Boston Public Schools hosted their 2nd Annual Energy Conservation Challenge to increase awareness about building energy usage, realize utility savings and provide hands-on STEM learning opportunities for students.

Energy Education, Engagement and Action at BPS

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Between December 2015 and February 2016, the 2nd Annual Energy Conservation Challenge program incentivized students and staff to conserve energy by switching off lights, unplugging appliances, keeping windows closed, and making conscientious choices when it comes to energy usage. Through building energy audits, grassroots educational campaigns and friendly competition, the eighteen participating schools helped save BPS over $33,000!

Congratulations to Adams Elementary and Madison Park & John D. O’Bryant High Schools for achieving the greatest reductions in electricity usage compared against their baseline. In return they will receive tickets to the Red Sox game today --  one day before Earth Day -- and over $10,000 from BPS Facilities Management to use for building improvement projects!

Here's more about what the winning schools did to come out on top:

Adams Elementary (East Boston, K1-5)

At the Adams, staff and students followed the basics with constant but gentle reminders to turn lights off, close windows tight and keep things away from vents, resulting in an 8.3% reduction in electricity usage! Steve Venizelos, PE teacher and Sustainability Champion, placed energy saving tips posters in strategic places where everyone could see them (like right on top of copier).

Madison Park Technical Vocational High (Roxbury 9-12) & John D. O’Bryant School (Roxbury, 7-12)

The O'Bryant held two Power Down Friday events before winter and February break. Students and Sustainability Champion, Annalise Kontras, went to classrooms and offices to help unplug appliances, turn off computers, printers and lights, and close windows.

Madison Park leveraged their student’s technical expertise to identify energy conservation measures. With leadership support from Sustainability Champions Perino Watson and Matt Zajac, they also launched a grassroots campaign to educate peers on the benefits of unplugging electronics and turning off unnecessary lighting through morning and afternoon announcements.

Small Changes, Big Impacts

BPS spends around $20 million dollars a year on gas, electricity and water utilities - money that could be put toward educational resources such as computers and teacher salaries. The good news is that for two years in a row, the Energy Conservation Challenge has proven that BPS can realize significant savings through no-cost behavior changes made by students, staff and partners who use our school buildings every day.

A big thank you to all the students and staff who participated in this year's challenge!

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