Mount Horeb High School and Mauston High School students earned cash for their schools because of their effective energy efficiency efforts. Sponsored by FOCUS ON ENERGY® and the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP), eight schools engaged in Renew Our Schools this fall. Facilitated by Resource Central, this transformative five-week initiative encourages students and staff to adopt behavioral changes to enhance energy efficiency within their school buildings.
Mauston High School secured victory in Wisconsin Cohort 1, and Mount Horeb High School took first in Wisconsin Cohort 2. Each has earned $2,500 dedicated to future energy efficiency projects. Mount Horeb and Mauston High School demonstrated exceptional commitment by completing every available activity in the program. As an additional accomplishment, these schools received an extra $100 for meeting the challenge of dedicating an entire school day to achieving a 3% reduction in energy consumption.
At Mauston High School, two environmental science classes integrated the challenge into their science curriculum. Overcoming the initial hurdle of gaining teacher support for the challenge proved pivotal for the students. Students engaged in staff meetings to spread awareness and showcased the initiative during their homecoming assembly.
Additionally, students had the unique opportunity to explore the New Lisbon Solar Array, a solar field located approximately 10 minutes from the school. This experience provided students with an understanding of how solar energy works and is converted into electricity. This recently installed array is poised to go online soon.
“The Renew Our Schools Challenge has played a pivotal role in building awareness to decrease energy consumption and foster a sense of pride in our school,” remarked Luke Heath, Science Teacher at Mauston High School.
As part of their energy policy developed during the competition, the students proposed to the district a program in collaboration with the IT department to shut down computers at 5 PM during the week and on weekends. They also implemented automatic timers throughout the building and utilized smart power strips to enhance energy efficiency.
A student from the class offered advice to other schools interested in undertaking this challenge: "Involve your entire school right from the beginning of the competition. Concentrating on the challenge a little bit each day will go a long way toward success over the five weeks."
Mount Horeb High School's AP Environmental Science Club took the initiative to lead the Renew Our Schools Challenge. Comprising 10 to 12 dedicated juniors and seniors, the Club convenes weekly during homeroom hours.
The students showcased their commitment to the challenge by delivering engaging presentations at staff meetings and morning announcements. To deepen their understanding, they immersed themselves in the intricacies of the HVAC equipment by embarking on a comprehensive tour of the school's boiler room.
The pinnacle of their success: capturing the district office's and administration's attention. Notably, their efforts reverberated beyond the school grounds, prompting recognition from the local Village Board. This attention has spurred a collective focus on enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability within the community.
“As a district, we are so impressed by The Energy Team! for their accomplishment. Earning the ‘FA23 Wisconsin Winner’ title further proves their dedication to Mount Horeb Area School District’s future in sustainability. Our students and staff understand the importance of planning for a sustainable future. Even tasks such as remembering to turn off the lights impact our energy consumption and sustainability,” said Dr. Salerno, Superintendent of Mount Horeb Areas School District.
The students found immense satisfaction in the challenge, expressing a strong desire to persist in their efforts and build upon the success they have achieved. Their dedication secured a triumph in the Renew Our Schools Challenge and ignited a broader commitment to environmental consciousness within the school district and local governance.
Other notable participants in the Fall 2023 challenge included:
In addition, a special alumni competition occurred involving schools actively participating in previous Renew Our School challenges. The following institutions enthusiastically took part in this unique competition:
Although many electricity costs may be beyond your control, Renew Our Schools has demonstrated that minor adjustments can yield significant impact. The Fall 2023 Challenge and the alumni schools successfully lowered their kWh usage by 3.63% throughout the five-week challenge by adopting behavioral changes and implementing energy-saving actions.
Wisconsin schools are preparing for the Spring 2024 challenge. Explore further details about the challenge and upcoming competition dates.