It is an exhilarating feeling for a sixth-grader to go home and teach Mom or Dad something new, and Global Green and Energy Smart are helping school kids do just that.
At five New Orleans area schools, more than 1,000 students will be trained to be “Energy Smart” and to bring that knowledge home.
The program is a collaboration with New Orleans City Council and Entergy New Orleans’ energy efficiency program.
Monica Rowand, Global Green’s outreach and education coordinator, has conducted classes in five schools as part of the “Be Energy Smart” in-class education program. At Audubon Charter School, she has been teaching students in science classes about how to make their families’ homes more energy-efficient.
Rowand recently helped Audubon students understand and experience energy-efficiency by using a hand-crank to compare the energy required to turn on an LED versus an incandescent light bulb.
“LED is more efficient,” student Adeline Bracy said after observing the demonstration. “Efficiency means you are using less energy.”
Each child receives an energy kit to take home and install, including four compact fluorescent light bulbs, an LED nightlight, one low-flow showerhead, a kitchen faucet aerator and a standard faucet aerator.
Bracy said her baby brother is scared of the dark and thinks he may benefit from the motion-sensor nightlight.
Students formed groups, each playing a different role — shopper, contractor, energy rater and homeowner — to choose which energy-saving strategies would be needed to make a theoretical house more energy-efficient.
They teamed up to calculate the amount of money saved through energy-efficient techniques.
Rowand said that putting insulation in attics, walls and underneath floors helps maintain inside air temperature.
“Insulation is pink stuff that goes inside your walls,” Bracey said.
Every group started with the same electricity bill and then tried to make the biggest cost reduction. For example, if the original electricity bill had been $120 and savings were $9.60 per month, then in one year, the homeowner would save $115.20.
“Heating was the most important with how people use energy,” student Miles Florez said.
Rowand asked the students where they noticed energy being wasted at home. They said computers were left idling, refrigerator doors left open and electronic equipment turned off but plugged into wall sockets. “Phantom power” drains energy, Rowand said.
One student offered a lesson he had learned at home. He said when doors and windows were left ajar, his grandfather used to say, “What are you trying to do? Air-condition the whole outdoors?”
At another Energy Smart program, this one at Edward Hynes Charter School, science instructor Wendy DeMers said her students are intrigued by the way science carries into the home.
“They take a reading on their meters over time and it starts to add up,” she said.
The program extends beyond the classroom, through the education and programs available to homeowners. There are Energy Smart incentives that help lower the cost of installing equipment such as insulation, air sealing, solar water heaters and air conditioners. The NOLA Wise low-interest loans are available through 2014.
Global Green’s NOLA Wise team has partnered with Energy Smart to do outreach and education for energy efficiency.
They also are available to give third-party advice on energy efficiency and water management.
For information, call (504) 523-9473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.