A nationwide contest has begun to see which American college or university can become the greenest. And this is not requiring huge solar installations or major building weatherization, though those projects are worthwhile. This contest is based on individual, voluntary action by hundreds of participating students, faculty and staff.
The whole project is the brainchild of Climate Culture, SmartPower and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Tom Scaramellino is CEO of Climate Culture and he knows his website "has made it easy and intuitive for people to live a sustainable lifestyle."
I talked with Tom on the phone and he's quite excited about the national contest that runs until October, challenging folks to consider the energy costs of their vacation, not just camopus life. He went on to describe the complexity and sophistication of the algorithms the Climate Culture website employs. It allows individuals or groups to monitor and evaluate hundfreds of different actions, that can affect spending, and use of resources from water andpaper to energy. Tom says they've drawn together all available data on energy use and how individuals and small business make daily resource decisions. It addition to giving carbon footprint data, the site provides each contestant with an avatar that can evolve through several stages to become ever-more impressive and heroic. "A Sim City for the era of carbon footprint," as Tom describes it.
Here is the Climate Culture website. Check it out. You can find out the carbon cost of your current lifestyle. And what you can do to change that. One restriction: you must have an email address that ends in "edu" but that includes many alumni.
The Climate Culture site can help you evaluate energy and environment-related quesations. For example, the recent "Earth Hour"event was NOT a good idea if people actually turned off the electricity and lighted candles.
Though the Greenest Canpus contest is just officially beginning, word has spread virally via the Internet so some early-joiners have jumped the gun. Here's how the contest looks as official tallying begins: Courtesy Climate Culture. Here's where you can find the updated leaderboard.