CTE Project: Conservation Through Education
Success of the Collegiate Academy Energy Audit Initiative provided the impetus for expansion of the program into other schools within the district. To do this the class formed an after school Green Team in the fall of 2008. The main focus of the team in its year of inception was to assist students in CHAMPS, an after-school enrichment program, at Harding Elementary School in performing their own energy audit and subsequent conservation measures. The project at Harding was used to develop a model, which could then be used for student-driven energy audits at other schools.
The model is thus:
Meeting One: A round-table discussion was held amongst students to learn about resource use at Harding and to determine prior knowledge and introduce the audit procedure.
Meeting Two: A tour of the building with the chief engineer was conducted to assess lighting patterns.
Five committees were developed:
• Lighting Usage Committee: counted light bulbs in hallways and stairwells and distributed surveys to individual classrooms. Students then counted the light bulbs and calculated the number of kilowatt hours used in each classroom in one school day.
• Lighting Recommendation Committee: used light meters to establish the proper configurations to achieve 40-45 foot-candles of light as suggested by the Erie County Health Department.
• Data Entry Committee: entered three years of heating and electrical data and general information into EnergyStar.gov. They created graphs to show the comparison of electrical and heating consumption over time.
• Electrical Usage Committee: gathered data from copy machines, computers, vending machines, etc. by using wattage meters.
• Presentation Committee: gathered information from all committees to create a powerpoint presentation.
Meeting Four: The high school and elementary students collaborated to formulate action plans and timelines for each committee.
Future meetings: The teams continued to collect and analyze data.
The Collegiate Academy Green Team, along with CHAMPS "Go Green" Harding Elementary students, presented their energy audit results and recommendations to the Harding faculty on December 7, 2009. Harding School had a current rating of 62 on the energystar.gov website and needs to achieve a 75 to become an energy star school. Turning down air conditioning and creating an informational document to give to outside groups using the school are two of the specific recommendations made by students, along with turning off unnecessary lights and opening blinds. The program was well received by the faculty and staff. Earth Action students continued to work with Mrs. Ciminella, CHAMPS teacher, to communicate recommendations to the student body and community, meet with custodial engineers, and monitor lighting patterns. In 2014, Harding’s current Energy Star rating is 58 out of 100.