Working with the Alliance to Save Energy's Green Schools Program, ten California schools in three school districts cut their electricity waste by up to 18 percent. Cumulatively, the schools saved more than $51,000 in seven to eight months using only those

Release Date: Monday, June 4, 2001

Working with the Alliance to Save Energy's Green Schools Program, 10 California schools in three school districts cut their electricity waste by up to 18 percent. Cumulatively, the schools saved more than $51,000 in seven to eight months using only those energy-behavioral measures that cost nothing to implement.

Participating schools are located in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District (USD) in City of Industry, Bassett USD in La Puente, Charter Oak USD in Covina, and the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program/Technical Center (ROP/TC). The program is sponsored by Southern California Edison as part of its efforts to help customers save energy.

Students, teachers, and facility managers worked together, identifying energy waste and implementing energy-saving/money-saving, practices, including eliminating wasted lighting, turning off computers and monitors, creating newsletters detailing techniques to save energy, and integrating energy awareness into the academic curriculum. Students in each of three high schools and the ROP/TC had intensive training in conducting an energy audit of their schools, and developed recommendations for efficiency actions. Three of those student groups presented their recommendations to their school boards.

"Students really had enthusiasm for the project," said Phil Marchant, teacher at Workman High School. "They came up with lots of ways to make it easy and fun for teachers and custodians throughout the school to keep lights and computer monitors off when they're not being used. They even provided gift certificate from local restaurants for custodians, and held a raffle for teachers who shut off unused lights. In addition, you can see they learned not only science and math but also communication and community building skills."

"These schools are a model for what other schools can do to save energy-even before making energy-efficiency capital investments in their schools. What is even better is that these students will take the lessons of efficiency home, so their families can save money and energy as well. The students are forming lifelong habits of environmental stewardship," said Merrilee Harrigan, senior program manager for the Alliance's Green Schools.

Further, these schools aren't stopping with the no-cost measures that achieved these savings. Many of the schools are planning energy-savings retrofits of more efficient lighting and equipment. The schools districts are forming a partnership with the Department of Energy's Rebuild America Program to bring in business partners and state assistance to make sure their improvements use the most effective and efficient equipment and methods.

Green Schools helps schools use energy efficiently through building retrofits, changes in operational and maintenance routines, and changes in the behavior of building users. Students, teachers, custodians, administrators, and community partners all work together toward a common goal-saving energy and money. Students learn math, science and communication skills through the hands-on application of the concepts they are learning in class. To learn more about Green Schools, visit http://www.ase.org/greenschools.