Energy blog The next task in our Comenius Project – HUGES Nowadays, we use energy in lots of different activities. Although scientific andtechnological advance have allowed a more efficient production, distribution and use ofenergy, most countries have increased the amount of energy they are globally using. We are also aware of the fact that the kind of energy we use also affects theenvironment in general. Environmental problems such as global warming or climatechanges must be quickly solved. In the near future we will have to reduce our dependency on non-renewableenergies the sources of which will soon come to an end. So reducing the global amount of energy we are now using is essential and itshould be the first step to build a sustainable world as far as energy is concerned. Just have a look at the following numbers and think about them… Energy BASQUE COUNTRY – 3280 consumption per HUNGARY - 2542 year PORTUGAL - 2210 (kg of oil per capita) REUNION ISLAND - 1051 SWEDEN – 5414 However, when we think about saving energy we should have in mind that all theobjects and products we use every day are or were related to some kind of energyconsumption. Energy is always used when producing something, when carrying it to adifferent place, when we are using it until it disappears. Using energy in a sustainableway necessarily implies being aware of all that.Our task: School environment In terms of energy, schools represent around 25% of the globalamount of energy consumption. We usually spend a long time at schoolbut we rarely think about it as a place where we spend a lot of energyand that it costs a lot of money. So now our task is to do some research, to collect someinformation, to identify some problems and to find some solutions inorder to improve the situation at our schools.Let’s start working step by step!
General research Let’s try to find out how we use the following goods and products. Are we worried about saving them or are we wasting them? Form small groups of work and write a short report about the situation of the indicated products in your school by trying to get the answers to the questions below. FoodDid you know Does your school have a canteen and a cafeteria? Do most that… students have their meals there? Is there much food waste? What happens to it? Is there any kind of food recycling or a composting system? producing Is most food natural or industrial food? Is there any type of meatrequires 14.7 concern related to food choices at your school? more energy Do people at your school try to choose environmentally friendly than packages? producing Do you recycle those packages? vegetables? Are the products you eat mostly from local places and markets or do they come from distant places that require some kind of long transportation? Electricity What are the usual levels of electricity consumption at your Did you know school? that… Does your school have a good natural lighting system or is artificial illumination usually necessary? How long are light the amount of energy spent bulbs turned on during the day, do you have an idea? by electrical Do people usually leave the lights on when there is nobody appliances in in the room? standby mode What kind of light bulbs are used at your school? represents Are there automatic lighting systems that automatically 8% of the global turn on or off when there are people coming? amount of Are there many electrical devices (computers, TV sets, video electricity projectors, interactive boards, etc) at your school? Are they consumption completely turned off when they are not being used or are in a they in standby mode? household?
Are the household gadgets used at school new or old? Are they energy efficient? Paper Did you know How much paper is used by printers and photocopy machines that… in your school? Are there specific places to recycle paper? Where? Do teachers for each ton of paper that and students regularly use them? we recycle , Are photocopies made on both sides of a sheet of paper? we avoid Do you use recycled paper? cutting down Are people wasting paper in the toilets, in the canteen or in the 14 trees, cafeteria? Can some of those products be replaced by reusable wasting 50000 liters objects? of water and Can you exchange information and documents through the two barrels of Internet (mail, Moodle, wiki) and this way reduce the amount oil ? of paper you are using? Do you usually use it this way? Heating /cooling systemsDid you know Do you need any kind of heating or cooling system at your school? that… What type of heating system is used? What source of energy does it require? Are there any renewable energy systems at your school? How energy efficient are those systems?about 60% of Is energy consumption related to those systems very high? What’s the energy coming from the average temperature in the classroom when the heating system heating is being used? systems is Do people usually close the windows and the doors to avoid losing wasted? energy? Does the school building have a good insulation system? Are there double paned windows? Containers – glass, plastic and metal Did you know that… Do you have much waste related to glass containers and other the energy packages at school? you can save Are there specific places to recycle those packages? How many by recycling a are they? Are they enough and in the correct places? juice can is enough to Do students usually separate that waste by recycling the have a TV set containers or do they put them in the common bin? on for three hours?
Do people at school try to reduce the number of containers they use by choosing bigger containers or reusing them? Which products do you choose the most? Fresh products or packed products? Share your research Through the wiki share your results with the other countries participating in the project. Discuss your points of view and present strategies and practical suggestions to make your schools more environmentally friendlyand to save energy. Investigate problems and find solutions Now each school should concentrate on a specific product according to the list below. - Basque country – food; - Hungary – electricity; - Portugal – paper; - Reunion Island –waste (bottles and cans); - Sweden – heating. At this level it is very important to do a deeper research about the real situationin each school. Go through the previous questions again, analyse your results, identify theproblems and get a real diagnostic of energy consumption at your school related to eachof the products above. Talk to the headmaster/mistress, teachers, helpers, otherstudents, etc and try to get as much information as possible about consumption levels,systems and procedures. After identifying the problems, plan some practical solutions to them. Organizegroups of work, plan your action and share activities. Don’t forget to get your schoolinvolved into this plan. If you need, look for some help through local institutions. Ready for action Choose a week to carry out your plan. During that week pay attention to people’s reactions, try to figure out if they agree with the plan and take notes about any possible problems or difficulties. You may take some photos of some of those activities. Evaluation A week later, it’s time to evaluate the results and to share your conclusions. What results have you achieved? What was the most difficult? How did the school community react? What have you learnt?
Create a document (powerpoint presentation, etc) to share all the results andconclusions related to this energy adventure.Let’s change the colours of our schools … …Let’s build a green energy school!January, 2012