Solar One recently announced the winners of their 2012 Green Lab Energy competition, which challenged NYC schools to go head-to-head and see who could conserve the most electricity. Three lucky schools, PS/MS 194 in the South Bronx, PS 84-Steinway in Astoria and Academy for Environmental Leadership in Bushwick were the top energy reducers, and they won prizes totalling $30,000 for their schools. We guess it pays to save!
Solar One partnered with the Department of Education’s Division of School Facilities and Sustainability Initiative to create the incentive to not only teach energy reduction in schools, but to put it to good use by trying to reduce as much energy as possible. The Green Design Lab Energy Challenge asked each participating school to reduce their energy for six months during the school year.
Of the 22 schools who entered the contest, 16 saw an impressive decrease of 5 percent or more, with an average of 8.1 percent. This energy reduction translated to almost $75,000 in savings over the 6 month period.
Kids in each school helped to reduce their energy by unplugging unused electronics, replacing light fixtures with energy efficient bulbs, turning off classroom lights during peak daylight hours, and writing letters to promote efficiency. Each of the activities in the Green Design Lab Energy Challenge helped three of the schools win prize money, but also taught each of the kids energy saving habits to share with their family members at home.
PS/MS 194 blew the other contestants out of the water, saving a whopping 21% of their energy usage, which gained them $12,000 in prize money to be put toward the school’s budget. The runners up, PS 84-Steinway and Academy for Environmental Leadership, took $9,000 each.
The prize money was generously provided by the Department of Education and Solar One.