In support of Virginia Tech's goal to improve energy efficiency in campus buildings, the Office of Sustainabilty and the Residence Hall Federation have come together to challenge students who live on campus to reduce their energy consumption.

The third annual “Turn Down 4 Watt” competition began Oct. 17 and will end Nov. 4. Students who live in the university's 47 residence halls, including the Oak Lane community, are participating. The winning residence halls will receive an $800 cash prize, a 6-foot tall “Green Man” statue, and bragging rights for an academic year.

Students are being asked to reduce water and energy usage in their rooms, shared kitchens and study lounges, bathrooms, and hallways. Students can participate by unplugging laptop and cell phone chargers and turning off room lights when they are not in use, washing only full loads of laundry, and using energy-efficient light bulbs in floor and desk lamps.

The competition is designed to educate students in reducing their personal energy consumption and adopting sustainable habits while competing in a fun environment.

Students will engage in the competition through social media, photo sharing, and ranking updates at the end of each week. Throughout the competition, a variety of events will be held, including a series of guest lecturers, a “Hallowgreen” recycling event, and a clothing thrift swap.

In 2016, Hillcrest Hall residents won the competition by reducing their energy consumption by more than 30 percent each week.

This competition is one of the ways that Virginia Tech is working toward the goals outlined in the university's Climate Action Commitment: to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, to achieve a minimum Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating of silver for all new construction, to reach a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020, and to improve energy efficiency in campus buildings.

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