Green Schools Program Coming to Prince George’s County

Release Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pilot 2011-12 Green Schools Program Deemed Great Success

Lockheed Martin and a local energy efficiency program have committed to the continued funding of the Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools program in three Prince George’s County, Md. public schools based on the measurable energy and cost savings achieved by a pilot program started in December.

More than 50 second to eighth graders formed “Green Teams,” learned about energy sources, use and measurement – and how they, along with faculty and maintenance staff, could reduce their schools’ energy use and costs. Their efforts resulted in a nearly 12% reduction that saved $3,968 in February and March at University Park and Hyattsville Elementary Schools and Nicholas Orem Middle School.

STEP-UP, the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Small Town Energy Program for University Park, has provided support and logistics at its neighborhood elementary school this year and will fully fund the Green Schools program there next year. STEP-UP’s goal is to improve energy efficiency by 20% in at least 20% of University Park’s homes.

“We are thrilled with our preliminary program results and with this ‘vote of confidence’ from Lockheed Martin and STEP-UP,” said Alliance Vice President for Education Merrilee Harrigan. “We look forward to even more savings – and more awareness of energy efficiency in the schools and in the wider communities – in the coming school year.”

“Lockheed Martin understands the importance of building strong science, technology, engineering and math skills at an early age,” said Lockheed Martin’s Director of Energy Programs Roger Flanagan. “Through this program, we hope to inspire the students to not only continue applying their knowledge of energy efficiency elsewhere, but also to think about future careers in engineering.”

“This program allowed students to have hands-on learning experiences,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools Board of Education member Amber Waller. “But more importantly, it provided them opportunities to work as a team with other students and school staff to make a difference in the way schools use energy, to develop and interpret data and share recommendations, to report on savings and achievements and to educate and engage parents and community members.”

Schools Formed Green Teams to Spread Message

The Green Schools program, which amounted to a “mini-crash course in energy efficiency,” according to Alliance Project Manager Aaron Stainthorp, trained students on the use of energy diagnostic tools for conducting school energy audits; provided teacher workshops on energy and energy efficiency; and included hands-on support from a local project leader and Alliance staff.

The energy-saving measures undertaken by the Green Teams included:

  • Conducting school walk-throughs to identify energy waste and implementing appropriate energy-saving measures;
  • Testing the efficiency of appliances in the schools and identifying “energy vampires” that consume energy even when turned off;
  • Flagging wasteful energy behaviors;
  • Having students design PowerPoint presentations on energy efficiency; and
  • Executing school-wide “energy shutdowns” by turning off appliances before spring and summer breaks.

Sharing the Knowledge

But the energy-saving efforts didn’t stop there. For example, after receiving Green Schools training in conducting an energy audit, Nicholas Orem Middle School students went on to teach University of Maryland engineering students to do the same on their campus. Female Lockheed Martin engineers attended the training as examples to students in the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) program.

“Promoting energy efficiency through real-life, hands-on lessons enhanced student learning at Nicholas Orem, and the GEMS program encouraged students to pursue careers in math, science and engineering” said Kelly Koser, an engineer with Lockheed Martin Energy Solutions. “By understanding how to perform an energy audit of their school, students were able to identify tangible energy savings and see what a technical career, perhaps in energy efficiency, might entail.” 

Nicholas Orem teacher James Zhou observed that when students used the Kill-A-Watt, a device that measures electricity use, and an IR, or infrared temperature sensor gun, the energy efficiency lessons hit home. “That was really a way to make it concrete,” he said. “I really like the hands-on stuff.  You can talk about energy savings all day, but when you have those tools, that’s when they get really engaged.”   

Dr. Raluca Rosca of the Nicholas Orem GEMS program noted that Green Schools has teachers and others “talking about energy in a way that’s not just a problem that adults deal with.  This is something that 6th and 8th graders can do something about.”

Thwarting Energy Vampires

After identifying the energy vampires at University Park Elementary, students educated their peers and faculty on how to stop wasting energy with the help of 250 power strips donated by IKEA and STEP-UP.

University Park teacher Christy Neff noted that the program definitely raised student awareness of energy waste. “One day, I was away at meeting, and the sub had on the overhead lights and the task lights,” she said. When she returned, the students mentioned that both sets of lights were on. “They wouldn’t have thought about that before,” she continued, “and if they had, they definitely wouldn’t have said anything. It’s awareness on everybody’s part.”

She added that the program is having an impact beyond the classroom and the school year: “Definitely the kids feel an ownership to be good stewards, and that has a lasting effect. They are driving their parents crazy telling them to turn everything off and stuff like that! And I think that’s a legacy in and of itself – that they are starting to take ownership of this.”
 
For more information about the Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools Program, visit http://ase.org/programs/green-schools-program.

Lockheed Martin is an Associate member of the Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency. For more information about Lockheed Martin’s Energy Solutions, visit http://www.lockheedmartin.com/energysolutions

Alliance to Save Energy & Lockheed Martin Media Contacts

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The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy and national security.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.