Thompson Rivers University

Extended Sweater Days bundled up savings

March 4, 2016

Hockey Sweater Contest winner Lane Haller in his vintage Canucks jersey, signed by Pavel Bure.

Results are in on the impact of TRU’s Sweater Days, which extended the annual contests and temperature reductions across three days this year.

Starting Feb. 2 and concluding on National Sweater Day, Feb. 4, most campus buildings had their thermostats lowered by two degrees Celsius. Energy consumption for the three Sweater Days totaled 542 gigajoules (GJ), compared to 632 GJ at the usual setpoints of 22 or 23 degrees, a savings of 14%.

The energy saved if the campus were to lower thermostats by two degrees for an entire year would be 7,755 GJ (14% of its yearly total of 55,390.6 GJ), which would amount to $70,000 in savings and the equivalent of 387,750 kg of greenhouse gases—enough energy to power approximately 74 average Canadian homes for a year.

“We are always surprised how very minor changes can add up to huge savings over time. A lot of staff and faculty suggest that we should leave the temperature a bit lower all winter—we are working closely with Facilities to maximize energy efficiency while ensuring occupant comfort for the remainder of the winter season,” said Director of Environment and Sustainability Jim Gudjonson.

With the definition of sweater also stretched to its limit—including hockey jerseys to coincide with Kamloops Hockey Day in Canada—133 TRU students, faculty and staff posed for prizes in three photo contests on Student Street in Old Main. Students were also active as volunteers to help make three days of activities possible.

Student Lane Haller won the hockey sweater contest with his signed Pavel Bure vintage Canucks jersey. He received tickets to two Kamloops Hockey Day in Canada events, donated by the City of Kamloops, and lunch for two at Scratch Café, the Culinary Arts cafeteria.

TRU encouraged students, faculty and staff to also take the challenge at home. Since 2010 over one million Canadians have participated in National Sweater Day, an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, to support energy conservation and action on climate change by turning down the heat. The cost of heating rises approximately 5% for every degree above 20˚C. (As a BC public service organization, TRU cannot lower temperatures in its buildings below 20˚C.)

Follow the Office of Environment and Sustainability on Facebook or Twitter for details on upcoming events for Earth Hour Mar. 19, and Earth Day Apr. 22.

More information

James Gordon
Environmental Programs and Research Coordinator
TRU Office of Environment & Sustainability