FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

We get lots of great questions from around the country. Here’s a list of the most commonly asked Renew Our Schools questions. And if your question isn’t answered below, please do not hesitate to email us at renew@resourcecentral.org!

What is Renew Our Schools?

Renew Our Schools is a 5-week energy conservation competition. Students and staff raise energy awareness and make behavioral changes that impact the building’s energy consumption. Winning teams earn money to make more permanent conservation focused changes to their school buildings. Renew Our Schools runs both Colorado district-based competitions and a nationwide competition. In total, Renew Our Schools has run 17 competitions that involved 198,000 students.

Renew Our Schools is a program of Resource Central, a Boulder-based non-profit organization. 

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Where does the funding for the program come from?

We have incredibly generous donors including the Innovo Foundation, All Points North Foundation, Colorado Energy Office, Renewable Energy Trust, The Dean Witter Foundation, and New-Lands Foundation.

Ongoing partnerships with these organizations have allowed us to run many successful competitions in school districts across Colorado and expand nationwide. 

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What schools can participate?

Any school in the US–public, independent, charter or private school, grades K-12–is eligible.

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How can I apply for Renew Our Schools?

If you are an INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL, contact our team at renew@resourcecentral.org.

If your DISTRICT is interested in participating in our program, it is important to enlist the support of your Energy Manager, Sustainability Coordinator, or someone at the administration level who can make these decisions for your district. Typically, a school district’s Energy Manager or Sustainability Coordinator contacts us with interest. If your district is interested in participating, please email us at renew@resourcecentral.org.

 

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What are the prizes?

During the competition, students do an extensive school audit discovering areas where their school could be made more energy efficient. If they win an award, they can use the funds to make changes to their building, making it more energy efficient. Past winners have chosen LED lights, solar tubes for daylighting, occupancy sensors, window tinting, solar shades and more!  Prize pools vary depending on the primary sponsor of the competition. 

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If my school participates, what resources do we receive?

Each school that participates gets an eGauge electricity monitor that shows real-time electricity consumption, access to the comprehensive competition portal, hands-on energy tool kits (light meters, thermometers, kill-o-watts) for students to analyze their school’s energy use. In addition, you’ll receive regular support and communications from the Renew Our Schools team. And you’ll have on-going access to a comparison between your current electricity usage to your ‘baseline data’, which is how much electricity your school typically uses. This comparison shows how much electricity you are saving every day!

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What is an eGauge and why would it be useful for my school?

An eGauge is an electricity monitor that shows your school’s electricity use in real-time. Turn the lights off and immediately see a drop in electricity usage on a graph. It is a tremendous learning tool for students and a great aide for school districts to learn how to reduce their energy use. These devices are installed before the competition begins, used to track energy use during the competition, and are permanent property of the school after the competition ends.

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What results have participating schools seen?

Thousands of dollars saved during the competition! Reductions in electricity use by up to 30%! These are the kind of initial results that hard-working teams have achieved. In addition, participation in Renew Our Schools Schools can be a catalyst to create or revitalize your schools’ environmental club. And almost every school sees on-going savings post-competition. 

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Why would our school want to participate?

Your school will reduce energy costs, build school spirit through experiential learning and friendly competition, get access to meaningful energy data, and even open future career paths for students. The benefits are wide-ranging and significant! And, in the longer term, Renew Our Schools can be a catalyst for new district-wide sustainability programs.

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What Colorado school districts have participated?

St. Vrain Valley School District, Boulder Valley School District, Jefferson County Schools, Thompson School District, Aurora Public Schools, Pueblo City Schools, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Douglas County Schools, Pueblo School District 70, Delta County School District, and Poudre School District.

 

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I am a professional in the energy field. How can I offer my assistance?

We would LOVE to have you as a mentor! Mentors are individuals from the energy field who share their knowledge with students through the competition. We have had mentors from over 40 organizations including engineering firms, government agencies, universities, municipalities, utilities, and more. 

Not able to commit to mentoring for a month-long competition? We’d love to have you on our speakers list to help schools earn competition. If you would be interested in speaking with a school about your role in energy or if you are interested in volunteering as a mentor, please contact our team at renew@resourcecentral.org.

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Send us an email at renew@resourcecentral.org. We’d be happy to help!