Dream is Green

Energy Competitions

American University Energy Competitions

Everybody's Doing It

AU's annual energy competitions pit residence halls and classroom and office buildings against one another to conserve electricity.

About the Competitions | Take the Pledge to Conserve Energy | Upcoming Events | Prizes

About the Competitions

From November 12 - 30, campus buildings are competing in two separate, concurrent competitions. Residence Halls are competing in Do It in the Dark, while classroom and office buildings face off in the AU Kill A Watt Challenge. The two competitions reflect the different uses of residential and non-residential buildings.

No matter the competition, Eagles are stepping it up to save energy. Each building is trying to reduce its electricity usage by the largest percentage compared to last year around this time. The winning residence hall wins a dessert party before final exams, while the winning classroom or office building earns epic energy bragging rights. All students, faculty, and staff who take the Pledge to Conserve Energy are entered into a raffle to win one of two solar-powered messenger bags that can charge cell phones and other electronics, so everyone has a chance to win big. Energy savings are tracked on AU's energy dashboard.

Do It in the Dark is jointly sponsored by Housing and Dining Programs and the Residence Hall Association. The AU Kill A Watt Challenge is led by faculty and staff participating in Green Office (GO!).

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Pledge to Conserve Energy

Pledging to take these 5 simple steps will help you conserve energy and win the competition. All pledge takers are entered into a raffle to win one of two solar-powered messenger bags that can charge cell phones and other electronics. 

Take the Pledge - Students

Take the Pledge - Faculty and Staff

Student pledgers can also receive a door hanger with the below tips on it to hang on their doors and proudly proclaim their energy savings. Contact your Green Eagle to receive a door hanger. Door hangers can also be downloaded on the Quick Links bar on the right.

1. Do it in the dark. Turn off the lights.

Make a habit of flipping the switch when you leave a room - even common areas. And when you do need light, turn off the overhead lights and use desk or bedside lamps with CFL or LED bulbs.

2. Stop sucking. Zap your energy vampires.

Appliances suck energy even when they’re turned off. Unplug things like TVs, microwaves, computers, and cell chargers when they are not in use. An easy way is to plug everything into a power strip, and just flip the switch to kill the current to all of your vampires at once.

3. It's Getting Hot in Here!

Heating hogs energy. Turn the heat to low (68 F if your room has temperature control) and turn the fan to low. If you open your window to get fresh air, just open it a crack and be sure to close it again if you leave the room. 

4. Chill out. Turn down the fridge.

It takes a lot of juice to keep the fridge humming 24/7. Turn down the temperature setting in your fridge. Better yet, unplug it when it’s empty.

5. Step it up. Take the stairs.

Elevators send energy use to the top floor. Skip the ride and take a stride up the stairs. You’ll burn some calories too!

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See Your Savings

AU's Energy Dashboard

See up-to-date electricity use and competition standing of campus buildings (and our famous energy squirrel).

View the Dashboard

Climate Commitment

American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment

Energy efficiency plays a major role in AU's 2020 carbon neutrality commitment. Read AU's Climate Action Plan to learn more.

Read the Plan

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 13th

Do It in the Dark S'Mores Kickoff

Tenley Campus 7-8 PM, North Side 8-9 PM, South Side 9-10 PM

Turn off the lights and spend some quality time outside making delicious s'mores with the Residence Hall Association and Green Eagles. Learn about the competition, take the Pledge to Conserve Energy, and enjoy an old-fashioned campfire cookout while cutting your energy use.


Tuesday, November 20th

Thanksgiving Energy Break

Before you leave for Thanksgiving Break, don't forget to unplug your appliances, turn your heat down to low, and shut your windows tightly. Taking these simple steps will ensure that while you're away, you'll stay ahead in the competition.


Wednesday, November 28th

DCSEU Tabling & Demonstrations

Quad outside MGC, 10 am - 4 pm

Come out to the quad and learn about energy efficiency programs you can take advantage of right here in DC with the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). Try out some amazing energy demonstrations, grab some coupons for energy efficient lighting, and find out if DCSEU's energy bug mascot can stand up to Clawed the Eagle in an electrifying dance-off!


Thursday and Friday, November 29th and 30th

Free Light Bulb Exchange at AU's Quarterly E-Waste Drive

Quad Outside MGC, 11 am - 4 pm

Energy efficiency can also help close the zero waste loop. Bring your old incandescent bulbs to the personal E-Waste Drive , and we'll give you a brand new Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulb to replace it absolutely free. While incandescent bulbs cannot be recycled, your new CFL can. Save money on energy costs while saving your lights from a dark eternity in a landfill. It's a doubly bright idea!

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Friday, November 30th

Energy in Global Computing: A Conversation with Stephen Harper, Intel's Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy

Location TBD, 1 pm - 2 pm

Throughout AU's energy competitions, we try to reduce the amount of electricity we use to keep the ever-growing number of electronics on campus buzzing, humming, and glowing. What role does your laptop play? Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environmental and Energy Policy for Intel, the world's largest maker of computer chips, will be answering this and many other questions. Learn about how some of our most used pieces technology actually become more efficient as they grow in computing power year after year, and what sort of impact this has on global energy use. The true story behind your computer's battery will surprise you.

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Tuesday, December 4th

Champions Dessert Party

Time and Location TBD

The winning residence hall will enjoy a champions dessert party to recognize their energy saving achievements before they embark on final exams. Raffle winners will be announced at this time and contacted via e-mail.

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Pledge to Conserve: Any student, faculty, or staff member taking the pledge to conserve energy will be entered into a prize drawing for a solar-powered messenger bag that can charge cell phones and other electronics.

Winning Residence Hall: The residence hall that reduces electricity by the greatest percentage compared to other AU halls will win a dessert party before final exams.

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