On Monday, June 16th a kick-off celebration was held at Q650 – The High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture, to commemorate the installation of vacancy sensors (HSCTEA). This year, through Solar One’s Cleantech program, HSCTEA students had the opportunity to explore building performance and energy efficiency through a series of classroom activities and building audits.
Two HSCTEA 11th grade Engineering students, Ashaki Gumbs and Scander Garcia, went a step further, taking the data from the building audits to write a report, which outlined how upgrades to school lighting could save energy and lower the school’s carbon footprint. Their report was submitted to the DOE Division of Facilities Sustainability Office.
As a result, DSF funded a $95,000 vacancy sensors installation project in all classrooms and offices. The project was funded using revenue generated through DOE’s Demand Response Program, an initiative to curtail electric consumption during peak electric demand when utility grids are threatened by brownouts and blackouts.
At Monday’s event DSF technical staff and contractors discussed the project with HSCTEA Principal, Lakeisha Gordon, and AP, Steven Wynn, and its impact on the school community. Solar One’s Sarah Pidgeon presented Gumbs and Garcia with the Solar One Student Achievement Award for outstanding work in energy efficiency and sustainability. These dedicated students look forward to participating in future sustainability efforts at HSCTEA and continuing their education in engineering.
Over a 4-month period from December to March, these five schools, as part of Solar One’s Green Design Lab program, combined saved 246,020 kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough to power 23 homes for one year*. As a result of their efforts, they avoided 374,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere**, the equivalent of burning 182,000 lbs of coal. As a prize for their success, each school will be awarded with $5,000.
PS 126 Academy of Technology in Manhattan came in first place with a whopping 33% reduction, and on Friday, May 9, Solar One presented them with their award.
The other schools in the top five are PS 256 Benjamin Banneker Elementary with a 23% reduction; MS 126 John Ericsson Middle School with a 22% reduction; Energy Tech High School and IS 204 Oliver W. Holmes with a 20% reduction; and PS 003 The Bedford Village School with an 18% reduction.
Over 70 schools competed in this year’s challenge, each bringing students, teachers and custodians together with the goal of school-wide electricity reduction. From shutting off lights to unplugging unused appliances, average energy savings ranged from 5 to 23 percent for most schools when compared to average electricity usage for the same period over the past two years. Interested in joining the Energy Challenge next school year? Contact Alex Smith at gdlssn[at]solar1[dot]org to find out how you can participate.
Last week at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) annual conference In Boston, Solar One introduced the Green Design Lab National Network. Through curriculum, technical support, online webinars and more the National Network will expand the reach of the Green Design Lab (GDL) program to schools beyond New York City public schools. Hundreds of science teachers from across the country were introduced to the program and intrigued by the potential to incorporate hands on sustainability projects into their science units.
Despite presenting at the same time as Bill Nye the Science Guy, dozens of teachers came to the Solar One presentation to learn more about the program. During the session, teachers engaged in activities and discussion that will help make their schools more sustainable. The teachers enjoyed the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities. One teacher said, “It was the best thing I did at the conference all day.” In addition to the presentation, hundreds of teachers came to visit the Solar One booth. It was great to meet people from all over the country interested in incorporating sustainability into science education. We hope the momentum will continue and GDL will empower sustainability education nationwide.
Solar One was awarded an Innovation Generation Grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Motorola Solutions Foundation to support its CleanTech program.
“We’re delighted Motorola Solutions chose to support our CleanTech program, which engages high school students in a way that ignites their passion and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and careers,” said Chris Collins, Executive Director of Solar One.
Solar One is excited to announce the winners of the 2012/2013 Solar One-NYCDOE Energy Challenge! This year, 55 schools in Solar One’s Sustainable Schools Network worked to reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency measures and behavioral change.The challenge took place over a four-month period from December 2012 through March 2013. Throughout the challenge, Solar One worked with participating schools to inspire school communities to save energy. Educators Joe Chavez and Alex Smith delivered assemblies, helped to kick-start energy awareness campaigns, collaborated with school custodians and green teams, and more!
CleanTech Energy is an innovative, multidisciplinary high-school level curriculum that was designed to increase student knowledge, awareness and understanding of the rapidly evolving field of energy. Beginning with the fundamentals of energy and energy sources, the curriculum follows the arc of energy production, distribution and usage, investigating the environmental, social and economic impacts of each.
CleanTech’s unique holistic approach incorporates science, engineering and economic models to examine energy issues such as global trends and consequences of our energy systems and climate change, while local energy use is explored through the lens of building science. Using the school building as a learning laboratory, students will have the opportunity to assess the building with an eye towards increasing efficiency and reducing negative impacts on human health, the environment and climate. Finally, CleanTech introduces the science, emerging technologies and policy of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass. Complete with a wealth of hands-on activities and student-led investigations, each CleanTech Module contains concepts that support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills with an emphasis on problem-solving, design, innovation and pathways for career exploration.