Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

During air conditioning season, when you leave the house for any length of time, you should consider turning up your thermostat to between 80 and 85 degrees (unless you're leaving pets at home). Experts agree that the energy saved from turning your thermostat up in the summer while you're away is greater than the energy used to cool your house back down after you return. Better yet, think about a programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temps for you. Stay Cool and Save Energy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

It's another hot July day out there so the insight today is all about HEAT. By now you have probably heard CFL or LED bulbs use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs but here is another factor to consider...

Standard incandescent bulbs create more HEAT than light, up to 90% of the energy these bulbs consume is given off as HEAT! When running A/C, incandescent bulbs are actually working against you.  If you switch to CFL or LED bulbs your cooling costs will go down along with your lighting costs. COOL!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Ways to Green Your Summer Travel

Try to eat locally and sustainably. Ditch the chain restaurants and be adventurous. Pack a cooler and stop at roadside fruit and vegetable stands, visit local farmer's markets. CLICK HERE to check out the Eat Well Guide with over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of local, sustainable food.

Bring a stainless steel water bottle. Bottled water is plentiful but pricey and also creates plastic waste. With stainless steel you avoid BPA and it helps you save money.

Keep your car tires properly inflated. Tires that are under-inflated reduce performance so keep them full of air to increase your gas mileage. Also make sure your scheduled maintenance is up-to-date to help the engine run as efficiently as possible.

Patronize local businesses. Use your tourist dollars to support local economies by choosing small businesses over big box chain stores. Summer destinations often count on this income to survive the rest of the year.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Happy Birthday, America!

The best gift you can give our country is to make just one change to your daily routine to help conserve energy. Whether you replace an incandescent bulb with a CFL or LED, flip a switch off when a room is unoccupied, power down your computer monitor at the end of the day or unplug unused electronics; these simple steps DO make a difference, especially in a district our size. Small changes add up to create big savings.

When you save energy, you are stretching our district dollars further and that gives us reason to...
Have a fun, safe and energy efficient 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

The EPA's annual Top Cities list was recently published and shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year. These regions continue to make impressive strides in cutting American energy bills and pollution through energy efficiency. Their efforts contribute to stronger economies, healthier communities, and cleaner air for all of us.

1)            Washington, DC
2)            Los Angeles
3)            New York
4)            San Francisco
5)            Atlanta
6)            Dallas
7)            Chicago
8)            Houston
9)            Boston
10)          Phoenix

To see the complete list of the top 25 cities (including where Minneapolis/St. Paul was ranked) plus the lists of top mid-size cities, top small cities and lots of other information CLICK HERE.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Save Energy with the Touch of a Button!

Most copiers or printer/copier combos have a sleep or Energy Saver mode. See the lit up green button just to the right of the key pad in the picture to the right? It just takes a second or two to hit that button when you finish at the copier or pick up your printing. Or perhaps you're walking by and the machine is lit up and ready, why not just press the energy saver button? Every little bit helps and it really adds up! Thanks for doing your part!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Summer break is a great opportunity to save energy in the district when classrooms are mostly empty but what if you are in an office or building year round, like the ESC staff? Here is what you can do at the end of the day on a daily basis but especially on Fridays and when you leave for an extended amount of time.
  • Turn off your computer monitor and any auxiliary speakers.
  • Power down your printer or copy machine.
  • Turn off any task lighting.
  • Close blinds to keep out the hot sun.
  • Make sure vents are clear of clutter.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

School's Out for Summer!

Just a fun trivia question today in honor of all the students and staff in the Robbinsdale Area School District celebrating the end of the school year...

The Alice Cooper classic "School's Out" was written in 1972 by which singer/songwriter?

A) Curtis Mayfield

B) Ozzy Osbourne

C) Elton John

D) Alice Cooper

Scroll down to check your answer...







Congratulations to the Cooper and Armstrong Classes of 2017!





Congratulations to the Class of 2029,
this year's kindergarten students!





Have a groovy and efficient summer everyone!





... and the correct answer is Alice Cooper
(a bit of a trick question)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

4 Fun Facts about Saving Energy at School

Think saving energy at school is boring? Think again! Here are some fun facts about what happens when you conserve energy in your classrooms, bathrooms, computer labs and across the district!
  • A hot water faucet that leaks one drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month. That’s more than the average person uses in two weeks!
  • Turning off the lights in your classroom for just one hour saves enough energy to keep two pounds of pollutants out of the atmosphere!
  • Replacing six interior incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can keep 566 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere — and save you about $30 — each year. Just think of how many light bulbs are in one school and then multiply that by 19 buildings!
  • Across the country, computer monitors waste about $900 million dollars n electricity per year from being left on while no one is using them.The least efficient schools use three times more energy as the best performers – how does your school measure up?

Robbinsdale students love saving energy!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day

To honor our Veterans, it is our duty and responsibility as Americans to keep our country a sustainable place for our children and the generations to follow. As we head into this holiday weekend, be mindful of your energy use and how you treat the environment. Plant something this weekend!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

A high school teacher recently asked if power strips really do save energy and the short answer is yes, power strips do reduce what is referred to as phantom loads or vampire energy. However, you can do one step better than the average power strip or surge protector.

Now there are smart power strips or eco-strips out on the market. These strips use a motion detector of sorts to monitor and manage energy use. Devices plugged into the controlled outlets are turned on and off based on occupancy per se, or the fact that they are currently using energy. When installed, some power-sensing power strips turn off power to all the accessories unless the main item is turned on. These strips may cost a little more than regular power strips but this would be a case where you spend money to save money.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

"If you watch how nature deals with adversity,
continually renewing itself, you can't help but learn."
~ Bernie Siegel

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

It's time once again to reverse the direction of your ceiling fans as the seasons change. During the fall and winter the blades should rotate in a clockwise direction to push warm air downward. Fans should spin counterclockwise in the spring and summer to cool the room. And remember to not let ceiling fans run in unoccupied areas. Fans cool people and not spaces.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Did you know it takes 17 million barrels of oil each year just to produce all the disposable plastic water bottles used in the United States? Yikes! That's a lot of oil! What's more, only 12% of disposable water bottles are actually recycled. That means 88% of these bottles end up in a landfill or becoming litter.

Utilizing a refillable water bottle helps you save money, energy and the environment. By taking a water bottle with you, you can fill up just about every place you go. So stay hydrated and save energy in the process.
This = a win win for you and the environment! Yay You!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Ronald Reagan once said, "Every day begins with possibilities. It's up to us to fill it with things that move us toward progress and peace."

As Spring unfolds before us ripe with new growth and fresh possibilities, consider adopting an attitude of “every little bit helps.” Even though a single green effort will not solve the world’s environmental problems overnight, there is absolutely no harm in trying to make a small impact by embracing greener habits. What is your “little bit?”


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day is this Saturday April 22nd. This year the campaign theme on earthday.org is Environmental and Climate Literacy. CLICK HERE to learn more about Earth Day, the March for Science planned in Washington, D.C. and lots of other information and activities.

Happy Earth Week!

Image courtesy inhabitat.com

What are you going to do this week to make the earth a better place? CLICK HERE to check out some cool eco-activities posted on inhabitat.com and make it a groovy week!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter!

Wishing Everyone in the
Robbinsdale Area School district and beyond a


Stay Groovy and Energy Efficient Ya'll!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happy Earth Month!

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."
~ Jane Goodall

Flipping a switch won't change the world, however in a district our size, when just a handful of people in each building make a conscious effort to conserve energy, it does make a difference. Every effort, no matter how small, adds up to make a big impact.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Earth Month Activities

Happy Earth Month!

Would you like the Energy Efficiency Coordinator to visit your classroom in April for Earth Month or Earth Day? For the younger elementary students, I can be a guest reader and give an age appropriate presentation on energy efficiency. Here are a couple of the fun books I have to share:



For the older students I have a more detailed presentation including a light meter and a watt meter as great visuals. I also have a fun quiz game to play with the students. My schedule is starting to book up so please contact me via email to set up a visit to your classroom in April. This is my favorite time of year because I get so much classroom time with the exceptional and inquisitive students in our district! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

The legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”  Every staff person plays an important role in making our school district great. Thank you for the contributions you make each and every day.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

As winter finally fades away (we hope) we start to see signs of life return and perhaps turn our thoughts to spring planting and new landscaping projects around the house. While thinking about what to plant this year, consider landscaping for energy efficiency.

Planting trees, shrubs, vines, hedges and ground cover can be a cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing way to reduce your energy consumption. Well-designed landscaping will also protect your home from the sun and can block out excessive noise as well.

One of the most cost-effective ways to reduce cooling costs is to shade windows from the sun. Landscaping can provide that shading, helping you reduce A/C costs and protect your home from harsh weather.

Here are a few benefits to consider:
  • Trees and bushes can block much of the sun’s heat before it hits your windows and walls.
  • Shade trees can significantly reduce surrounding air temps and the temperature in your attic. Trees, shrubs and ground cover can reduce the heat reflected from the ground up to your walls and windows.
  • Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, making them ideal to block the sun in summer while allowing the sun to warm your home in the winter.
  • Shrubs, bushes and vines provide year-round insulation by creating a dead air space next to your home.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

LOOK before you LEAVE...
Despite the chilly weather outside, Spring Break is right around the corner. This is just a friendly reminder to take a quick LOOK around your classroom, office or building area before you LEAVE for anything that can be turned off or powered down. You may not think your efforts matter much but every time you power down, it really adds up with over 1,800 staff throughout our district. You DO make a difference!
Have a fun, safe and energy efficient Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

What solution is said to have the potential to provide 57 percent of the needed carbon cuts by 2030?

A)              Space-based solar systems
B)               Energy efficiency
C)               Carbon capture and storage
D)              Nanotechnology

The International Energy Agency's scenario for stabilizing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at 450 parts per million would get a 57 percent decrease overall from energy efficiency gains.


So let’s continue being as energy efficient as possible to save our planet!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is used to save energy and make better use of daylight. Here are a few interesting notes about the bi-annual changing of our clocks.
  • Long before DST was established in the US, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784. In the essay, he suggested, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead.
  • In the US, “Fast Time” as it was called then, was first introduced in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during WW I. The initiative was sparked by Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh industrialist who had encountered the idea in the UK. Today he is often called the “Father of Daylight Saving."
  • From 1945 to 1966 there were no uniform rules for DST in the US and it caused widespread confusion especially for trains, buses, and the broadcasting industry. As a result, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was established by Congress. It stated that DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from DST by passing a state ordinance.
  • The US Congress extended DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. The trial period showed that DST saved the energy equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day, but DST still proved to be controversial. Many complained that the dark winter mornings endangered the lives of children going to school.
  • After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the DST schedule in the US was revised several times throughout the years. From 1987 to 2006, the country observed DST for about seven months each year. The current schedule was introduced in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month.
  • Daylight Saving Time is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another. In 1996, the European Union (EU) standardized an EU-wide DST schedule, which runs from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. Today in the US, DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.         Source: timeanddate.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Did you know you should try to wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, almost 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water. When you think about how often you do laundry, that's a lot of wasted energy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

"There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."

~ Marshall McLuhan

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Here are the top three things you can do at school, work or home to conserve energy...

When it is bright enough and available, use natural light and turn off lights when a room, office or an area is unoccupied.

Turn off PCs, monitors, printers and photocopiers at the end of the day, don't leave them on standby. A copier left on overnight uses enough energy to make over 1500 copies.

Unplug phone and laptop chargers when not being used. 95% of energy used by phone chargers is wasted.

Thanks for doing your part and being energy smart!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Hearts Day!



Even though the color of the day is red,
keep thinking GREEN and have a
Happy and Energy Efficient Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

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.
Click here to check it out!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

A curious staff member recently submitted the following question, “Does single ply toilet paper really save money?  I know it is cheaper to buy, but is it really cheaper in the end (no pun intended)?  Do people end up using more single ply toilet paper than double – perhaps balancing out the total cost?”

Thank you to a certain teacher for submitting this question, you will be receiving a fabulous prize. I am not referring to this teacher by name because I didn't want her to get any crap (pun intended) from her colleagues.

After extensive research and finding out way more than necessary on the subject, there really is not a definitive answer. It seems toilet tissue has been debated on many levels for years. There are so many variables beyond the number of layers including the width and length of the roll, the size of the individual sections, coarseness, paper pulp source, embossing (quilting) additives (lotion or oil) rate of disintegration and much more. It all comes down to personal preference, perception and where you want to pinch your pennies.

How’s that for a non-answer??? If anyone has more information to share on this subject, please email the EEC and if your submission is appropriate and print worthy, you too will receive a fabulous prize.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

What is the most cost-effective method for cooking in the kitchen?

   Convection
         Conventional
               Microwave
                     Stove Top Burner

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy calls the microwave the most efficient method for cooking. Microwaves use a lot of energy when operating, but thanks to reduced cooking times, using a microwave oven will use two-thirds as much energy as a conventional oven. That’s because microwaves’ heat waves focus on what’s in the container, and don’t waste energy on heating the air or container around it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Last year more than 100 million Americans gathered around big-screen televisions to watch the Super Bowl. What do you think happened to home electricity usage during the Big Game?


Home electricity usage went up.
OR
Home electricity usage went down.


GE estimated the electricity used by TVs showing the Super Bowl was enough to power all the homes in Dallas, Green Bay and Pittsburgh for 10 hours. That’s a lot of electricity! However, subsequent analysis showed that home electricity usage actually decreased during the game, three times more than the amount of energy consumed by all the TVs of people watching it. That’s because many households don't use other appliances during the game and because many people gather together to watch at other people’s homes or sports bars.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Add a Layer!



If you're feeling chilly, before you reach to turn up the thermostat a degree or two or five, try adding a sweater or sweatshirt first. Even a degree or two does make a difference so try bumping your thermostat down and dress for the temperature.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Using recycled aluminum scrap to make aluminum cans uses how much less energy than making new aluminum cans from scratch?

25%

48%

79%

95%

Scroll down to check your answer...















According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, using recycled aluminum to make cans uses 95 percent less energy than making new ones from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.  Recycling can make a difference with regard to inputs for other manufacturing processes, as well. Making a ton of paper from recycled paper, for instance, saves up to 17 trees and uses 50 percent less water.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Geothermal energy is used to heat 85% of the homes in which country?

A) Japan                          B) Iceland


C) Turkey                        D) Denmark

Scroll down to check your answer...





























The correct answer is Iceland.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Today's Energy Insight

Visualizing Electricity

The following is an excerpt from a recent article on cnn.com entitled
Power Cord Lights Up as Electricity Flows

<<<  Here's one of electricity's dirty little secrets: You can't see it moving, so it's hard to know when you're wasting a bunch of it. Think about the "vampire electronics" in your kitchen -- all of those blenders, coffee pots, toasters and toaster ovens that are sucking down power simply because they're plugged into an outlet. These electronics gobble an estimated 5% to 10% of all the electricity used in U.S. homes, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
But what if you could see your money going down the drain? Would visualizing power use help you save energy? That's one possible effect of a new smartphone charger from Dexim. When electricity is flowing down the charger's cord, blue lights travel down the cord, too, letting users see the energy that's needed to charge their smartphones. The lights zip down the cord more quickly when the phone is almost out of juice, since more electricity is needed. Patrick Tarpey, a spokesman for the company, said this "electro-luminescent wire" is intended as a visual reminder for phone users so that they can see from across the room whether their phone is almost charged. >>>

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

As we welcome in 2017, how about making a resolution to save some energy this year? It's easy if you try; just flip a switch, adjust the thermostat by a few degrees, change some light bulbs, make a conscious effort to be more efficient with your energy use this year. Thanks, everyone, for doing your part. It all adds up both at home and in our schools.
Together we are making a huge difference!
Thank YOU!!!
Wishing you a groovy and efficient New Year!