4,524 Undergrads

11 Dorms

2 Winners

1 Dorm Electricity Competition

▼ scroll to learn more about the 2017 competition ▼
Current Standings

Electricity Competition:

Update April 2017: Congratulations to Random Hall for winning the 2017 DEC Dorm Electricity Reduction Challenge with a 30% reduction in electricity usage from a prior baseline!

Spirit Point Competition:

Data updated in real time!

  1. EC 4E slugfest: 701
  2. Fenway House: 416
  3. Delta Phi Epsilon: 312
  4. New House 2: 136
  5. Next 2E: 59
  6. New House - Desmond: 46
  7. Phi Sig: 24
  8. Maseeh6: 16
  9. Next House: 10
  10. Alpha Phi: 5
  11. Kappa Alpha Theta: 0
  12. French House: 0

Green Building Challenge Mini-Competition:

Update 18-March-2017: Nice job to Richard M from New House 2, Adriana J from EC 4E slugfest, and Zack P, our top Green Building Challenge competitors with 30+ full runs up the 18-floor Green Building... at least 30 times each!

Competition Rules

There are three separate scores being tracked:

Electricity Usage: Only Dorms

The Electricity competition will be based on each dorm's percent energy reduction during the competition. We will be comparing each dorm's electricity usage to its own usage in previous months. Weekly electricity data will be reflected in the "Current Standings" section from Wed 3/1 - Tues 3/21. There is no need to sign up your dorm, as dorms are automatically entered into the competition. See below for more information on how to save electricity! The grand prize is valued at $1500.

Spirit Points: Dorms, FSILGs, and individuals

The Spirit competition will be based on each team's total number of spirit points earned by its team members. You can sign up to create/join a team through the link on the floating tab at the top of the page. You may join a team at any point during the competition, and you can earn spirit points from February 27 through March 22! All point you earn (even those earned prior to joining the team) will be counted for your team’s total score. Spirit points can be earned from February 27 through March 22. This prize is valued at $1000. *Note: You do not have to be a current resident to join a living group spirit team, but you still must be an undergrad.

See below for more information on how to earn spirit points!

Individual Prizes

Don't live in a dorm or an FSILG? You can still compete! Individual students' spirit point totals will also be tracked. Your chances of getting a raffle prize increase with your spirit point total.

Individual Prizes will be awarded as raffle prizes and to the individuals who accumulate the most spirit points. The prizes are valued at up to $50.


There is no sign up required for these events, you only need to participate to earn spirit points. Earn points by submitting online photos (graded based on quality/creativity of photo and level of sustainability demonstrated). You can also answer website trivia (points for participation and correct answers) or attend the Green Building Challenge: Run up the Green Building as many times as you can. Gain points for going the full way and for running up the most times (as a team).

Reduce Your Usage

There are a lot of small ways to save electricity, and they all add up to make a difference. Here are some ideas below of ways that you can help your dorm to win, as well as developing sustainable habits for your daily life.

    Personal Appliances & Technology
  • Set your computer monitor to sleep, instead of using screen savers *
  • Choose compact fluorescent or LEDs lights
  • Unplug chargers and desk lights when not in use (be aware of vampire energy) *
  • Plug appliances into a power strip and turn it off when not in use *
  • Turn off personal fridges and use communal ones instead *
  • Consider replacing old fridges with new, energy-efficient models *
  • Place lamps in corners to reflect light from two walls
  • Set your computer/laptop monitor to a lower brightness level
  • Use blackle.com (Google with a black background)
  • Set computer sleep mode to ten minutes or less
  • Turn lights off when you leave the room *
  • Study in common areas to save on lighting power
  • Do not charge electronics overnight

  • Temperature Control
  • Raise thermostat slowly when heating a room rather than quickly all at once
  • Use window blinds during spring and summer to keep cool
  • Wear layers rather than turning up the heat
  • Avoid using space heaters
  • Turn off your thermostat when you go on vacation

  • Personal Fitness
  • Run outside instead of on treadmills
  • Use ellipticals or stationary bikes instead of treadmills
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Walk or ride a bike to get to class

  • Laundry
  • Hang clothes to dry on a clothesline instead of in the dryer
  • Clean the lint screen on your dryer to be 30% more efficient
  • Only use hot water for especially dirty laundry

  • Food and Cooking
  • Choose to microwave over using the oven
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator
  • Do not use pans smaller than the size of the burner below
  • Keep lids on pots to reduce cooking time and save energy
  • Keep your freezer full (fill it with gallons of water if needed)

  • Reduce meat consumption ie. meatless mondays
  • Eat sustainable seafood
  • Use fewer dishes in dining to save water and washing energy

  • Water Usage
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Take shorter and/or colder showers
  • Ensure faucets are completely shut off when not in use

  • Reuse and Reduce Waste
  • Use reusable grocery totebags when shopping
  • Invest in a reusable water bottle to replace plastic bottles
  • Print paper double sided
  • Reuse old homework as scratch paper
Spirit Points

What are spirit points?

Spirit points are a way for you to show that you're being sustainable outside of reducing electricity usage. We keep track of how many spirit points you earn from February 27 to March 22 (2017), and your total will contribute to your dorm/FSILG's spirit point total, as well as increase your chances of winning a raffle prize.

Why should I earn spirit points?

You should earn spirit points because you can get awesome prizes! And help your dorm win money. Aside from material and monetary incentives, we also think that spirit points are a great way to make being sustainable fun and exciting.

How do I earn spirit points?

Luckily, there are a lot of ways to earn spirit points.

  • Attend DEC Events: You will receive 5 spirit points for every DEC sponsored event that you attend.

  • Submit a proposal: Have an idea on how to make your dorm more sustainable? Email a description of your idea to ua-sustainability-dec@mit.edu and we'll award you 5-10 points based on the content and level of detail. If your idea is feasible and well thought out, it may be implemented in the winning dorm!

  • Answer the Trivia Questions Online: If you answer the trivia questions here, then you can earn up to 7 spirit points. You will get one point for submitting the form. The total amount you earn will depend on the number of questions you got correct. There is also a short answer question where you can earn points.

  • Take a picture: Send us a picture of yourself doing something sustainable, and we'll award you 1-5 points depending on the level of sustainability and creativity! (For example, spending a day at a Charles River cleanup would earn a 5.) All pictures will be posted on this site. Examples of things we've received in the past are:

    • Taking the stairs
    • Filling a reuseable water bottle
    • Composting
    • Planting something in your room
    • Picking up litter
    • Bringing a reusable bag to the store

    To submit photos, please log-in here and upload it to our site!
  • Grand Prize: $1500 worth of sustainable additions

    • Funding will be awarded for the implementation of a project in the winning dorm that either makes the dorm more sustainable or increases the sustainability of the lifestyles of the dorm's residents
    • Project will be proposed by the residents of the winning dorm and approved by the UA Committee on Sustainability
    • Awarded to the dorm with the largest decrease in electricity usage during the competition
    • Eligible winners: Any of the 11 MIT undergraduate dorms

  • Spirit Prize: $1000 worth of sustainable additions

    • Funding will be awarded for the implementation of a smaller sustainable project for the residents of the winning living group
    • Project proposed by the residents of the winning living group and approved by the UA Committee on Sustainability
    • Awarded to the living group that earns the most spirit points per person
    • Eligible winners: Any MIT undergraduate subdorm or recognized FSILG

  • Individual Prizes: ~$50 worth of sustainable additions

    • Participate in our events to win raffle prizes and other mini-competition awards
    • Winners will be announced at the finale on March 22; you must be present to claim your prize
    • Eligible winners: Any undergraduate who earns spirit points during the competition

Come to our events to learn and to get spirit points for the raffle and for your spirit team!

  • Monday 2/27: Kickoff 7:30-9:00pm, Lobby 10
    Come get free food, DEC swag, and the opportunity to have your voice heard on why sustainability matters to you. Also featured: music, sustainability pledges, more information about the competition, and tips on how to live sustainably.

  • Monday 3/6: MIT Co-gen plant tour 2 tours - one 3:15-4:00pm and another 4:15-5:00pm, Bldg 42
    Have you ever wondered where MIT's energy actually comes from? What are we as a campus doing to increase energy efficiency? Come learn about our own on-campus co-generation power plant, where much of our energy comes from!

  • Tuesday 3/7: MIT nuclear reactor tour 5:30-6:30pm, Bldg NW12 (138 Albany Street)
    There's a nuclear reactor in Cambridge? But you just told me that MIT gets its energy from natural gas and steam at the co-generation plant! Come learn about our own on-campus MIT Nuclear reactor and the range of research that has been conducted there.

  • Friday 3/10: MIT Reuse and Repair Fair 10:00am-5:00pm, W20
    Come learn about sustainability through clothing and electronics re-use! Featuring Choose to Reuse clothing swap, an IFixit cellphone fixing station, and more.
    FB Event

  • Friday 3/10: Sustainability Panel 5:00-7:00pm, W20 La Sala
    Come hear Rick Ridgeway, Adam Werbach, and Scott Briscoe talk about sustainability at Patagonia and beyond!
    FB Event

  • Saturday 3/18 : Green Building Challenge 2:00-5:00pm, Bldg 54 (Meet in 54-100)
    Originally started as a bad idea, this challange tasks you with climbing the Green Building as many times as possible. The challange happens at your own pace, but the more times you climb it, the more points you earn.

  • Wednesday 3/22: Finale Time 7:00-9:00pm, 3-270
    Did your dorm do enough? Did you save enough electricity? Did you climb the Green Building enough times? During the finale, all of your questions will be answered and prizes will be awarded! The Grand Prize and Spirit Prize winners will be announced, and individual raffle prizes will be given out.

The Dorm Electricity Competition was founded in 2006 by Tim Grejtak ‘11 in order to increase awareness of the importance of saving energy while developing strong energy-saving habits among students. After a three-year hiatus, the competition was brough back by the UA Committee on Sustainability, and we kicked off the competition in spring of 2013 with a Chipotle study break. The undergraduate dorms saved over 29,500 kWh over the month of April! DEC is now an annual competition during one month of the spring semester, and will be happening for the 5th consecutive year this March.

Past Grand Electricity Prize Winners:

  • 2017: Random Hall
  • 2016: New House
  • 2015: Simmons
  • 2014: Baker
  • 2013: East Campus
  • 2008: Baker
  • 2007: McCormick

Past Spirit Prize Winners:

  • 2017: 4th East in East Campus
  • 2016: Women’s Independent Living Group (WILG)

DEC Project Leader: Stephanie Chin

DEC Committee Members: Avital Baral, Valerie Hunter, Jordyn Mann, Anya Quenon, Zach Schmitz, Mingshi Yang, and Sherry Zhou

UA Sustainability Chairs: Kathy Camenzind and Yanisa Techagumthorn




Events sponsored by:
MIT Facilities
MIT UA Sustainability Committee
Guayaki Yerba Mate

Competition sponsored by:
MIT Division of Student Life
MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative
MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (1)
MIT Office of Sustainability
MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Department (22)
MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (6)

Raffle prizes sponsored by:
Whole Foods
Saloniki Greek
and more local businesses!

Competition Preview
Contact Us

Email us at ua-sustainability-dec@mit.edu or fill out the form below with any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Name (optional):

Email (optional):



  • How are the winners determined?
  • See our Competition Rules page for details about the competition, the mini-competitions, and the prizes!

  • How can I reduce my electricity usage in my dorm?
  • See our Reduce Your Usage page for ideas about how to reduce your elecricity usage

  • What if I can’t control my hall lights, big event happening in my dorm, other aspects of dorm electricity usage>? How can I still win?
  • This year, our spirit prize part of the competition is based only on points from: attending and participating in events, participating and winning mini-competition, and answering weekly trivia on our website. So you can still win, regardless of how much/little control you have on your current dorm infrastructure! (And if you win the spirit prize, perhaps you can improve your living infrastructure for next year!)

  • What if I live off campus in non-dorm, non-FSILG housing?
  • Feel free to participate at our events, mini-competitions, and trivia -- you can win raffle and individual mini-competition prizes! In addition, if there’s a living group on campus that you’re affiliated with, you can join spirit teams based in those living groups, even if you are not a resident of that living group.

  • What is a spirit team?
  • Spirit teams are groups of up to 50 people from a living group community who can work towards the $1000 spirit prize! Spirit teams enable small groups and non-dorms to compete and to learn how individuals and small groups can make a tangible improvement on their energy efficiency and their quality fo living with simple, existing, energy-efficient technology solutions! For more info about the spirit prize, visit the competition rules page, and for other spirit-team related questions, please contact ua-sustainability-dec@mit.edu!

  • Do I have to live in a dorm/FSILG to join a spirit team from that dorm/FSILG?
  • Nope - you can join even if you’re a non-resident member of this community!

  • What does a “team leader” do?
  • Each team must have a single person “team leader” sign up the team and provide a team name. The main role of the team leader is to coordinate process of choosing and receiving the prize money, if that team wins the spirit prize.

  • What qualifies as a spirit team “location”?
  • Teams should be based on a specific location (e.g. a specific suite in a dorm or a specific FSILG) because prizes will only be approved for implementation in a specific living group. Nevertheless, you may still join a team as a non-resident friend of the community -- and if your spirit team wins the $1000 spirit prize, you can still benefit from the prize as a guest in that community. If you have questions about the location requirement, please contact ua-sustainability-dec@mit.edu!

  • Why is there a spirit team cap?
  • Teams excel when people inspire and encourage each other within the team, which is difficult to do if the team gets too large. This also helps level the playing field for smaller living groups who can’t have get as many people on one team, and it increases the potential impact for the prize money.

  • Can I sign-up for a spirit team in the middle of the competition?
  • Yes! Just sign in (using MIT Kerberos web certificates) at http://dec.mit.edu, and select the name of the team that you’d like to join. Any points that you earn (even those that you’ve earned prior to joining the team) will be added to that team’s score.

  • What can I use the prize money for?
  • The prize money can be used for any sustainable dorm improvement, ranging from a new energy-efficient fridge ($500-$800) or window/door draft guards ($100-$400 for 100-500 guards). In 2016, WILG used their $1000 spirit prize money for a new, energy-efficient, washer-dryer laundry machine, and Next House used their $2500

  • Additional questions?
  • If your question has not been answered in this FAQ, please contact your dorm sustainability rep (if applicable), or contact ua-sustainability-dec@mit.edu!