As the first of May is clearly warm enough for hundreds of students to go swimming in the North Sea, it’s the obvious time to round off the Interhall Energy Competition. Since October, all the halls have been competing against each other to see which one can reduce their carbon emissions from gas and electricity the most.

The competition is a joint initiative run by Transition, the Students Association E&E officer, & the Estates Environment team, and supported by Residential & Business Services.

ABH Green week

Hall environment reps and Senior students have been very creative in raising awareness of energy saving in their halls, running ‘blackout’ nights, Green Week campaigns, and even just facebook reminders to turn the lights out when heading off to other hall events. There’s a winner each month (apart from the January break period) , who is awarded £150 to spend on sustainability(ish) related activities or equipment for their hall, and overall first, second and third prizes for the halls which have reduced their CO2 emissions by the greatest percentage over the whole 6 months. This year, halls have managed to cut their carbon emissions by 5.8 % compared to their target, saving a massive 300 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to the energy emissions of 55 UK ‘average’ houses). Reducing the amount of energy used in halls also helps keep hall fees down for future students, as this is all factored into the accommodation costs.

In a way, the Interhall competition reflects an issue which reaches across the whole climate change debate – how can my little actions make a difference? It also illustrates the way in which no single solution can or should be the answer: to get the carbon footprint of halls down, we need a combination of  the University’s large scale plans to generate ‘green’ electricity and hot water, Estates ongoing upgrades to more efficient boilers and insulation, and for staff and students to do the things that are within their control. Putting on a jumper rather than turning up the radiator will always make sense, whether it reduces the amount of mains gas piped in from the North sea or Russia, or saves someone putting another log on the fire at the new Guardbridge energy centre.

Champs league final

However, we do realise that counting kWh maybe not the most exciting thing going on in halls, so this year Interhall Energy teamed up with Hall sports and the Charities Hamilton Shield to combine points from all competitions into a Hall Champion’s League. Hopefully a few more sports fans will have kept an eye on the progress of charities and energy competitions and vice-versa.

Interhall energy 2013-14 “Winners Hall of Fame”

October 2013: University Hall
November 2013: University Hall
December 2013: David Russell Apartments & Fife Park
February 2014: David Russell Apartments & Fife Park
Final 2013-14March 2014: St Regulus Hall
April 2014: Andrew Melville Hall

Overall Winner: Andrew Melville Hall
Second place: University Hall
Third Place: David Russell Apartments & Fife Park

Hall Champions’ League winner:
Andrew Melville Hall

If you’re in halls next year, and want to help out, then most will be electing their environment reps in week 1, so get in touch with your hall committees and find out how to put yourself forward. There will be a full training programme to give you lots of skills to help run environmental campaigns. And, of course, everyone living in halls can make a real difference by acting together: 3,500 students doing lots of little things = a big change!