Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Idle-Free Schools

Idling awareness will be raised in the school community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, and protect student health. The project also seeks to increase the number of Vermont schools with official no-idling guidelines by 35 more schools.

Vermont Idle-Free Schools will work with various educators ,as well as other stakeholders in the school community, to conduct 60 idling awareness and green driving classroom sessions for approximately 800 students from 5th grade through high school. Five of these schools will participate in special long-term, student-led idling study and measuring campaigns.

Project resources and materials include the Vermont Idle-Free Schools webpages, toolkit, information handouts, and no idling signs.

The school project’s goal is to make a difference in the Vermont school community byeducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy, protecting student health, saving money annually, complying with Vermont no-idling laws, and raising student (and adult) awareness.

Vermont Idle-Free Schools is a High Meadows Fund-supported Idle-Free VT project. The High Meadows Fund, a Middlebury-based foundation, awarded Idle-Free VT a $17,500 grant to implement Vermont Idle-Free Schools for the 2014-15 school year. Wayne Michaud, Idle-Free VT director, is coordinating the project. Idle-Free VT is raising awareness of unnecessary vehicle idling in the school community to educate students in being fuel efficient, environmentally responsible drivers, and seeking to increase the number of Vermont schools with official no-idling guidelines to help promote healthy school environments.

Just one driver reducing idling for five minutes a day for the next 15 years could cut CO2 emissions by more than two tons and avoid burning 225 gallons of fuel. Parents and other drivers avoiding idling at schools will protect students, in particular, from respiratory diseases like asthma. Children breathe at a significantly faster rate than adults, plus their lower height makes them more vulnerable to toxic exhaust chemicals from ground level tailpipe emissions. Drivers of light-duty vehicles can save hundreds of dollars annually in avoiding needless fuel use and engine wear. Vermont’s prohibited idling of motor vehicles law limits the idling of all vehicles to five minutes in any 60-minute period. Students will learn to be idle-free from the start\ and, potentially, pass it on to their parents, too.

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