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Students Cutting Energy Usage Up to 17%

As part of the 2012 National Green Cup Challenge (GCC), students across the United States are reporting large energy savings on their school campuses, with some schools managing to cut their energy usage by as much as 17%.

“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).

Green roof on the top of Latin School of Chicago

The GCC now covers 116 schools across 22 states who are all competing to reduce their electricity consumption during peak winter energy usage, between January 18 to February 15.

“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.

And there are dozens of different stories, representing strategies that range from the simple and low-tech to the higher end of environmental technology.

The Green Schools Alliance has outlined stories from three separate schools—The Latin School of Chicago, Saint Paul’s in Clearwater, Florida, and the New Roads School in Santa Monica, California—which can be seen on its website here.

“By making ethical decisions about how we use energy throughout our facilities, we can use our campus as a classroom for our students,” says Peter Brown, the Latin School of Chicago’s Director of Facilities and Operations. “This is a great opportunity for students to see how a green roof can help reduce cooling costs.”

Brown has seen his school make a reduction of 8.2% in energy consumption so far thanks to a series of changes Brown has initiated over the past few years. Brown installed solar PV panels on the Upper School’s roof in 2009, and on the Middle School building in 2010, along with a new bird-friendly wind turbine and a solar hot water heating system.

You can also keep track of how many pounds of carbon dioxide the school has kept out of the atmosphere as a result of using solar energy, thanks to a public website found here.

Image Source: Matt Montagne

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