TVA Partners to Give Students, Teachers Opportunity to Save Money for their Schools and Learn about Energy Efficiency
March 2, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Twenty-one Tennessee schools in Knox, Shelby and Washington counties are participating in a pilot program offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority and local power distributors designed to save energy and money for the schools while enhancing students’ understanding of energy efficiency.
During the first quarter of the Green Schools pilot program, which was launched in August 2009, the schools saved a combined 500,000 kilowatt-hours or nearly $52,000 on their electric bills. Participants ranged from elementary to high schools.
TVA and the Knoxville Utilities Board; Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division, and Johnson City Power Board will use the pilot results to determine the program’s potential for schools across the Tennessee Valley. “Students are really excited about this real-world experience where they can apply math and science skills to actually create energy audits for their schools, see where power is being wasted in the schools as well as at home and where they can conserve energy,” said Jolyn Newton, program manager for TVA Energy Efficiency Education and Outreach.
Newton said students are learning how much money and energy can be saved by adjusting thermostats by just one or two degrees. Some have even formed energy patrols to remind teachers and classmates to turn off lights, power strips, computers and other equipment when not being used.
“They are turning off banks of lights in classrooms on sunny days and turning all lights off for short periods of time as part of the energy-saving measures,” Newton said. “They are learning behavioral changes that will carry into their adult lives at home and at work. It’s amazing to see the enthusiasm the students are expressing for this hands-on learning project.”
Participating distributors agree the Green Schools program helps students understand the importance of energy efficiency and how simple actions on their part make a difference. They also say that the program helps students and teachers become more aware of the link between energy efficiency and the environment. Green Schools is offered by the national Alliance to Save Energy, based in Washington, D.C. TVA chose the Green Schools Program after researching other national programs.
Teachers in each school participated in an introductory workshop at the beginning of the school year. They learned how to help the energy patrols create customized conservation plans for their schools and ways to build school-wide energy awareness that students could carry home and into the community. Throughout the year, each school receives information on its monthly energy usage and frequent visits by local project leaders from the Alliance to Save Energy. School teams came together again for a midyear planning meeting in January and will participate in a celebration at the end of the school year.
At the midyear meeting student groups made presentations. Some wrote and sang songs encouraging energy-efficient behavior in their school. Others conducted interviews for school TV channels, made audit reports, prepared science fair-style projects or put together energy conservation PowerPoint presentations. Representatives from the Alliance to Save Energy, the local power distributor and TVA participated in the meetings.
Schools across the nation have realized energy cost savings of 5 percent to 15 percent from their participation in the Green Schools program. Participating schools receive a small stipend to compensate staffers for their additional time spent planning for the program. More information about Green Schools is available at http://ase.org/section/program/greenschl.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee
River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.
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TVA Contact: Mike Bradley
TVA Media Relations
Knoxville, (865) 632-6000