Engaging Vermont Schools in an Earth-friendly Project to Reduce School Energy Use and Save Taxpayers Money
By Larry Lewack, Deputy Director , (VEEP), Vermont Energy Education Program
Fourteen Vermont schools are working to reduce their school’s energy use, and share their successes and their challenges along the way. The Whole School Energy Challenge engages the entire school — from the students to the facility staff and the school administration. Each school team works to reduce the school’s use of energy and associated costs, and to create a culture change among the school’s stakeholders, resulting in greater energy awareness in the school community, and improved long-term energy management.
The Whole School Energy Challenge is a collaborative effort among Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP), Vermont Superintendent’s Association School Energy Management Program (SEMP), and Efficiency Vermont (EVT), designed to promote energy efficiency and “energy literacy” in schools throughout Vermont.
Over the year of the Challenge, teams:
- Form their “Green Team”- students, faculty, administration, and facilities staff are invited to join.
- Benchmark the schools’ energy use, and assess opportunities to save.
- Create and carry out an Action Plan to save money through equipment upgrades, operations and maintenance, and student action.
- Measure their progress and communicate their results.
Each school team is assigned a specialist from VEEP, who works with the faculty champion, students and facilities manager to identify energy savings projects and make them happen. Monthly reports of each team’s progress and energy savings are posted on a blog, at: http://wsecblog.wordpress.com/
Whole School Energy Challenge 2013-14 participating schools include:
- Lake Region Union High School
- Sharon Academy
- Twinfield Union School
- Essex High School / Ctr. for Technology
- Harwood Union High School
- Main Street Middle School (Montpelier)
- Browns River Middle School
- Mill River Union HS
- Northfield MS / HS
- Bellows Free Academy-St. Albans
- Brownington Central School
- Saint Albans City School
- Thetford Academy
- Essex Middle School
Project Highlights (year to date):
As of December 2012, the 10 WSEC school teams had achieved an average savings of 7% in their school’s overall electricity usage. The best results were earned by the Lake Region High School team, who achieved a 28.2% savings in their school’s electric bill from May – December 2012. Twinfield Union School’s team also turned in an impressive showing, saving 18.8% in electric usage. Go teams!
VEEP also offers a range of programs to Vermont schools at no cost, to promote energy literacy in the classroom and beyond. Contact us to schedule an in-class presentation, apply for the Whole School Energy Challenge, sign up for a teacher training, or request a VEEP display at your community event. For more information, or to contact the program to arrange a presentation, see: www.veep.org.