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Several foothills schools are using less energy thanks to each school’s environmental-awareness clubs.
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While some clubs have different names, such as the Green Team Superheroes and the Keep Conifer Green Club, the goal is the same: to help the environment. Parmalee and Wilmot elementary schools, Evergreen Middle School and Conifer High School participated in the Renew Our Schools challenge, a competition to lower energy usage with winning schools getting cash prizes for energy projects such as LED lights, window tinting, solar shades and more.
Students had five weeks to get their schools to use less energy, and Resource Central, a Boulder-based nonprofit that operates Renew Our Schools, provided an eGauge that monitors energy use in the school building in real-time. Students use that data to find areas where their schools could be more energy efficient.
“All schools showed great participation in the competition,” said Carly Hester, program coordinator for Renew Our Schools. “Their commitment to energy conservation and education really showed.”
She said the seven schools in Jefferson County that participated in the Renew Our Schools challenge were divided into two groups, and Parmalee and Conifer High School each won second place in their groups.
Some clubs use challenges among classrooms to lower energy consumption including turning off overhead lights and reducing the amount of energy used by plugged-in devices.
Parmalee Elementary School’s Green Team Superheroes member Amelia Bega explained that it was important to help the school reduce energy to save money and to help the planet.
The Superheroes said it was easy to do – turning off school lights when they weren’t necessary and unplugging anything that wasn’t in use, especially overnight.
“It’s important to stay mindful to reduce energy use,” student Sienna Winters said. “If we reduce energy, it helps with the bills and how much energy we use.”
Parmalee’s Superheroes went to each classroom to take an energy audit, using instruments to measure the amount of energy being used. Led by adviser Lisa Dewil, the superheroes are enthusiastic about their quest to reduce energy.
Conifer High School has a Keep Conifer Green Club that meets regularly to work on improving the school’s environmental footprint, including the Renew Our Schools challenge.
Wilmot’s Green Team is very active, operating recycling and composting campaigns, in addition to lowering the school’s energy consumption.
Evergreen Middle School’s team, which is small but mighty according to adviser Julia Fliss, took part in Climate Action Day to get ideas on how to make the school more green.
“Climate education is a way to empower students,” Fliss said. “This is a tool that helps them do something to help the planet.”
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