Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Warm Seasons Greetings
from the Energy Efficiency Coordinator!

Just a friendly reminder whether you are leaving your classroom, office of area for break or traveling away from home over the Holidays, be sure to shut down everything before you leave including monitors, speakers, printers, copiers, projectors, etc. Don't forget about smart boards and gaming systems. Any electronics drawing vampire energy should be turned off or unplugged. Every effort no matter how small truly does make a difference. Thank you for doing your part, everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

A Look at Lighting Facts

When switching between incandescent, CFL and LED bulbs, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best replacement. The Federal Trade Commission now requires a Lighting Facts label on all light bulb packages. In the past we merely looked at watts (which measure energy) but now with a variety of energy efficient options available you want to look at the lumens (the amount of brightness). If you are replacing a 100 watt bulb, look for something with an output of about 1600 lumens. For a 60W equivalent, look for around 800 lumens.
The lighting facts also include estimated cost, lifespan and appearance (from warm to cool).

Here are some sample labels for a side by side comparison…

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

What standard home building practice guarantees large heating and cooling losses?

A)  Locating heating units in basements
B)  Using fiberglass insulation
C)  Installing duct work in attics and crawl spaces
D)  Installing double paned windows

Scroll down for the answer...

Hiding duct work in attics and crawlspaces is a sure way to lose air. Scientists at the Department of Energy labs have shown that 40 percent of heated or cooled air supply is lost through duct leaks in unconditioned spaces.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

According to ENERGY STAR, in 2015 alone, American families and businesses have saved $34 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 63 million vehicles. To date, more than 1.6 million new homes and 28,500 buildings and plants have earned the ENERGY STAR. Americans purchased about 320 million ENERGY STAR certified products in 2014 across more than 70 product categories for a cumulative total of more than 5.2 billion products since 1993.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Giving Thanks for YOU!

Thanks to the eco-minded staff and students in our district, we continue to save energy throughout all of our buildings which in turn, saves money. You help us stretch our dollars further because funds previously spent on energy are now available for student-related needs.

Every effort, no matter how small does add up in a district our size to make a huge difference!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day 2016

Did you exercise your right to vote today? I did!

Today's Energy Insight

Of all the renewable resources available to us, which one do you think is the most efficient?

The MOST efficient form of energy we have in the world today is the energy we don't have to produce in the first place!

Think GREEN ~ Getting Robbinsdale Energy Efficient Now!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This Week in Robbinsdale

4th graders at SEA
Heading out to several elementary schools throughout the district this week for some fun activities with these always inquisitive and super sharp kiddos!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Wishing Everyone in the Robbinsdale Area School District
and Beyond a Happy, Safe and Energy Efficient Halloween!
       GREEN is the new orange!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Today's Halloween-themed insight is courtesy of the US Department of Energy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Make it a GREEN Halloween!

Here are my top 10 tips to have an eco-friendly Halloween:

1. Make your own costume out of items you already have around the house and if you need to purchase anything, thrift before you buy new items.

2. Compost your Jack O' Lantern and any other natural decorations like gourds and corn stalks.

3. Choose to hand out organic, non-GMO candy or non-edible items like stickers or temporary tattoos.

4. If you are handing out non-edible items, place a teal colored pumpkin outside your door so children with allergies or sensitivities know they can trick-or-treat safely at your house.

5. Make your own fake blood out of natural products and skip the packaged products that can contain toxic chemicals. Try combining cream cheese and cherry juice or cornstarch and natural food coloring.

6. When choosing decorative lights, go with LED or better yet, solar powered!

7. Don't leave your door open all night and lower your thermostat by a few degrees so your furnace doesn't have to work as hard while greeting trick or treaters.

8. Buy locally produced foods, candies and treats. Look for goodies with minimal packaging and/or those packaged in recyclable materials.

9. Use beeswax or soy candles and avoid paraffin-based waxes.

10. Donate your costumes and decorations to a local charity or thrift shop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Today's energy Insight

If just half of all the children in the United States swapped Halloween costumes instead of buying new ones this year, how much trash would be kept out of the landfills?

A)  1,250 tons

B)  3, 250 tons

C)  6,250 tons

D)  12,250 tons

Scroll down to check your answer...

And the correct answer is C) 6,250 tons, not pounds but TONS!
That is a lot of trash!
So swap, hand-down, recycle, re-use, re-purpose, have fun!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Did you know October is Energy Awareness Month? If you didn't, you do now. Energy Awareness Month is a national effort to highlight how central energy is to our country's prosperity, security and environmental well being.

What are YOU personally doing in your classroom, your area, your building, or your office to save energy? In a district our size, it doesn't take much if everyone does their part, it definitely all adds up to make a big difference.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Here are a couple common misconceptions about paper and cardboard recycling...

A pizza box may be labeled as recyclable but once it is soiled, it cannot be recycled. According to earth911, food is one of the worst contaminants in the paper recycling process. Grease and oil are not as big of a problem for plastic, metal or glass, as those materials are recycled using a heat process. But when paper products are recycled, they are mixed with water and turned into a slurry. Since we all know water and oil don’t mix, the issue is clear.

Believe it or not, bright paper can stop a whole batch of paper from being recycled. The idea behind this one is simple, explains Dan Baril, recycling program manager at the University of Colorado, “It’s like the red sock in the white load syndrome.” If you need to buy colored paper, avoid really rich colors, and opt for pastels. Paper mills can usually handle the lighter tones.

Currently, paper coffee cups (also called hot cups) are accepted for recycling at only few communities in the U.S. The thin polyethylene plastic coating on the cups that helps prevent liquid leaking has made it difficult for most processing services to recycle the cups.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Can solar power provide electricity when the sun isn’t shining?
Scroll down to check your answer...

Many solar energy systems have battery storage, allowing users to draw energy at night. Large solar thermal power projects are coming online that use molten salt to store energy for use after dark.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

The bottled water industry sold 8.8 billion gallons of water last year, generating nearly $11 billion in profits. Yet plastic water bottles create huge environmental problems. The energy required to produce and transport these bottles could fuel an estimated 1.5 million cars for a year, yet approximately 75 percent of water bottles are not recycled—they end up in landfills, litter roadsides, and pollute waterways and oceans. And while public tap water is subject to strict safety regulations, the bottled water industry is not required to report testing results for its products. According to a study, 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water contain a wide range of pollutants, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizer residue, and arsenic. Yikes! Just a couple of many reasons to use a refillable water bottle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Just For Kids

Today's post is for the students in the Robbinsdale Area School District. Just a couple of energy thoughts specifically for kids...

Energy isn’t free. Your parents, guardians and other taxpayers in your community pay for the all the energy your school uses. So wasting energy is the same as wasting money – not a smart idea.

Energy is more than numbers on a utility bill, it is the foundation of everything we do. All of us use energy every day – for transportation, cooking, heating and cooling, manufacturing, lighting and entertainment. We rely on energy to make our lives comfortable, productive and enjoyable. To maintain our quality of life, we must use our energy resources wisely.

So kids, as we start a new school year, let's try to be energy smart both at school and at home. Have a groovy 2016 - 2017!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's Back to School Time

Coming Soon: A Brand New School Year!

Just as January 1st is a time for making resolutions, the start of a new school year is also a great time to make some resolutions. It could be to be more organized or perhaps to be on-time for every class, meeting or appointment, OR how about this: Resolve to SAVE ENERGY!

Why save energy in a school district? Energy is one of our biggest expenditures and when we save energy, we save money. The funds saved through energy efficient behavior and practices is then available for other more pressing needs. As teachers, staff and administration, we need to be models of energy efficiency for our students, we need to show them what it means to LIVE GREEN everyday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

It seems we are hearing a lot about climate change these days, especially when we have such extreme weather patterns throughout the country. What is the biggest contributor to climate change?

1)  Cutting down of trees

2)  Failing to recycle plastic

3)  Producing energy

4)  Wasting of water

Energy production accounts for 2/3 of human generated greenhouse gases.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Re-Branding in GREEN!

Sustainability Awareness to Continue as SEE® Ends

After four hugely successful years of participating with Schools for Energy Efficiency®, the SEE program is ending throughout the district. In order to keep up the great momentum of energy and sustainability awareness generated through our partnership with SEE and Class 5 Energy Inc., a new Robbinsdale specific initiative is in the process of being developed and will be launched district wide this fall. Watch for new materials throughout the schools and the ESC including energy dashboards in each building tracking energy use in real time. Think GREEN! Go GREEN! Live GREEN!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Catch Some ZZZs!
Enabling your computer's sleep mode is a smart way to go green because a sleeping computer saves energy! And remember to turn off your monitor at the end of the day, make sure the power light for your screen is not illuminated indicating it is OFF. If it is glowing amber, it means the computer is off but the monitor is still drawing power and is on. Green indicates the computer and monitor are both still on so be sure the power light is neither amber or green. All of these little things do add up and make a difference!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Is your refrigerator running and is it pushed up as close to the wall as possible? Pulling your refrigerator forward just one inch can reduce its energy consumption by as much as 40%!

Additionally, regular vacuuming and cleaning beneath and behind a refrigerator can also help it operate more efficiently.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

The Heat is On!

         Here are some tips for beating the summer heat…
  • Choose meals that don't contribute additional heat to your home (use a microwave or outdoor grill instead of an oven).
  • Delay running the dishwasher until after 10 p.m. or first thing in the a.m.
  • Delay washing clothes until after 10 p.m. or first thing in the a.m.
  • Turn off excess lights and keep curtains and draperies closed.
  • Turn off computers and other electrical equipment when not in use.
  • Avoid leaving doors open for extended periods of time.
  • If you're using A/C, turn your thermostat up a couple degrees to save energy.
  • Only run fans and ceiling fans when a room is occupied. Fans cool people not space.
  • Keep yourself and any children or pets hydrated.

Keep in mind, this won't last… before we know it, fall weather will be upon us. Enjoy the diversity of the seasons in Minnesota!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Today's Energy Insight


Stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter by adjusting your clothing rather than your thermostat. You'll stay comfortable and save energy too.

If you are continually too hot or too cold in your office or area, talk to the head building operator in your facility so they can address any HVAC issues that may be the cause.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

By now you have probably heard compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs but here is something else to consider…
Standard incandescent bulbs create more heat than light, up to 90% of the energy these bulbs use is given off as heat. When running A/C, incandescent bulbs are actually working against you.  If you switch to CFLs or LEDs your cooling costs will go down along with your lighting costs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Just something to make you smile this week...

Have a FUN, SAFE and ENERGY EFFICIENT July 4th, Everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

MYTH:  It is better to let your vehicle idle than turn the engine off – turning the engine back on uses more fuel than idling.

FACT:  Idling uses more fuel than turning off your engine and restarting it. As a rule of thumb, turn off your engine if you will be idling for more than 30 seconds. David Champion, Senior Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, told the Alliance to Save Energy, "You should not turn your engine off at a traffic light. However, if you are stuck at a train crossing or bridge opening, and it is likely you are going to be parked for a number of minutes, you should turn off your engine."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Top 5 Energy Saving Tips for Office Staff

1. Turn off your computer monitor or
    put it to sleep when you’re done using it
2. Shut down your computer at night
3. Turn on only half of the lights whenever possible
    (or use task lighting)
4. Turn off the lights anytime you leave the room
5. Clear off air vents and keep them free from clutter

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Congrats Class of 2016!

Congratulations Class of 2016!

To all of  the Cooper and Armstrong Seniors who graduated last week! Best Wishes for a Bright (GREEN) and Energy Efficient Future!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

School's Out!

So today's question is just for fun in honor of all the students and staff in the Robbinsdale Area School District celebrating the end of the school year.

In June of what year was the classic song by Alice Cooper released?

A) 1967

B) 1970

C) 1972

D) 1975

Scroll down to check your answer...

Congratulations to the Cooper and Armstrong Classes of 2016!

Congratulations to the Class of 2028,
this year's kindergarten students!

Have a fun, safe and efficient summer everyone!

... and the correct answer is 1972!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Exciting News!

The results for the first quarter of 2016 are in and check out these numbers! From January through March of this year, the district reduced its overall energy use by a total of 6% over the baseline established at the beginning of the SEE® Program resulting in a cost avoidance of $37,747.00!

The ESC has shown steady progress throughout the SEE® program and had a fantastic quarter reducing overall energy use in the building by a whopping 22%! Other great performing buildings showing big reductions last quarter compared to the established baseline were Northport at 26%, Noble at 20%, NHLC at 16% and PMS at 15%.   WOW!  Way to go, everyone!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

The school year is winding down so here are some thoughts as you prepare for the end of the year...

As you go through supplies and clean out drawers and spaces of unused items or almost depleted supplies, you are doing the first 'R': Reduce. Next, think of these three 'R's: Reuse, Recycle and Re-purpose.

More and more items are being accepted for recycling so before you toss it, see if you can recycle it. Also see if your trash might possibly be someone else's treasure. The Education Service Center has a table in the staff lunch room where people can place unwanted items like file folders, office supplies, books and much more for others to use or re-purpose. So remember the 4 Rs: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and RE-PURPOSE!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Kilowatt Quiz

A kilowatt-hour is the energy needed to light a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours. How many kilowatt-hours do you think most U.S. homes use every month?

     A) 93  B) 938  C) 9,380  or  D) 93,800?

      Scroll down for the answer...

If you guessed B you are correct.
The average home in our country uses 938 kilowatts per month.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Every ton of paper recycled saves enough energy to...

A)  Run a 60 watt light bulb for 24 hours
B)  Light up Target Field for 3 night games
C)  Power an electric car for one month
D)  Heat and air condition the average North American home for 6 months

Bonus Question:
Recycling just one ton of paper saves how many 35-foot trees?

Scroll down for the answers...

The correct answer is D and the bonus answer is 17!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Americans discard enough office paper every year to…

A)  Fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools
B)  Completely cover the Mall of America and the new Vikings stadium
C)  Make a pile of paper the size of the Empire State Building
D)  Build a 12 foot high wall of paper from New York to California

(Americans get rid of 4 million tons of office paper a year, that’s enough to build a 12 foot wall of paper from New York to California!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

Which single technology in the list below can provide our society with a seamless transition to cheap, safe and carbon-free energy?

A)  Electric Cars

B)  Solar Power

C)  Hydrogen Fuel Cells

E)  Natural Gas

F)  Wind Turbines

This is a bit of a trick question, the answer is none of the above. There is no single "silver bullet" technology that will give us a simple transition to carbon-free energy for home heating, transportation, manufacturing and other large uses of energy. Every source of energy has its drawbacks and benefits, and a transition to new forms of energy will involve many different technologies, along with improvements in efficiency and changes in infrastructure.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

A student at SEA recently asked the following question…
“What is the leading cause of preventable energy waste?”
Good question!

According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, home electronics such as TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, computers, game consoles (even when idle) and phone or electronic gadget chargers (especially when still plugged in and detached from the device) account for 5 % of the total of domestic energy consumption. If this equipment were plugged into power strips that were turned off when not in use, we could reduce our annual energy costs by more than $3 billion & carbon emissions by 18 million tons.

Wow, that is A LOT of preventable energy waste!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

This Friday April 29th is Arbor Day. Check out this great tree planting guide from the Arbor Day Foundation:

The Right Tree in the Right Place

A healthy community forest begins with careful planning. With a little research and a simple layout, you can produce a landscape that will cool your home in summer and tame the winter winds. Your well-planned yard will contain trees that grow well in the soil and moisture of your neighborhood. Your trees will be properly placed to avoid collisions with power lines and buildings, and the aesthetics will increase your property value.

A proper landscape plan takes each tree into consideration:
  • Height. Will the tree bump into anything when it is fully grown? [sizing guide]
  • Canopy spread. How wide will the tree grow?
  • Is the tree deciduous or coniferous? (Will it lose its leaves in the winter?)
  • Form or shape. A columnar tree will grow in less space. Round and V-Shaped species provide the most shade. [shape guide]
  • Growth rate. How long will it take for your tree to reach its full height? Slow growing species typically live longer than fast growing species.
  • Soil, sun, and moisture requirements.
  • Fruit. No one wants messy droppings on busy sidewalks.
  • Hardiness zone indicates the temperature extremes in which a tree can be expected to grow. For the purposes of this quiz hardiness zone considerations have been disregarded. Check with your community's tree board or forestry department or a local county cooperative extension agent for a list of trees suitable for planting in your specific hardiness zone.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Saw this simple quote today about the earth...

Love it or Lose it!

Have a groovy and efficient Earth Day, Everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today's Energy Insight

April is considered Earth Month and next week is Earth Week because Earth Day falls at the end of the week. The very first Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago on April 22nd, 1970. This day was set aside as a reminder for us to think about everything the earth provides for us; and to consider ways we can conserve these precious resources. Additionally this day serves as a huge reminder for us to clean up after ourselves.

"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people."      ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt