DOUGLAS COUNTY, CO – An ‘Earth Cube’ solar composter and ‘Sunbolt’ solar powered workstations are coming to a school near you. These are two of the $36,000 in solar prizes won by Douglas County schools as part of the Renew Our Schools competition. The competition, run by Resource Central, a nonprofit based in Boulder, helped schools reduce their electricity bills by up to 12%.
Eight Douglas County schools competed in the popular 5-week energy competition that utilizes real-time electricity data from eGauge energy monitors to evaluate and reduce their electricity usage. Students helped schools save energy by turning off unnecessary lights, reviewing building shut down schedules with custodians, and connecting appliances to power strips that can be turned off easily.
Over 6,000 students participated in the Renew Our Schools competition, many of whom worked with their parents to pledge to change their energy behaviors at home. The schools that reduced their electricity usage the most and had the greatest household participation won up to $18,000 to install solar projects in their schools. This competition was funded by All Points North Foundation (APNF), a private family foundation based in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Renew Our Schools provides a unique opportunity for the next generation to learn about the role solar plays in the clean energy transition”, said Laura Staich, Executive Director of APNF. “This program aligns with our mission of driving awareness, education, training and hands-on applications of solar as a practical and cost-effective energy source.”
After an intense and fun competition, the winning schools were Sierra Middle School ($18,000), Buffalo Ridge Elementary ($12,000), and Pine Lane Elementary ($6,000).
“These innovative projects provide a new and exciting way of incorporating solar into schools and empowering students about ways to save energy”, said Kathy Croasdale, Resource Central’s Program Manager who leads Renew Our Schools.
These exciting projects will be installed this summer, and ready to greet the students when they return in August.
Matt Van Deusen, Director of Operation and Maintenance for Douglas County School District added, “I am excited about the kid’s drive and enthusiasm to understand how we are all connected and can be stewards for the district energy usage.”
Sierra Middle School chose to install Sunbolt Velocity outdoor solar powered workstations with their winnings (gosunbolt.com). These workstations raise awareness about solar energy and provide students and staff a way to charge devices, such as laptops and cell phones, in the school’s outdoor courtyard.
Pine Lane Elementary chose to install an ‘Earth Cube’, an enclosed solar powered composting bin that uses solar energy to heat the compost to quicken the breakdown process. These composters are great educational tools that show students the benefits of composting.
At Buffalo Ridge Elementary, the teachers and students used their eGauge to discover their gym was the area of the school that used the most electricity. The students wanted to find a way to power their gym with solar energy. After much research, they discovered REDi-lite, a company that designed a system to power newly installed LED lights in the gym with solar energy. This self-contained system would enhance the gym with a switch that would control solar powered supplemental lights to find savings in their electricity bill, saving the school money every month.
About Resource Central:
Founded in 1976, Resource Central is an innovative nonprofit dedicated to putting conservation into action. Its programs have helped nearly 500,000 families save water, reduce waste, and conserve energy. Learn more at ResourceCentral.org.