March Madness from an Energy Perspective

In 2015 an estimated 70 million Americans filled out brackets for the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in what has become a yearly event across the country. It has become so popular that even billionaire Warren Buffet offered $1 billion dollars to the person who could complete a perfect bracket. (Just one day in and 99% of the brackets submitted were busted). In fact, to this day no one has ever picked a perfect bracket. Everyone has a strategy for selecting a winner. Mascots, team colors, seed ranking… but has anyone ever decided it based on campus energy criteria?
For a new perspective, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) took last year’s tournament field, and selected each winning team based on the individual schools’ renewable energy portfolios.

RMI’s Criteria for Selecting the “Best Energy” Team:

• Data was collected from the most recent year available, based on the percentage of renewable energy in the utility supply.

• Tie breakers, when and where necessary, were based on the 2014 Green Guide or other data on campus-sited renewables.

• Large-scale hydro was included as a renewable resource, which admittedly gives a big boost to certain teams, such as those from the Pacific Northwest.


The 2015 bracket results were:

Madness bracket image

Overall, in 2015 the final four based on renewable energy efficiency per campus was Oregon, Texas, UC Irvine, and Eastern Washington.

In the end Oregon is declared the most renewable energy campus and thus, crowned the 2015 National Champions! Obviously this was not the outcome on the court as Duke ended up winning, but it is an interesting way to approach your picks for the 2016 bracket.


March Madness kicks off tonight with the four “play in” games, and the round of 64 games begin Thursday (3/17/16). If professional “bracketologists” can’t pick the perfect bracket with a systematic approach, then why not have a little fun with your March Madness picks this year.


Download a copy of this year’s bracket from CBS Sports:  > HERE

Check out Rocky Mountain Institute’s full Renewable Energy Bracketology blog post  > HERE


March Madness from an Energy Perspective
Tagged on: