The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 26th

Dorm leads in green contest

Morrison leads EPA competition

UNC might soon have another national title, but this one won’t be for sports — or even academics.

Morrison Residence Hall is in first place in a national competition for energy efficiency, sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, after reducing its energy use intensity by 19.2 percent in six months.

“I think it’s great. I’m really surprised that our little dorm building is number one,” said Meaghan Roach, a former resident of Morrison’s Sustainability Living- Learning Community.

“I expected it to be some huge environmentally-friendly company, not a campus dorm, but the fact that it is brings a lot of attention to the need to be sustainable while on campus, and that dorms can be energy efficient.”

The National Building Competition is the first of its kind. Contestants are judged based on the reduction in their energy use intensity, which is calculated by dividing the energy usage of the building by its floor space.

Contestants submit energy usage numbers to the EPA, which then calculates the rankings. UNC collects its data from electrical usage, chilled water pumps, steam pumps and the solar water heater under Morrison.

To increase its efficiency, Morrison renovated its heating and cooling systems and upgraded the lights with LED and energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.

Chris Martin Jr., director of UNC energy management, said Morrison was one of 14 submissions chosen out of more than 200 applicants from around the country.

The other 13 buildings in the competition range from shopping malls to office complexes and elementary schools.
In second place behind Morrison is a Sears store in Maryland with an 18.3 percent reduction. The average energy reduction is 7.8 percent at this point in the competition.

The only other dorm in the competition is N. C. State University’s Tucker Residence Hall.

Students living in Morrison have been encouraged to help conserve energy through a building-wide advertising campaign.
“We put up banners on the front and back so you know that Morrison is in a competition,” Martin said. “And signs near elevators, in laundry rooms and showers that talk about how to save energy.”

Rachel Sesterman, co-chairwoman of the Sustainability Living-Learning Community, said she thinks the contest will have a positive impact.

“Hopefully it will give us a bit of publicity and a bit of a plug,” she said. “Even if we don’t win, just being in this competition alone is really validating us as a community.”

The final results of the competition will be announced on Oct. 26.

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