New Roads School Students Cut Energy Use By Up to 17% in National Energy Conservation Challenge

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Students are saving energy and highlighting the importance of energy conservation through the Green Cup Challenge

Students at New Roads School in Santa Monica, CA are reporting impressive energy savings on their school campus during the third week of meter readings for the 2012 national Green Cup Challenge® (GCC). School throughout the US are participating in the Green Cup Challenge.

“This is extremely positive news for America, which makes up just 5% of the world's population but consumes 24% of the world's energy,” says Peg Watson, Founder and President of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA). The GSA sponsors the GCC, which is now in its fifth year; 116 GCC schools in 22 states are competing to reduce their electricity consumption during peak winter energy usage, January 18 to February 15.

Preventable energy waste costs Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year and studies have shown that most Americans continue to live in denial about their energy consumption. But students are turning that around.“From California to Florida, students and school campuses are modeling technologies and behaviors that save energy, money and the environment during the GCC and beyond,” says GCC Program Director Katy Perry.

At New Roads School, students and staff also achieved reductions of 17%. “We brought natural light into the computer classroom by cutting a big skylight into a false ceiling and we haven’t turned the lights on in the room since,” says Tyrone Sandaal, the High School’s Co-Director. Sandaal said students and staff have been going room by room controlling thermostats, shutting off computer monitors, space heaters, and lamps. They installed special plates on light switches outside of seven modular buildings to prevent lights from being turned on unnecessarily during the day, and put night lights on timers. “What we found going into the GCC is that we were very effective in our campaign last year, so it was much easier for us to do what we needed to do this year. It’s about creating habits.” In the future, Sandaal hopes to create a GCC home version. “Parents and families would compete with each other to create percentage reductions at home, and report the results in school,” he says.

With just one week to go for the national GCC and with voting open in the popular GCC video contest at http://greencupchallenge.net/GCEnergy/video2012.html (both end on February 15th) schools are scrambling for last-minute reductions and the coveted first place, posting web and Twitter updates along the way. New Roads School’s entry in the GCC video contest highlights how recycling saves energy.

“National winners will be announced in a couple of weeks, though all GCC schools are winners in our book,” says Perry.

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Dawn Fairchild

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