hydro’s workplace conservation awareness team to organize and execute the event.

Landon Hoyt, a Green Labs program assistant for SFU, stressed how science buildings typically have the highest energy consumption of all buildings within a
university campus.

“Science buildings use up a lot of energy from their equipment and especially from open fume hoods. So we thought it would be a good idea to target these buildings for the competition because of that,” Hoyt told The Peak.
The goal of the competition is to reduce building energy consumption by five per cent, which if maintained throughout the year could potentially save the university $24,000 in energy costs. Buildings will be able to monitor their progress using an online building dashboard which tracks energy consumption for seven of SFU’s buildings, including the Academic Quadrangle and Maggie Benston Centre. The dashboard will also be available on an interactive touch-screen television outside of the chemistry department offices.

While the winning building will receive a catered lunch prize, smaller prizes of gift cards will be available to individuals who comment on the dashboard website about their sustainable habits and to others partaking in energy-reducing activities seen by the so-called “Green Police”.

The Green Labs program, which has been running since last year in the South Science Building, has identified three key areas where science labs can reduce their energy consumption: closing fume hoods when not in use, turning off lights in empty labs and offices, and shutting down computers at the end of every night. The hope is that such energy-saving habits will help SFU maintain LEED Gold certification on the Shrum Chemistry building, while also working towards the university’s overall goal of reducing its energy use by two per cent every year.

In order to encourage such energy-reducing habits, each building will nominate one student or faculty member each week as their MVP who will wear a green lab coat while acting as a sustainability ambassador. The MVP will then hand out tip sheets and give feedback on energy-efficient practices by placing encouraging stickers and magnets on fume hoods and around labs.

“Really, what we’re trying to do is increase awareness,” said Hoyt of the competition’s overall vision. The competition will continue until March 16 and prizes will be awarded later in the month.