Hooray! National Green Week kicks off today! Have you selected your dates and sustainability theme? Keep reading to dive deep into what GEF has to offer through the Green Energy Challenge! Don’t forget that ANY week between now and the end of April can be YOUR Green Week!
The Green Energy Challenge calls on schools across the nation to improve their energy efficiency through simple changes of behavior. GEF offers free audits, lessons, activities, contests and more to help your school or group become energy experts! Read on to find great strategies to save energy and money, energy specific contests, and more!
Green in Action ideas for the Energy Challenge
As you plan your Green Week lessons and activities, be sure to take ample photos or video, and collect student work. You could win $250 for sharing your story! The deadline to apply is April 30. Read more about the contest rules here!
- Organize student Energy Brigades to monitor the school for lights-out and computer monitors-off.
- Conduct an audit and calculate the savings possible with different strategies such as changing bulbs or lowering the thermostat.
- Search for drafts in the school with the draft-o-meter experiment and take steps to weatherstrip and insulate.
- Create an Energy Pledge for students and staff to sign.
- Organize an Energy Assembly for your class or school to discuss energy conservation and efficiency at your school.
- Make reminders for plugs, thermostats and light switches.
Win 20 Green Packs (reusable shopping bags, water bottles and snack containers) for your class by simply asking students to sign a Green Pledge. Return the signed Pledge to GEF by April 30 to be entered to win!
Contests for Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York Only
Students in grades K-5 are invited to create a t-shirt design that answers the question ‘ what is your favorite way to save energy?’ One student from MA or RI will have the opportunity to throw the first pitch at a spring Red Sox game, and will win $250 for their school and t-shirts for their classroom. One student from NY will win $250 for the school plus t-shirts with their winning design for their classroom. The winning designs will be posted on GEF’s website and worn by National Grid employees during their Earth Day events.
Become an Energy Spotlight School to win 100 Green Packs (reusable shopping bags, snack containers and water bottles) for your school! The winner is a school or classroom who makes energy a priority through classroom curriculum, after school initiatives, behavior change campaigns, and more. The possibilities are endless! If you haven’t started yet, but are interested in making energy a priority in 2013, contact GEF for guidance.
Taking steps to reduce energy waste and cut back on consumption is a great way to save money and reduce your environmental footprint. Below are some ideas to get you started.
- Lighting accounts for nearly 50% of the electric bill in most schools. Make sure you turn off the lights!
- Use energy efficient light such as CFL and LED bulbs.
- Set your thermostat for 68 degrees in winter and 78 in summer. Using fans can make people feel cooler and they’re much less expensive and energy intensive.
- If a room feels drafty, investigate the problem and fix it.
- Don’t block the airflow around vents with bookcases or furniture.
- Turn off computer monitors when not in use. Turn the whole computer off at the end of each day.
- About 40% of unwanted heat comes through windows and 10% of heat energy is lost through windows. Use curtains to help insulate your home.
- Use a smart power strip to turn off all electronics at once.
- Exercise outdoors instead of using electrical machines.
- Yellow Pages account for 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to produce and print annually. Cancel your delivery if you don’t need it.
- Wash clothes in cold water to avoid the energy necessary to heat the water.
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