Tips for Greener Dorm Living

As summer break draws to a close, students around the country are making preparations for life at Tulane. This is the perfect time to begin or renew a commitment to living a greener lifestyle, from using energy-conserving light bulbs and appliances to getting involved in recycling.

A compact fluorescent light bulb delivers the same light output (lumens) as incandescent while using as much as 75 percent less energy (watts). (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The Office of Environmental Affairs has compiled a handy list of tips for students to consider as they plan for dorm living. If all Tulane students chose ENERGY STAR-labeled appliances, the university would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by almost one million pounds each year, says Liz Davey of the Office of Environmental Affairs.

Once students have settled in, there are many opportunities to be eco-friendly. Each residence hall has a recycling room or outside station that accepts paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastics numbered 1 or 2. has all the details. Students can join environmental and community-service organizations at the Student Activities Expo on Aug. 28 from 4 until 6 p.m.

Over the summer, incoming first-year students had the chance to enter the ENERGY STAR Showcase Dorm Room essay contest.

The winner of electronics and appliances for his first year at Tulane was Michael Ross of Elmhurst, Ill. Ross wrote about why young people should care about the environmental impacts of energy use. He encouraged everyone to make major changes in daily habits, starting with consumption.

"Every bit that a person can do to help our environment makes a difference," wrote Ross. "These actions have a snowball effect … the more people that change their habits and start acting and thinking more 'green,' the more people will follow their example. If we can change our culture of wastefulness in America … we can make a positive difference."