Save Power And Receive Cash


With Dartmouth residence hall electricity use rising by an average of 3 to 5 percent per year, students need to take more responsibility for their energy use. By rewarding them for doing so, SPARC serves as an effective educational tool, while achieving a very tangible goal as well.


  • Increase Environmental Awareness at Dartmouth
  • Reduce Electrical Use/Costs in Residence Halls
  • Encourage Teamwork and a Sense of Community in Residence Halls

Program Outline

  1. Set "Background" electrical use for each dorm.
  2. Begin a large, campus-wide advertising program to inform students about the program and increase environmental awareness.
  3. If a residence hall uses less energy than the "Background" level over the term, give 50% of these savings back to the students in the form of credit to their residence hall budget.
  4. Give an award of $100 to the residence hall that achieves, by percentage, the greatest savings.


Kyle Teamey 98 began the Save Power and Reduce Costs campaign in Spring 1998. The program was successful in its debut as a pilot program involving 18 of the residence halls on campus. Electric use in the 18 halls participating declined by 8% during April 1998, while electric use in the 16 halls not participating rose 4.86%. Over April and May 1998, SPARC saved $2552.56 in electric bills, half of which was returned to students. Also, $100 was awarded to the "winner," Smith Hall.

In Fall 98, SPARC was approved by the Resource Working Group to go campus-wide. Compared with Fall 97, residence hall electric use increased by 0.88%. While an increase, it was less than the trend (increase of about 4% per year) and was enough to return $980 to students. Versus the trend, SPARC saved nearly 27,000 kWh and over 33 tons of atmospheric CO2. Last term, Midfayerweather won SPARC, with a decrease of 15%!

This Winter, the program continued campus-wide, despite the advent of dorm-room cable TV. The acronym has, by decision of ESD, been changed to stand for Save Power And Receive Cash, and the program concluded it's third term when the meters were read at the end of February (see below for results).

SPARC is not a "shiver-in-the-dark" proposition. It idea is simple and in no way unpleasant. The basic message is: If you arent using it, turn it off. The main targets are computers, which should be shut down when not in use for an hour or longer, and bathroom lights, which should be turned off when not in use. These two sources alone account for a great amount of dorm electric use, and are a simple and easy place to start.

SPARC CALCULATOR : how much can YOUR residence hall save?
This calculator assumes that if your residence hall saves more than 15% in electricity costs, it wins SPARC for the the term. This is based on the result from last term, when Midfayerweather won with 15% savings. The calculations are also based on a the current 8 cents per kilowatt hour rate of electricity.
Number of kilowatt hours used in electricity last term:
Number of kilowatt hours used in electricity this term
Electricity costs last term:
Electricity costs this term:

Your residence hall will receive:
If the savings are more than 15% the return is:

SPARC has ended for Winter 99
**and the results are in!!**

This winter residence electric use was DOWN 3% compared to last year-- a fantastic result, especially considering the trend of a 4% increase per year, and the advent of cable TV.

It may not seem staggering, but this 3% reduction saved 29000 kilowatt hours, almost $4000 in electricity costs, and 36 TONS of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The 22 dorms that saved electricity have had their accounts credited.

Tied for first place are Bissell and Cohen, who reduced their electricity usage by nearly 22%. They each have received $296.70 for their savings and have also split the bonus prize of $100.

Russell Sage finished third with a 9.7% reduction, followed by Butterfield at 9.1%.

Others saving electricity were:

  • New Hamp 8.8%
  • Lord 8.3%
  • Ripley 8%
  • Cutter 7.33%
  • Brown 7.3%
  • Little 7.3%
  • Woodward 7.2%
  • Gile 7%
  • Midfayer 6.7%
  • Maxwell 6.1%
  • East Wheelock 5.7%
  • Midmass 3.2%
  • SouthFayer 2.5%
  • Hitchcock 1.2%
  • NorthMass 0.8%
  • Brewster 0.02%

Many thanks to those who helped make SPARC a success this winter. SPARC has started up again for spring term. Remember, the easiest way to get free $$ is to turn off bathroom lights when leaving the room, and computers when they aren't in use for an hour or more. This saves energy, pollution, money, and the computer's lifespan.

SPARC is sponsored by Environmental Students at Dartmouth of the DOC (ESD), ORL, and Dartmouth Recycles. If you have any questions on how to save energy, the environmental benefits of saving energy, or the SPARC program, please blitz ESD.

The webcreators would like to acknowledge Dan Braden of the ESD for this information.

Go back to "What is ESD?"