Students Inspire Erie School District to Adopt Energy Plan
Four years ago, Collegiate Academy science teacher Doreen Petri organized a small group of students she called "The Green Team." The students conducted an energy audit of the school building, and knew that changes had to be made.
"We knew that if we reduced our electrical consumption by turning off lights, we would see immediate results. Our Energy Star Rating at Collegiate when we began was a 23. It ranges from 0 to 100 and the higher the number the better. In one year, we went from a 23 to 46 and we saved the district $11,000," Petri said.
Ideas to save energy grew at Collegiate Academy, thanks to "The Green Team."
"We have a recycling program. We continue to look at our heating consumption. We try to adjust our thermostats, not open windows when its too hot in a room. All the things you do at home," Petri said.
"Green Team" member Mary Quinn remembers the effort it took to make the school more environmentally friendly. "It is difficult getting people to change their ways. But its simple things like taking a bottle and throwing it into a recycling bin instead of a garbage can," she said.
One of the biggest environmental efforts by Collegiate Academy is to save paper. In some classes, research and homework assignments are turned in by e-mail. The school newspaper, which used to be printed once a month at a cost of $250, is now totally online.
The news is fresh and continually updated.
"Its also more innovative this way. Kids can interact with what's going on in the school and in the community by commenting on the articles and giving us feedback," said Elena Parthenakis, Newspaper Advisor.
The methods to save energy were so successful at Collegiate Academy, that they're being implemented in other schools throughout the district. The District Energy Plan will begin in October. It is believed that the new energy plan could save the district at least $200,000 a year.