Heatherwood wins $1,700 in energy challenge
BVSD is in its the eighth year of offering a voluntary district-wide energy challenge to our schools. The challenge? To reduce their school’s energy use by at least 5 percent of kilowatt hours from the prior year. Winners get reward money which they can use to fund conservation programs at their schools. Heatherwood won $1,700 last year!
Past projects supported with award money include installing water bottle fillers, purchasing LED light bulbs and supporting the school garden. Winning schools from previous years have held school-wide assemblies to celebrate! Winners for this year will be announced next August.
Participating schools commit to the following action items that must take place some time during the school year.
The school must designate an Energy Champion, the adult advisor (staff or parent) at the school who supports the school’s Energy Team and is the school’s contact for BVSD’s Energy Office communication.
The school must create an Energy Team of the Energy Champion and at least two students. The Energy Team, with some guidance from the Energy Champion, develops and executes energy conservation and efficiency programs at their school.
The Energy Team must evaluate the school’s current energy practices.
The Energy Team must commit the school to at least three energy-saving actions.
The Energy Team must educate the school community.
Schools are given flexibility to fit the program into curriculum and schedules when it works best for staff and students.
“Every Friday, Lafayette Elementary turns off the lights in their classrooms to help conserve energy. Natural light helps provide the lumination of classrooms. Students are encouraged to wear neon or Cougar wear on Fridays to help signify our whole school's commitment to conserving energy,” said Julie Marquez, Energy Champion at Lafayette Elementary.
"Turning off the light when you don't need it saves energy and energy is money. Also, if kids know about what is going on with energy use they can stand up and make a difference. We don't want our earth destroyed with pollution," said Simon Gentile, fifth-grade student at Eisenhower Elementary.
Tracking Energy Data
BVSD’s Building Dashboard has live energy data for most schools, and is an excellent tool for tracking and comparing non-weather normalized electricity use to the previous year to determine the energy savings. Students love engaging with the data, and it makes energy use tangible in a way that it was not previously. For example, when students host “lights out lunches” -- a popular method for reducing energy -- they can see energy use dip immediately on the dashboard. This real time data inspires further reductions and actions.
Challenge Time Frame and Winners
The Shared Savings Programs runs July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 (the District's fiscal year) so it not only includes instructional days but extended breaks and summer as well. Schools earned an enrollment reward immediately just by signing up! To “win,” schools must save at least 5% of kilowatt hours (kWh) from the prior year. Award levels are based upon the square footage (sf) of the school. Additionally, the top performing school in each level will receive a 25% bonus of their award--and bragging rights including ownership of the greenBVSD Travelling Trophy for one year!
The Shared Savings Program is the final piece of the energy efficiency puzzle for the Boulder Valley School District:
Operations & Maintenance procedures for our buildings have efficiency in mind.
BVSD tracks, measures, and evaluates utility use and costs with software.
Energy-efficient design is a feature of the 2014 Bond because school architecture and construction will affect utilities for the life of the building (see article above)
The Shared Savings Program encourages change in occupant behavior. The online Building Dashboard helps to engage staff and students with their electricity use. The Dashboard tool helps schools track usage, helps to modify occupant behavior towards efficiency, and allows schools to earn a reward from their electricity bill savings!
Sixteen schools are participating in the 2017-18 Energy Challenge:
ARAPAHOE RIDGE HS
BROOMFIELD HEIGHTS MS
CREST VIEW ES
UNIVERSITY HILL ES
Photo: Heatherwood Elementary, Winners of the 2016-17 Challenge, held a school wide celebration last fall.