Schurz wins Mizzou Dashboard competition

The project will expand to nine residence halls in the fall.
Schurz residence hall competed against other residence halls on campus to save the most energy during the Mizzou Dashboard competition. Schurz consumed 11.3 percent less energy during the month-long competition.

Reducing its energy consumption by 11.3 percent, Schurz residence hall has won its second consecutive Mizzou Dashboard Energy Conservation Competition.

The competition among Schurz, College Avenue and Hatch residence halls is Mizzou Dashboard's second since a pilot program last spring. This year, the competition saved 18,817 kilowatt-hours, or roughly $1,600 in energy use costs. Schurz residents won a discount card for Columbia businesses as a prize.

Mizzou Dashboard logs information from residence halls using Lucid Design Group's software, Building Dashboard, which provides real-time tracking and comparisons of energy consumption and savings.

In the first two days of the competition, which began April 4 and ended May 2, the three residence halls saved more energy than all last year's weeklong competition, Mizzou Dashboard implementation coordinator Patrick Margherio said.

"This year was like 10 times better," he said. "We just had a lot more planned out. It was longer, so we were able to get people engaged better and have events around stuff. We had a lot more volunteers and people engaged."

Margherio said there were about 20 volunteers helping with the competition this year, twice as many as last year.

Next fall, Mizzou Dashboard will expand to nine residence halls, and it will organize two competitions instead of one. One of the competitions will be a three-week national competition against other schools in November hosted by Lucid Design Group.

Because of its expansion, the biggest challenge facing Mizzou Dashboard is organization and campus presence, said senior Ben Datema, who originally spearheaded the Mizzou Dashboard project.

"We've worked a lot on streamlining the planning," he said. "We have been planning a couple of weeks already for the November competition, getting more students involved, getting on top of things early on."

Margherio said Mizzou Dashboard would like to work with social media and plan more events before the fall competition to raise awareness.

"This year, we just kind of hit people with it," he said. "We really wanna have a buildup throughout the semester, get students involved right when they get to campus to get people talking about it more."

Mizzou Dashboard's plans for next year are just part of a perpetual state of change for the organization, Datema said.

"We're kind of reinventing it constantly and adapting to new circumstances," he said.

Datema said Mizzou Dashboard has worked a lot better this year compared to last year but still has room for improvement.

"There are other universities that have similar programs, and they get savings that are easily double what we get," he said. "There are universities that save thousands of dollars, and we'd like to get there at some point."

At Mizzou Dashboard's last general meeting of the year Tuesday, Margherio and others discussed goals for next year, one of which is to work more closely with the sustainability chairperson in the Residence Halls Association. But the position, held this year by freshman Chasidy Kretzer, was only temporary.

Kretzer said some sort of sustainability-related officer position would exist in the future, though.

"It was a first-time thing, but it has a lot of potential," she said of her position. "We just need to keep in contact more. But I think we did good in our first year."

This year, Kretzer has served as a liaison between RHA and Mizzou Dashboard, coordinating events, such as Blackout Mizzou, and having RHA sponsor Mizzou Dashboard T-shirts, of which 148 were sold for $5 apiece.

Margherio said working more closely with RHA could facilitate more energy conservation competitions between residence halls.

"A hall could challenge another hall for a weeklong competition," he said. "We could theoretically have a competition going on every couple of weeks or so."

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