Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stay Warm Minnesota

Stay Warm Minnesota is a website full of useful information regarding energy efficiency and heating assistance programs provided by the federal and state government, private industry, non profits and local energy utilities.

Click here to check it out:  Stay Warm Minnesota

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

Before you leave your classroom or your house for the long weekend, be sure to turn off computer monitors and printers. These electronics continue to draw energy even when the computer is shut down. Take a look around and SEE where you can conserve energy while away from school or home.

Wishing you a fun, safe, and efficient Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's Energy Thought

Solar Power...
The world's largest solar energy roof covers the exposition hall of the Floriade 2002 in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands. The area of the roof is 281,045 square feet and it has a generating capacity of 2.3 megawatts which powers over 300 homes! That is really taking advantage of some pretty powerful sunshine in a huge way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Great Job Glendale!

I stopped in to Glendale last week to check in with Ms. Aker and the SEE Squad in 5th grade. I was so impressed to see the set-up in their pod area. There is a cabinet with all their SEE Squad supplies and a schedule posted for who and when the energy monitors go on patrol in the building. I will be back to GD again soon to catch the SEE Squad in action. Stay tuned for some video clips to be posted next week.

Way to go, Glendale, you are Energy Rock Stars!

Add a layer

Before you reach to turn up the thermostat a degree or two or five, try adding a sweater. I remember being about 8 years old when I saw that the round dial type thermostat we had on the wall went up over 100 degrees. It was the middle of a really cold winter in Michigan and I asked my mom if we could turn it up to 90 degrees and wear shorts and tee-shirts. I wanted to make it like summer inside the house. Well, you can just imagine what her answer was... Even a degree or two does make a difference so try bumping your thermostat down and dress for the temperature.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wise Water Usage

You've probably heard the water saving tip about turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. Well, here is a water conservation tip you may not have thought of...

When you are waiting for water to heat up in the shower or at the kitchen sink, here is an easy way to put that water to use rather than just letting it run down the drain. Catch the water in a bucket or watering can and use it to water house plants. Just a simple way to use water that otherwise is wasted. Now that is being wise with your water.

Great Opportunity

The Lexus Environmental Challenge is open to teams of middle-school or high school students and awards scholarship money to the team with the most innovative environmental projects. What a great opportunity for students. Click on the link above for details.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

News from Grainwood

This just in from GW... The teacher who oversees the SEE Squad there sent this picture of two of the energy monitors in their building. Ms. Ernst said the students are really enjoying this activity and have gone so far as to give themselves code names like "A1S4" and "the Platypus." She also stated that GW staff is already pretty good about conserving energy so they are giving out more Wow! than Ooooops! stickers but hey, that's a good thing!

Excellent work, GW SEE Squad and
well done, GW staff and students, well done!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stringing of the Lights

Today's post is for the staff in the district and it is not just about saving energy but about safety as well. Strands of lights whether they have regular bulbs or energy efficient LEDs are not allowed in classrooms or in any office or building within the school district. According to the State Fire Marshall, strings of lights are considered the same as extension cords and are a potential fire hazard and are prohibited anywhere in our district.
So just a friendly reminder to keep your festive decorations to the non-electric type to save energy and stay within the State Fire Code for our buildings.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Watt?

CFLs use less power to create the same amount of light so below you will see the wattage comparison and also the lifetime savings for the various sizes of bulbs. Hopefully this info will help you decide which wattage best fits your needs.

INCANDESCENT   CFL equivalent   Lifetime Savings
40 watt                     9-11 watt               $15-20
60 watt                    13-17 watt              $25-30
75 watt                    18-20 watt              $30-35
100 watt                  23-26 watt              $40-45
150 watt                  32-42 watt              $60-70

Now think about just how many light bulbs you have around your house, inside and out. Don't forget the garage and basement. The savings can really add up!

Savings with a Twist

By now you have probably seen all sorts of CFLs out on the market. There are plenty of options available now in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And if you're not a big fan of the twisted bulb look, some bulbs are now being covered with globes to look more like traditional light bulbs. But beware of the off-brand bulbs not given an ENERGY STAR® endorsement because even though these may cost less initially, they do not last near as long so will need replacing sooner.
Choose ENERGY STAR® CFLs because they:
  • Use up to 80% less energy
  • Last up to 10 times longer
  • Average lifetime savings = $30
  • Produce up to 90% less heat
  • Are eco-friendly because they conserve energy
Stay tuned for my next post which will have a comparison between CLFs and incandescent bulbs to help you chose the proper replacement wattage.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Did you know?

Did you know our district is now a partner with ENERGY STAR®?
School districts in the SEE® program lead the nation with the number of ENERGY STAR® Leader awards for continuous improvement in energy efficiency district-wide. Our district is very close to qualifying for an ENERGY STAR® Leader award. Excellent work, everyone! Thanks for doing your part.

Today's Energy Thought

Refrigeration usually makes up approximately 8-10% of the typical utility bill. Making sure thermostats are at optimal temperature settings is a free and easy way to save energy.

A freezer should be set between zero and 5 degrees F and a refrigerator compartment should be between 37 and 40 degrees F.
If settings are 10 degrees lower than these, you can increase your energy usage by up to as much as 25%. That is a big jump!

So if you have no idea what the temp is in your fridge or freezer, pop a thermometer inside and check it out, can't hurt, might help.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who Wants to be an Energy Zillionaire???

The year two Game Show Activity is coming to our district November 29th - December 10th and also again in the spring. This fun and interactive activity filled with energy related trivia is a great educational tool and I want to share it with as many students and staff as possible.
It can be used for student organizations, in classrooms, at Kids Company or staff meetings to spread the word about the importance of saving energy in an exciting way. A 4th grade teacher at Glendale has already requested it and I hope to share it with the high school Eco team. Who else wants to try it??? Please contact me at the DSC with questions or to schedule it in your building.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blue and Gold Make Green

The Laker Eco Team's motto is Blue and Gold Make Green. How cool is that? I met with a great group of high school students this morning, check out their greeting below.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Laker Eco team at Prior Lake High School. I am looking forward to meeting with them again soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Energy Projects

If you are looking for new ideas for Science Fair projects, below is a great link to some energy experiments courtesy of the National Energy Education Development Project. There are several options in four categories: Primary, Elementary, Intermediate and Secondary.
Check it out:

Energy Slang

Did you know a set of valves, pipes, and fittings used to control the flow of oil and gas as it leaves a well and enters a pipeline is called a Christmas Tree?

Several common words and phrases we use in everyday language take on a whole new meaning to those in the energy industry.

Just click on the link below to go to an activity page at the U.S. Energy Information Administration's website and check out some other energy slang:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Watts Up?

Recently I've fielded questions from staff regarding how much energy specific electronics use; for example aquariums, smart boards, projectors, cell phone chargers, etc. I am excited to try out the Watts Up? Pro, a handy dandy watt meter/power analyzer/electricity meter we have access to from SEE.
I will be able to plug various electronic items into the meter for specific amounts of time and then will connect it to a computer to track all sorts of data. It will track true power over time, capture surges and display peak readings, display usage and cost, create graphs and other visuals to help make us more aware of our energy use.
There are specific plans for using the watt meter over the next few weeks but if you have something in your building or classroom you would like tracked, please contact me at ext. 0051 and I'll check it out.