Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today's Energy Insight

According to the American Solar Energy Society, enough sunlight falls on the earth's surface each minute to meet the world energy demand for how long?

A)  24 hours

B)  8 weeks

C)  6 months

D)  an entire year

Scroll down to check your answer...

The correct answer is D) an entire year! Wow! Who knew?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Save Over the Summer

Pretty soon classrooms will be empty and quiet as students and staff head off for a much deserved summer vacation. There are many opportunities to save energy over the three month period between Memorial and Labor Days. As you prepare to leave your classroom, office, or area for the extended break, please make sure to do the following to keep our buildings operating efficiently throughout the summer months:

  • Close blinds and drapes.
  • Keep vents clear of books and boxes.
  • Turn off monitors, printers, speakers, smartboards, etc.
  • Turn off and unplug all miscellaneous electronics.
  • Take home any plants and animals.
  • Consolidate refrigerators in staff lounges; turn off, clean and prop open all but one in each building.
  • Empty, turn off, clean and prop open refrigerators in FACS rooms and science labs.
  • Look for and be aware of any opportunities to save energy during the unoccupied summer months.
Thanks for doing your part, together we can and do make a difference!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today's Energy Insight

Today's warm breeze makes it a perfect day to hang sheets, bedding and clothes outside on the line to dry. A simple investment of clothesline rope and wooden clothespins is a great way to save energy by not running your electric or gas clothes dryer. If you don't have two trees for hanging up a clothesline, look for other areas like a fence or corner of the house for an anchor point. Or your local hardware store has several options for retractable clotheslines. Be creative and see how best you can hang laundry out to dry during these glorious spring days.

If you don't like the "crunchiness" of some items after being air dried, for example denim jeans, give these a head start outside on the line and then throw them in the dryer to finish drying and soften up a bit. Additionally, spending less time in an automatic dryer can add to the longevity of a garment as air drying is not as hard on clothes as power dryers.

Lastly, if you run your dryer at the same time you are cooling your home with air conditioning, try to run loads in the morning or at night and not during the peak cooling hours of mid-day through the late afternoon into early evening. That can go for washing machines and dish washers as well.

So on the next warm and sunny day, be sure to take advantage of nature's clothes dryer.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's Easy Being Green

Photo courtesy the Jim Henson Co.
Unlike our friend Kermit here who continually laments it's not easy being green; living green, or eco/energy conscious is really not too difficult.

Here are the top five LIVE GREEN pledges
according to


  1. Maintain your air conditioner, keep the equipment clean and give the unit an annual tune-up. 
  2. Use reuseable water bottles, this is not only good for the environment by eliminating plastic waste, it saves you money as well.
  3. Buy organic produce, check out a local farmer's market.
  4. Raise your air conditioner's temperature settings, the smaller the difference between outside and inside temperatures, the less the air conditioner has to work to cool the inside space.
  5. Program your thermostat for energy efficiency, if your thermostat isn't programmable, make manual adjustments when you leave and re-enter the house. One or two degrees higher in summer or lower in winter does make a difference. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today's Energy Insight


More money is spent in schools each year for energy than for both textbooks and computers combined.

Scroll down to check your answer...

Lighting accounts for the majority of a school's energy costs followed closely by heating and cooling. What is spent on energy is greater than what is spent on books and computers combined so the answer is TRUE. Because energy use is controllable, when we conserve energy in the school district we are saving money and then are keeping these monies in the district for other student necessities. Thanks for doing your part!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today's Energy Insight

Leaving fluorescent lights on when you leave an area is one of those myths from the '70s that has somehow survived to this day.

The energy needed to start a fluorescent lamp is not significantly higher than the energy needed to operate it. Even if we assume that a fluorescent lamp uses twice the normal amount of power during the starting phase, this phase lasts for only about 1 or 2 seconds so the crossover time to save energy would be less than 2 seconds.

So flip the switch when you leave the room even if you will "be right back." All those "B R B" minutes do add up and will make a difference!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today's Energy Insight


A)  are a great way to save energy.

B)  use more energy than they save.

C)  help your computer run properly.

D)  are necessary to preserve the life of your computer monitor.

Scroll down to check your answer...


Don't let the name fool you, screensavers use more energy than they save. Screensavers may also interfere with a computer's sleep mode feature not allowing a computer to go to "sleep" due to inactivity. Additionally, screensavers were first used when images could become "burned" permanently into a screen if left up on a monitor for too long. Thanks to updated technology, this issue is no longer a factor for newer computer screens and television monitors.
So if you answered B, you are correct!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fancy Nancy and Curious George

Fancy Nancy Every Day is Earth Day is a fun book about being eco-conscious in a variety of areas. I would love to visit your kindergarten, first or second grade classroom to read this book to your students and then follow with a short discussion about energy efficiency at their level.

Another fun classroom visit option is the book Curious George Plants a Tree. Please consider having the district's EEC as a guest reader in your classroom. To schedule a visit either email or call extension 8104.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Live Green!

This weekend you can attend the largest zero waste event in the state. The 11th annual Living Green Expo is this Saturday and Sunday in St. Paul at the State Fair Grounds. For all the details, click here to go the event website.
Check it out and have a fun and efficient weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today's Energy Insight

It's time to adjust the direction of your ceiling fans as we transition between the heating and cooling seasons. In the cold weather months the blades should be rotating in a clockwise direction to push warm air down into the room. If your fan is spinning clockwise, look for an adjustment switch located on the head at the center of the fan and slide it in the opposite direction, when the fan is turned off, of course. This is also a good time to replace any incandescent bulbs with CFLs in ceiling fans.

During warm weather months you want your ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise but only when you are in the room. Ceiling fans cool down people but not the air in a room. Very similar to a wind chill effect in the winter, air from a ceiling fan causes you to feel a cooling effect during summer weather.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today's Energy Insight

Beware of Energy Vampires!

Many electronic devices are ready to operate or receive signals at all times so they act like vampires silently sucking away energy even when they are turned off.  This wasted energy is known as standby or phantom energy loss.

Some of the biggest energy wasters in use today are the adapters that come with rechargeable battery-powered cordless phones, cell phones, digital cameras, music players, power tools, and other electronic devices. Most draw power whenever they’re plugged into an outlet, regardless of whether the device battery is fully charged—or even connected. Other culprits include appliances or electronic equipment with standby capability such as televisions, computer monitors and items with a digital clock display such as microwaves, DVD players, and stereo systems.

So take a look around for the Energy Vampires in your classroom, office, home, or wherever you have electronics plugged in to an outlet.