WASHINGTON, June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to a donation from North America's largest integrated energy company, Direct Energy, eight schools in the North Penn School District north of Philadelphia and eight charter schools in the Pittsburgh area will use energy efficiency to work to cut their electricity costs by 5 to 15 percent under the auspices of the Alliance to Save Energy's Green Schools Program.
Over a two-year period encompassing the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the program goal is to help students, teachers, administrators and custodial staff make their use of energy more efficient. In addition, the program will reach beyond school walls with distribution of energy efficiency and conservation tips in the surrounding communities.
Program participants will learn by doing and come to see that small, individual actions undertaken daily over time can add up to significant impacts, in terms of both dollars and pollution reduction. Students will learn that small changes such as promoting energy-efficient vending machines and working with custodians to ensure that building lights are turned off when not in use can save thousands of dollars in avoided electricity costs.
"Through basic changes in operational and maintenance routines, Green Schools will help 16 Pennsylvania schools in Allegheny and Montgomery Counties save between 5 and 15 percent on their electricity costs," said Alliance Vice President of Education Merrilee Harrigan. "In addition to the savings, Green Schools offers K-12 students high-quality learning opportunities by integrating energy efficiency information into their science, math and language arts curricula."
Chris Weston, CEO of Direct Energy, sees the long-term advantages of this program. "We aren't just teaching how to conserve energy at these schools, we are teaching a whole generation how to conserve energy for life." He also noted that the Montgomery Country schools alone are estimating saving over $12,000 a year.
Harrigan added, "After salary-related expenses, energy is usually the largest cost for U.S. school districts, with cash-strapped schools routinely spending tens of thousands of dollars to heat and light antiquated buildings. And even the newest buildings can achieve energy savings when building occupants are educated about energy efficiency."
The new Pennsylvania program has four over-arching goals:
- Save energy and lower school energy costs by having students implement no-cost behavior and operational changes;
- Strengthen student learning by integrating energy topics into K-12 curricula and creating student advocates for energy efficiency who understand the links among energy, the environment and the economy;
- Educate the whole school community about the value and cost of energy, and involve that broad community in savings projects to create sustainable institutional awareness and participation that will endure beyond the Green Schools program; and
- Engage students as advocates for energy efficiency improvements in their homes and communities.
The Pennsylvania Green Schools will be supported by local project leaders from the communities who will help the schools implement the program's goals and support the students as they develop their energy-saving projects.
The eight Pittsburgh charter schools operated by Propel, a nonprofit school organization in Western Pennsylvania, are:
- Propel Montour
- Propel Homestead
- Propel McKeesport
- Propel East
- Propel Northside
- Propel Braddock Hills
- Propel Braddock Hills HS
- Propel Andrew Street
The eight participating schools in the North Penn School District are:
- North Penn High School
- Penndale Middle School
- Pennbrook Middle School
- Bridle Path Elementary School
- Gwyn-Nor Elementary School
- Oak Park Elementary School
- Hatfield Elementary School
- A M Kulp Elementary School
Begun by the 34-year-old Washington, D.C.-based Alliance in 1996, the Green Schools Program encourages building occupants to change behaviors and encourages schools to get energy efficiency retrofits, install efficient technologies and bring the energy efficiency message to students' homes and into the wider community.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy and national security.
About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com.
SOURCE Direct Energy