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Campus Bulletin

July 31, 2006

U of G Joins 'Blackout Challenge'

The University will be participating in the City of Guelph’s response to the “Blackout Challenge,” scaling back on campus hydro use Aug. 13 and encouraging U of G members to conserve energy.

In addition, the University has created a contest to gather new ideas for long-term energy savings and conservation.

The “Blackout Challenge” was issued to all Ontario municipalities by the City of
Woodstock to encourage energy efficiency and conservation in remembrance of the 2003 North American blackout that affected much of eastern Canada and the northeast United States.

The City of Guelph aims to beat Woodstock’s four-per-cent city-wide energy-use reduction Aug. 13 and has dubbed its campaign “Operation Power Down.”

For its part, U of G will be going into “holiday mode,” cutting back its already reduced weekend air conditioning/fan schedules. In addition, most of the fans in the University Centre, the largest office building on campus, will be shut off completely. The building will remain open and operational.

“This will be a special occasion and will require the co-operation of the building occupants,” says Gillian Maurice, campus sustainability co-ordinator.

In addition to taking part in the city’s initiative, U of G is launching a new “Pledge to Power Down” contest to gather new ideas to save energy on campus and promote individual smart energy use.

Maurice says the contest has multiple goals: to help Guelph meet its challenge Aug. 13, to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own energy consumption, and to expand on current initiatives at the University.

Starting this week, community members are encouraged to submit an entry by pledging to reduce their individual energy consumption as part of the “Blackout Challenge.” Because the initiative takes place on a weekend, people are asked to submit ideas related to reducing their personal energy use at home. Eligible entries will be entered in a draw to win one of three Canadian Tire gift cards worth $50.

Besides pledging to reduce individual energy use, people can submit ideas for energy savings on campus. All entries will be reviewed, and grand prizes (dinner for two at a local Guelph fine dining restaurant) will be awarded to the top two energy-saving ideas.

The submission deadline for contest entries is Aug. 8 at 4:30pm. Submission guidelines can be found online. Limit is one entry per person.

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