Lyon Court, whose residents led the Pomona campus in water and energy conservation during the Campus Climate Nationals competition

Pomona College was among the top five schools in the Campus Conservation Nationals 2014 water conservation competition, with students living in residence halls reducing their water use by 65,904 gallons, or 5.4%, below a baseline measure. Joining Pomona in the top five were Oberlin College; UC Santa Barbara; the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and Wake Forest University. The results were announced this morning.

Leading the way in the Pomona WaterWise competition, March 26–April 15, were:

  • Lyon Court's 78 residents, who reduced their water use by 7,448 gallons or 15.4%;
  • Mudd-Blaisdell and Gibson Hall's 319 residents, who saved 37,878 gallons or 15%; and
  • Norton Hall's 34 residents, who reduced water use by 2,340 gallons or 13.7%.

Pomona's participation was enabled by the installation of water meters for each residence hall and dining hall, over winter break. "It's really exciting to see what a difference we can make when everyone is focused on resource conservation," said Ginny Routhe, director of the Sustainability Integration Office. "Students were able to make these reductions by taking easy steps that we can all practice, like shorter showers, washing full loads of laundry and not leaving the tap running when brushing teeth."

The WaterWise event was held concurrently with the PowerDown energy reduction portion of the Campus Conservation Nationals. Each of the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges participated in the energy portion, saving a total of 10,872 kilo-watt hours, the equivalent of 6,411 pounds of CO2, equal to the carbon sequestration from growing 192 trees seedlings for 10 years.

Pomona College residents reduced their energy use 1.4% to save 2,978 kilo-watt hours, with Lyon Court again leading the way with a 6.2% reduction in energy use, followed by Smiley residents with 5.6% and Clark 1 residents with 5.1%

Pitzer College won the 5C intercampus energy competition with a 4.7% reduction in their residence hall energy consumption. Scripps College placed second with a 2% reduction, and Pomona took third.

Throughout the Campus Conservation Nationals, Pomona students were able to monitor their residence halls water and energy use at any time through the Lucid Building Dashboard system. Pomona's water and energy meters report data directly to the Lucid system.

More than 265,000 students at 109 schools, across the U.S. and Canada, competed in the Campus Conservation Nationals. They saved nearly 476,000 gallons of water (the equivalent of 1.8 million water bottles this year) and more than 2.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity — equivalent to averting 3 million pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere.

"This tangible mobilization of hundreds of thousands of students reducing energy consumption, promoting sustainability and actively mitigating the effects of climate change shows that the next generation is ready for change," noted Hannah Debelius, USGBC Students program manager, the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council.

The Campus Conservation Nationals are sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council and their Center for Green Schools, the software company Lucid, The Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation.

Pomona College, known as a national leader in higher education sustainability, was named to the Princeton Review "2014 Green Honor Roll" and has a "gold" rating from the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. Among the campus' sustainability highlights are eight LEED certified buildings, including two LEED Platinum residence halls.