Darkest Tower Challenge

Hey Lister! This is the sustainability competition just for you. Every March, Lister towers face off against one another to reduce electricity, help the environment and claim the title in the Darkest Tower Challenge.

We now have the results for 2017. By competing against one another, Lister residences saved 8,823.5 kWh of electricity! These efforts reduced Lister's greenhouse gas emissions by 6.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide (equivalent).

What does that mean in real terms? It's the same as:

  • Taking 1.3 passenger vehicles off the road for a year
  • Planting 161 trees that grow for ten years

Kelsey is the winning tower, having made an 8% drop in electricity use (including a 5% penalty for rules breaking).

Electricity-saving tips

No matter what time of year, there are some easy ways that you can reduce electricity use in your tower.


  1. Turn the lights off when you leave the room (bedroom, lounge, kitchen).
  2. Use energy-efficient LED or fluorescent light bulbs instead of halogen lamps that burn out faster.

Electronics and appliances

  1. Unplug cell phone chargers, laptop chargers and other electronics that draw “standby power” when not in use.
  2. Use a smart power strip—it turns everything plugged-in off automatically when devices are not in use.
  3. Use the communal fridge instead of a mini-fridge.
  4. Make sure your computer’s power saving settings are activated.
  5. Shut down your computer when not in use.
  6. Turn off your television or enjoy movie nights with your neighbours, cutting down on the number of individual electronics in use. Better yet: play board games or get outdoors and enjoy an "unplugged" evening.

The Building

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
  2. Wash your clothes in large loads on the cold water cycle; use a drying rack instead of the clothes dryer; and clean the lint filter to improve air circulation.

Case Study

The University of Alberta submits results from the Darkest Tower Challenge to the Campus Conservation Nationals. In 2015, a case study was published showcasing UAlberta's program and demonstrating to other schools how they could structure their own electricity conservation challenge.

More information

Maja Osmanagic, Project Planner