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Old 12-16-2013, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New environmental Club (ideas about green initiatives for school?)

My School is starting up a new environmental club. I'm looking to gain a leadership position in the club and I'm wondering if anyone here on the forum has any ideas about green initiatives

My school currently:
Paper recycling
Bottle recycling

My ideas:
-biodiesel from cafeteria oil
-I'd really love to make our own solar cells or wind turbine but we would have to secure funding of some kind so that might be a long shot. We have big companies in the area so maybe one of them would want their logo on our wind turbine? seems good to me
-Maybe eco-driving lessons. Nothing too extreme like EOC but since everyone drives automatics we could teach about braking early, maintaining momentum, decreasing speeds.
-eco-modding would be awesome. But everyone has to be "cool" so i don't know about this one

Any other ideas please let me know

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Old 12-16-2013, 11:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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one thing would be to overhual a building with energy efficient items. My brother is in an electrical club at our school, in which they overhauled a parking deck to be energy efficient
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"green roofs" are an option as well. They extend the life of an existing roof 2x3 times, incentive programs, etc. etc.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Green Roof Consulting/Design

And given how much pavement a school adds, with the roof doing nothing but keeping water out, it is worth considering.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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See if you can get information about where your school uses the most energy (it's likely heating/cooling, followed by lighting).

Might be interesting to look at ways you could help improve those areas.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lots of places to get involved, and lots of places to make a school greener.

-How is the school heated? Any ways that it could be done more efficiently?
-How is the building cooled? Do they ever open the windows or do they just leave the HVAC running all year long?
-What about electricity usage? Are all the computers left on at night, Do lights get left on in empty classrooms?
-Do they allow the buses to idle?
-Can part of the school's "landscaping" be a student run garden?

Work with the departments to have environmental/efficiency factors worked into the curriculum.
-If the school does drivers ed, an Ultragauge on the dash showing nothing but instant and short route mpg would be a good idea, with classroom explanations about basic efficiency techniques.
-If the school doesn't do drivers ed, get with the driving schools in town!
-Other classes may be talked into using envirnmental examples in class.
-Is there a personal finance class? Fuel and other efficiency should be a core item there.

Awareness campaigns inside the school (get the club to be allowed to use some bulletin board space, etc.)- how much money different vehicles cost to operate per mile (compared to the bus, even), how much more oil houses burn when they turn the thermostat up a few degrees and how much insulation can save.

Encourage public transportation use by taking the bus unless sports/job schedule doesn't allow it. I'm not going to suggest that your club work to restrict student parking, because you'll get lynched.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
See if you can get information about where your school uses the most energy (it's likely heating/cooling, followed by lighting).
It's likely bussing. There's gotta be 40x the bussing now vs when I went to school, as District lines are now meaningless.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well if you do things that target the whole district (i.e. bussing), it is gonna get more messy. I like the idea of an energy audit though. Maybe home-ec/shop class can make energy efficient shades for night use. An audit is basically a guy with a fancy thermometer scanning the building to see where most heat (or cooling) is escaping. The windows are primary suspects. I could see a "science" teacher putting an audit together as a class project, it is pretty simple.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'll just throw up a few ideas:

* rain water collection
* food scraps (goes with recycling)
* organic garden
*these three could be combined to benefit each other.
* native species garden
* Convert any of the schools gas driven golf carts/John Deeres to another eco-friendly fuel (like bio diesel if you go that route)
* Eco-architecture - figure out where the best place to put trees is, where to put sun shades and where not to, where to have overhangs, etc. (I can help with this a little bit, too)
* convert existing pavement walkways to water draining walkways (e.g. stone paths with dirt or mulch surrounding each stone)

I will undoubtedly have more ideas for you. If these aren't your cup of tea, let me know (I won't take offense ). I would definitely recommend putting forth something that you are interested in. Don't just suggest something because it is eco-friendly. If you like Baseball, find something that works within that.

Good luck! We need more green initiative leaders like you!
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Also since it can be "educational", you want to measure the results somehow. i.e. see if you can map utility usage to historical weather patterns (temperature, amount of sun/precip). The more you play the educational angle the better IMHO. And if you intend to measure the results where possible, the skeptics should be better satisfied. Make a science out of it. Offer to keep actual usage private of course, don't want to potentially embarass anyone, but showing percentage actually saved is good. Keep it realistic and simple too, i.e. biofuel is process heavy, and you have a bunch of glycerin to dispose of. Whereas automated shades can be made cheaply with student "labor" and puts no ongoing expectations on students or staff. Figure out how much heat the student body and staff make too. Get some help from appropriate teachers and buy-in from the principal. Do cost/ROI-benefit on every idea, like a boss.

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Old 12-16-2013, 06:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ideas that impact on the operation of the physical plant, beyond auditing: Good luck w/ that.

Ideas within the means of [high school?] students:
  • Worm framing

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