When the 108 students who live in Johnson Hall returned from Thanksgiving break, they were greeted by a new guy living in the hall.

A 6-foot tall “Green Man” statue will call the residence hall home for a year. The metal statue will be on display in the lobby — a constant reminder of a job well done for the students who live there. To win the coveted “Green Man” statue and an accompanying plaque, the students reduced their energy consumption by 21 percent during the annual “Turn Down 4 Watt” competition from Oct. 17-Nov. 4.

The Johnson Hall students won the competition in the small hall category (competing with students in Cochrane, Campbell, Vawter, Newman, Johnson, and Hillcrest halls) and took the grand prize for the largest reduction in energy usage among the small, medium, and large halls.

Miles Hall reduced its energy consumption by 17 percent winning the medium hall category (competing with students in O’Shaughnessy, Miles, Barringer, Harper, Slusher, Peddrew-Yates, and Payne halls as well as New Residence Hall East, New Hall West, and the Oak Lane community).

Pritchard Hall residents reduced their energy consumption by 13 percent winning the large hall category (competing with students in Lee, East AJ, West AJ, and Pritchard halls and the Corp of Cadet residence halls).

All three residence halls received a $800 cash prize.

During the three-week competition, which ran Oct. 17-Nov. 4, students were asked to reduce their energy consumption through simple acts such as unplugging laptop and cell phone chargers and turning off room lights when they were not in use, washing only full loads of laundry, and using energy-efficient light bulbs in floor and desk lamps.

Virginia Tech Electric Service conducted weekly meter readings and tallied the results.

Of the 47 residence halls on campus, students in 20 halls participated, each reducing their energy consumption by at least 3 percent.  

The annual competition is hosted by the university’s Office of Sustainability and the Residence Hall Federation.

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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