Measuring Harvard's Energy Consumption

CS50 is an undergraduate class whose final projects dramatically impact Harvard student life. Although students produce most CS50 projects, course instructor David J. Malan '99 regularly contributes projects of his own design that benefit Harvard students, including HarvardCourses, Shuttleboy, and, most recently, HarvardEnergy.

HarvardEnergy, a part of the Resource Efficiency Program, was inpired by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith who asked Malan to "help students better understand and visualize our usage of energy on campus."

In addition to offering information on each House's energy and water consumption, the website also features a "Green Cup" metric, which compares each House's total energy consumption and carbon footprint. This measurement is "one of the determining factors" in the Green Cup, the annual inter-House competition that ranks Houses according to how much they've reduced their energy consumption over the past year.

"The overarching goal of the site, really, is awareness. Even if a student spends just seconds on the site playing around, the hope is, next time they exit a room, it'll occur to them with higher probability to switch off the lights on their way out," said Malan, in an e-mailed statement.

While most of the information on the website comes from pre-existing sources, Malan's goal was simply to make the data more accessible and fun to explore.

"If we, as a campus, can indeed reduce our overall consumption of energy this year, then the site will indeed have been worth everyone's effort," he said.

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