Sand Creek Elementary showcases sustainability efforts for U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner
HIGHLANDS RANCH – U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner met with Sand Creek Elementary fifth graders yesterday to learn more about DCSD sustainability efforts.
Students showcased their real-world, hands on learning experiences that have resulted in energy savings for their school.
In the past three months, students at Sand Creek Elementary have taken on the challenge of reducing their school's energy usage. The first step was to learn how much their school used, and what equipment in their school used electrical energy.
Students then discussed how they could directly impact the usage levels themselves. They began by investigating what used the most energy, and which of those things they could control.
Lighting and technology loads are two of the largest energy users in the school. The students now help monitor and control the amount of time these things are used each day. Making sure lights are off when rooms are empty was a big first step; students also created a marketing campaign to help remind everyone in the school how important it is to avoid wasting energy.
The next step was working on light levels in each room. Many spaces in buildings are "overlit," meaning they have more light than necessary for the work being done in the rooms.
DCSD uses standards designed by IESNA (Illumination Engineers Society of North America) for our classrooms and other school spaces. When students found rooms that were too bright, they worked with staff to bring the light levels down to the appropriate range.
"Phantom" plug load is another area investigated by the group. Many items draw energy when plugged in, even when turned off. More energy has been conserved at the school by unplugging items until they are needed.
The students continued their work by helping teachers identify unnecessary devices in their rooms that use electricity, and conducting projects with first-graders to help them understand energy use, and how everyone can contribute to reducing energy consumption.
“DCSD has long been a model of excellence in the area of sustainability,” said Lee Smit, DCSD Sustainability Manager. “This was a great opportunity to showcase the efforts of our students, our staff, and our district leaders.”
According to Smit, sustainability efforts have saved DCSD over $15 million in the last six years.