Each February, Washington University students get their competitive spirit ready. But instead of donning athletic gear or studying up for Quiz Bowl, they’re learning about ways to reduce energy consumption. The Green Cup pits residence halls and on-campus fraternity houses against one another in a series of energy reduction contests. For four weeks, residents turn off lights, unplug chargers, and climb stairs instead of riding elevators.
Renewable energy and building efficiency are evolving quickly in the United States, and Washington University in St. Louis is at the forefront. The University is working to achieve an aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goal through significant investments of time, creativity and capital. Not only is the university reducing its carbon footprint by installing solar panels on several buildings and increasing building efficiency, it’s providing plenty of opportunities for students to get involved with the sustainability efforts through experiential courses, research and internships, says Phil Valko, assistant vice chancellor for sustainability.