Our Green School Committee with the help of Sheila, have organised an action packed week full of activities and lessons to make us more aware of Energy Conservation and how to save energy – and lower price of bills – in school. Students are asked to actively participate in all activities in school and share their knowledge with parents and family member at home.
We have shared more information in relation to energy and the work we are doing for our second Green Flag below. You can also find out more on our Green Schools Blog http://petnsgreenschools.weebly.com/energy-conservation-week.html.
But first, have a look at the plans for Energy Conservation Week 2014.
|Andy||Book Guzzler- Lesson
|Colouring Competition||Pledge||Science –Build a windmill||Visit By Edwina to talk about green schools and Energy Conservation|
|Aoife||Book Guzzler-Lesson||Science –Build a windmill||Colouring Competitions||Pledge|
|Eoin||Book Guzzler-Lesson||Pledge||Colouring Competition||Science –Build a windmill||Guzzler Workshop
|Grainne||Book Guzzler||Slogan||Science –Build a windmill||Poster Competition||Guzzler Workshop (9.20-10.05)||Visit by Edwina to talk about Green Schools.
Results of :
|Louise||Book Guzzler||Poster Competition||Slogan Competition||Science –Build a windmill||Guzzler Workshop
|Mike||Week long project on Renewable Energy: Solar, Wind, Water||Slogan Competition
|Science Projects||Project Work|
|Ann Marie||Week long project on Renewable Energy: Solar, Wind, Water||Project Work||Slogan Competition||Science Projects|
The Energy Sheriff will be on the lookout during the week awarding classes leaf when spotted conserving energy.
What is Energy?
Science defines energy as the ability to do work.
Energy is all around us, and comes in different forms – heat (thermal), light (radiant), mechanical, electrical, chemical and nuclear energy. We use energy for everything we do, from running to catch a bus to cooking a pizza, from flying a kite to sending astronauts into space! Although there are many forms of energy, most can be put into two categories, kinetic (motion) and potential (stored). Perhaps your class can carry out a project examining different forms of kinetic and potential energy in more detail?
Energy is present in every living system.
Almost everything you eat can be traced back through the food chain to the sun. Energy changes form at each step in the food chain. Energy flow in living systems enables humans and other organisms to survive. Living systems use energy to grow, change, maintain health, move, and reproduce. The amount of energy that makes it from one level in the food chain to the next can vary, but will generally average about ten percent. Human societies, like natural ecosystems, need energy to organise and maintain themselves.
Facts and Figures
- The recommended temperature for classrooms is 18ºC. Every 1ºC increase in temperature over the above figures could add up to 10% to cost of heating bills;
- A photocopier left switched on overnight wastes enough energy to make 5,300 A4 copies.
- The average person in America uses 15 times more energy then the average person in Turkey;
- It is estimated that we only have enough oil in the world for another 50 years;
- On average, a car in Ireland travels 20,000km a year, releasing 2,895kg of carbon into the atmosphere.
- Ireland imported 89% of its energy needs in 2008.
- Fossil fuels accounted for 96% of all energy used in Ireland in 2008.
- Oil is the most dominant energy source used in Ireland.
What You Can Do
Energy is fundamental to the way we live our life today. Electricity is an amazing resource and should be used efficiently both at home and in school. Here are a few tips to help you use energy more efficiently and save money too;
Turn Off the Lights!
- Don’t leave lights on when no-one is in the room. In school put stickers on light switches to remind everyone to turn off the lights at the end of class.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). These bulbs use ¼ of electricity as normal light bulbs and last up to 12 times longer!
Turn Off Appliances!
- Turn off your TV, stereo, playstation, computer, washing machine, DVD and other appliances when they are not in use. Leaving appliances on stand-by uses energy so remember to switch them off.
- Put stickers on photocopiers, computers and other appliances in school to remind everyone to turn them off.
Turn Down the Heat!
- Turning the thermostat down by 1°C can reduce your heating bills by 10%.
- Remember to turn off radiators in school after 12noon unless it is an exceptionally cold day.
- Close your curtains at dusk as curtains block cold air coming in.
- Check all windows and doors to see where draughts are coming in. If you identify draughts get your parents or teachers to seal them up. Why don’t you try and make a draught excluder using old clothes!
Turn Off the Taps!
- A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they’re fully turned off!
- Turn off taps – wasting water wastes electricity as a huge amount of electricity is used daily in supplying water and cleaning it after use.
- Review the energy your school uses by carrying out an energy audit.
- Become an ‘energy monitor’ and monitor the energy use in your school on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Research renewable energy and new technologies for your home.
Energy – Green Schools Programme
Energy is the second theme that schools undertake during the Green-Schools programme.
Fossil fuels, the source of much of our energy, are formed under intense pressure and heat over millions of years from the buried remains of plants and animals. By burning these fossil fuels to release heat from the chemical energy they contain, steam can be raised in a power station boiler. The heat and pressure energy in the steam is turned into work in a turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity.
However, by burning fossil fuels we are releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere faster than plants can absorb it. CO2 is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect; as more fuels are burnt, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 increases, causing the average global temperature to rise. Climate change affects the distribution of climatic regions, sea level changes and ultimately, the planet’s ability to support human communities. Burning fossil fuels also contributes to acid rain, which is implicated in the loss of wildlife in lakes and rivers, the reduction of land fertility and the destruction of trees.
However, there are certain steps we can take to start on our way to reducing our energy consumption at home and in school. Energy surveys are a great way to identify the amount of energy used in the school, and can highlight areas where changes and improvements can be made. There are many simple low and no-cost tips that can be carried out to increase efficient use of energy.
As with litter and waste, there are four stages to tackling energy:
1. Analyse the problem
Before you even start to think about the solution you need to find out more about the problem. Carry out an energy audit by looking at past bills (i.e. electricity, gas, oil). Can you estimate the energy consumption of the school? (N.B. this will need to be measured in such a way that you can compare with the results of future monitoring). Are there any areas around the school where energy is being lost unnecessarily? Surveys could be carried out to assess draughts and ventilation, windows and doors (are they being left open and releasing heat?), lighting and appliances (are they left on when they can be switched off?), radiators and thermostats (could room temperatures be lower?). What / where are the biggest sources of energy waste?
2. Devise an action plan
Once you understand the problem you have to think of ways to solve it. Try to involve as many people as possible. From that brainstorming list work out the sensible ideas. You should start with “no-cost” (i.e. “switch it off” campaign, adjusting thermostats and heaters) and “low-cost” (replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs) solutions. If it can be shown that these actions have helped reduce energy consumption and costs, perhaps some of these savings can be reinvested in to some of more expensive solutions for energy reduction.
3. Measuring success
You must plan from the beginning how you will measure the success of your energy management. This should include some form of regular monitoring, which will be detailed in your action plan (i.e. how/when/who will carry it out). Remember also to compare like with like – energy consumption for February will probably be higher than the previous September, no matter what improvements and changes in awareness have been made during that time! When looking at electricity / oil consumption, try to measure your consumption per m2 of the school, or per student. Also, make sure to display the details and results of your monitoring– graphs and charts are excellent for visualising changes over time. You cannot manage what you do not measure!
The most difficult thing is maintaining the reduced energy consumption levels, in particular as it is not as visible an issue as litter and waste. You will know from your regular monitoring if and when changes in energy consumption (up or down) occur. As time goes on you may need to adjust your action plan to help maintain the success of your energy management, and to continually promote awareness.