Eight schools in Thompson School District are competing in an unique energy saving competition to win their share of $50,000 in prizes. In order to win, the students will need to help the community save energy in their schools and homes.
The month-long competition, called ReNew Our Schools, has empowered more than 40,000 students in over 70 schools to help conserve energy. It is a program of the nonprofit Center for ReSource Conservation, based in Boulder. ReNew Our Schools teaches students to identify how much energy they consume and challenges them to find creative ways to conserve. Working with mentors, the program also empowers students to teach others in the community what they learn.
“This is a generation of kids growing up surrounded by electronics. It’s impressive to watch students become aware of all the energy they use, take on the responsibility to conserve, and see that their efforts save energy and money,” said ReNew Our Schools Program Manager Kathy Croasdale.
In the competition, schools focus on saving energy by changing energy behaviors and infrastructure: turning off lights, delamping over-lit rooms, unplugging devices, or putting computers in sleep mode. Not only do students conserve in school, they bring their lessons home with them to find ways to conserve in their own houses.
Awaiting the winning schools at the end of the competition that runs from January 25-February 19, is $50,000 in prizes to be used for energy efficiency retrofits for the school buildings, or an on-site solar array. The funds for administering this competition were generously donated by two foundations: All Points North Foundation, a Boston-based foundation, and Innovo Foundation, a private family foundation based in Boulder.
“The level of student engagement and community involvement in each competition is impressive,” said Laura Staich, executive director of All Points North Foundation. “It demonstrates the power of this program and its ability to affect youth to create long lasting energy awareness and measurable energy savings.”
Each competing school is equipped with an eGauge energy monitor donated by 2 Colorado companies- eGauge and Magnelab- that provides the students and staff with real-time measurements of their energy use.
Each school is also assigned Mentor-volunteers from organizations such as Platte River Power Authority, Hord Coplan Macht, Iconergy, City of Loveland, RB+B Architects, McKinstry, and Group 14 Engineering, who help student groups understand these tools, conduct energy audits, and reduce their energy use.
“This program is a great way for kids to learn about energy use in their buildings so they can develop a better understanding of how they operate.” said Thompson School District Energy Manager Brett Dowgin. “The knowledge they gain from this competition will help them be more conscious of how they use energy and allow them to think critically about ways in which we can improve the district as a whole.”
Participating schools in the elementary cohort are Laurene Edmondson, B.F. Kitchen, Namaqua, Coyote Ridge, Sarah Milner and Lincoln. The middle schools that are participating include Walt Clark and Conrad Ball.