On Monday, one of the biggest events in college sports will be held in beautiful Glendale, Arizona. The nation?s two top collegiate football teams, the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide, will face off to prove which one is the best college football team in all the land.

The Clemson Tigers will be heading to Arizona from their home in South Carolina with a perfect 14-0 record. The Tigers have held the top spot in the nation for weeks on end and have proven to be an impossible team to beat. The Crimson Tide on the other hand will be coming up from Tuscaloosa with a single loss on their back after a surprising upset from Ole Miss.

The schools are surprisingly similar. In addition to both having outstanding football programs, both are relatively large, public southern schools that are known for their strong academics. They have similar standout programs in business, management and marketing.

However as fans, spectators and analysts have all been weighing in for days regarding who they think will come out on top. While there is no way to find out who the nation?s best football team will be until after Monday night?s matchup, there is another competition, off the gridlines, that we want to take a closer look at: how these two universities stack up in terms of energy use, costs, and efficiency.

While the country waits with bated breath to see this showdown of epic proportions, we are having a bowl game of our own between Clemson University and the University of Alabama to see who is the most energy efficient team in the title game.

Total Electricity Costs and Consumption

Both Clemson and Alabama are massive universities, so it should come as no surprise that they have massive energy bills to boot.

The last recorded cost of Clemson?s overall energy costs stated that it costs the school a little under $10,000,000 per year in energy cost. The school is about 50/50 electricity and natural gas, with 51% of their energy supply coming from electricity and about 49% from fossil fuels. Overall, the school uses approximately 892 Billion BTU per year in energy.

The University of Alabama spends nearly $15,000,000 on electricity a year, and a little over $4,000,000 on natural gas. Together with their water and sewage budget, the university annually spends about $20,000,000 on their utilities every year.

University of Alabama does spend more, and they should, as they are about 60% larger than Clemson. However, the staggering difference between energy costs puts Clemson on top in this category.


When it boils down to numbers, Clemson is simply spending less on their electricity than competing University of Alabama.

Energy Efficiency Efforts

Both of these massive educational institutions have energy-saving programs designed to help make their campuses greener and more energy efficient.

The University of Alabama has implanted several devices throughout their campus to reduce energy use. This includes temperature setbacks, timers for temperature control and new energy efficient data centers. As for the new buildings coming up on the campus, since 2011, the university has implemented emphasizing LEED design principles. Several buildings on campus, in addition to four residence halls are actually Energy Star labeled buildings.

Clemson has also launched their own energy efficient campus campaign. In addition to student-run programs designed to encourage smarter energy use, the campus has a number of alternative energy programs, designed to lessen overall energy use. Other plans include LED light upgrades to 150 outdoor lights on campus occupancy sensors in classrooms and room temperature control systems in buildings.

A campus building Lee Hall III has 42 geothermal wells that make it one of the most sustainable buildings in the United States. The campus also uses solar panels on two of their campus buildings. Clemson even built their own turbine testing facility in an effort to develop clean energy and to increase reliability and efficiency with this energy source.


While both schools are working to lessen the amount of energy they use, Clemson?s alternative energy projects have the university pulling ahead of the University of Alabama in this category.

Home Stadiums

Both Clemson and Alabama both have crown jewel football stadiums at the center of their campuses. Clemson Memorial Stadium holds over 81,500 fans and is appropriately named ?Death Valley? as a way to ward off competitors who think they can take on the Tigers. Alabama?s Bryant Denny holds a staggering 101,821 fans on game day.

After a $65.5 million expansion, which started in 2010, Bryant Denny Stadium not only became larger but added new lights and two new corner video boards on the south side of the stadium. Clemson Stadium may not have all of the specialty lighting and additional scoreboards of Bryant Denny, but the stadium does have one of the biggest jumbo screens in college football.

While neither institution has listed just how many kWh of energy they pump into their stadiums on game day, it is safe to say there is plenty of electricity being used at both schools as they cheer on their teams every Saturday.


While this could have been a big differentiating factor between the two universities, since neither school lists total kWh energy consumption for their stadiums, this battle is a draw.

Plans for the Future

In addition to doing their part now, both schools have plans to increase energy efficiency for the future. At Clemson, all new buildings being constructed on campus need to meet the Silver LEED certification. The school also has their 20 by 2020 program, which is a campus-wide Sustainable Energy Policy designed to reduce energy consumption per square foot of building on campus by 20%, by the year 2020.

University of Alabama also has their energy management program. Their goal is to reduce energy consumption per square foot by 2 percent per year by 2020, which is a similar goal to Clemson?s. Their goals also include the implementation of new energy reduction projects on campus, build only LEED certified buildings on campus and to monitor all buildings on campus to improve energy use.


Both schools have plans for 2020 that will make a significant difference in how the campus uses energy per square foot and are aiming to only bring LEED certified buildings to their campuses.


So, while this weekend?s massive National Championship game may declare a different winner, in terms of energy consumption, costs, and efficiency, in our book Clemson University comes out ahead. Their overall energy use, renewable energy programs and plans for the future make this southern school one of the most energy efficient in the country.