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Green @ Messiah



What is Turn it Off?
Turn it Off at Messiah College is an on-campus effort to bring awareness to daily lifestyle choices and the respective economic, environmental and social impacts of our choices through the use of electricity usage monitoring and the delivery of “mock” bills.  Through friendly competition, all apartment residents are encouraged to reduce the amount of electricity used.  Individual apartments compete against each other to be the lowest kwh-user per month and apartment buildings compete to be the lowest kwh-user per semester.

Who is sponsoring "Turn it Off"?
The “Turn it Off” idea comes from students. Earthkeepers and the Restoration House have made numerous proposals to administrators to educate students about their electricity usage. The Office of Sustainability is happy to sponsor “Turn it Off,” and is pleased to do so with the support of the Pennsyvanlia Department of Environmental Protection.

Why Turn it Off?
We hope to inspire students to care about the “triple bottom line,” where ecological vitality, economic viability, and social justice are equally weighed in personal decision making. The short of it, by voluntarily reducing consumption, we hope
to bring awareness to how much electricity we use; to reduce our institutional ecological footprint; and to work toward just allocation of the world’s resources. Check out our Why page for more information.

If this a competition, then how will apartments be recognized?
We are running two simultaneous competitions. First, we are looking for the lowest kwh-using apartment. Monthly, the lowest individual  kwh-using apartment (campus-wide) will be awarded a FREE meal in Lottie served by your resident director. Your meal will be served with linens, fine china, printed menus, and excellent table-side service for all your peers to see. (Apartments participating include Fry, Mellinger & Smith)

Second, we are also looking for the lowest kwh-using apartment building.  At the end of semester,  the lowest kwh-using apartment building will be awarded a FREE celebration with special food.  (Apartments participating include Fry, Kelly, Mellinger & Smith)

My Bill

When will Turn it Off be implemented?
The College gets billed for its electricity usage on the 15th of each month. Mock bills will be delivered to students  the first of each month, beginning on October 1, and subsequently on the first of each month following.

How will the mock bills be delivered?
Mock bills will be delivered electronically to all on-campus apartment resident’s by email.

What is kwh?
Kwh is an abbreviation for kilowatt hour and is a measure of electricty.  

Why do Kelly residents’ bills look different than the other apartments?
Unfortunately, Kelly apartments are not metered in the same way as the other apartments. Mellinger, Smith and Fry are all sub-metered, which gives us the ability to monitor electricity in those individual apartments. Kelly is not set up in that manner.

However, Kelly residents will still receive monthly mock electricity bills that will show Kelly’s electricity usage compared to the other apartment buildings  Kelly residents will still compete in the lowest kwh usage building-to-building competition.  

My bill is much lower than I expected.  Why do I have to pay so much for housing if I am using so little?
Turn it Off  is designed to be educational to bring awareness to our consumption choices and respective impacts. Congratulations!  You are taking positive steps to live mindfully and gently.  We are using the projected monthly cost only as a tool to raise awareness and as a means of making the issue personal.  Student housing costs are budgeted around electricity usage as well as other utilities like gas and water. In addition to utilities, and the historic demands for the utilities from past students, factors like maintenance (both materials and labor) and depreciation also contribute to the housing cost.

My bill is higher than I expected.  What now?
Congratulations!  This is the first step to lowering your ecological footprint  and lowering your future monthly bills.  Check out Tips & Tricks to learn about easy ways to reduce your eclectic consumption.

Does it really save electricity to unplug things?
Yes! Believe it or not, there is a type of electricity called vampire electricity, or phantom loads. Even if you are not using a device that is plugged in, the plug and cord are still drawing electricity up them as far as your device. Think of it as a bunch of trapped electrons leaving the electric socket, running up your cord, and then hitting a dead end once they reach your TV or radio in particular. Once they get there, they then turn around, like a swimming a lap and leave the cord. Remembering to unplug electronics that you’re not using can actually save you up to 25% on your bills!

How is my projected monthly cost calculated?
With the recent deregulation of electricity in PA, the College consistently shops for the most competitive electricity rates available. For the purposes and goals of Turn it Off, we used $.10, which is the average cost of one kwh in Pennsylvania.

The graphs on my bill aren’t showing.  What should I do?
If you hover your mouse over the where the graph is supposed to appear, then right click and select “download pictures.” Your graphs should appear. If you are still experiencing difficulty viewing your bill, please forward the bill with an explanation of the problem to  

The College (It’s not just you!)

What is Messiah College doing to reduce its energy usage?
Numerous boilers and lighting fixtures have been replaced throughout campus over the past could of years.  Most recently, Lottie has replaced its lighting with CFLs, Hitchcock has replaced its lighting with CFLs and the North Complex housing one of the region’s largest solar thermal projects. More recent projects can be found here.

Messiah College is committed to reducing its institutional electricity usage by 3%. The “Turn it Off” campaign aims to mirror that same target, 3%, within the student body.

I have more questions, want to get involved, or want to complain.  Who can I talk with?
Feel free to contact the student Turn it Off Coordinator, Danika Foster,, or Craig Dalen who serves as the college’s Sustainability Coordinator, at