Engineering our Future
Join millions of students nationwide during the Green Energy Challenge, an academic year long program. Following is a list of energy related activities that your class or school can participate in. All offer tremendous hands-on educational opportunities for your students.
Don't forget! By participating in these activities you're eligible to enter the Green in Action contest to win great prizes from GEF!
Get Started With These Ideas:
- Schedule a lights out day at school!
- Turn off lights and fans when classrooms are empty
- Turn off computers and monitors when not in use
- Keep doors and windows closed when heating or air conditioning is running
- Don't block air conditioning or heating vents
- Tell someone if there is a leak in taps or toilets
- Kick off this series of activities by battling energy vampires in your schools and homes! To learn more about energy vampires and how to banish them, see this GEF Activity.
- Take the Green Classroom Pledge and win prizes!
- Request a utility bill for your classroom, your school, or both. Utility bills can be found online. This way you can discover how much energy you save by making alterations after each audit you complete. If possible, obtain all of the following:
- Electric bills
- Heating and cooling fuel bills
- Water bills
- Classroom Lighting Audit – determine the wattage of each bulb and use the accompanying algorithm. Ask: Which light bulbs are not needed? How can natural light be used in a better way? How can we cut down on our classroom lighting use?
- Create an Energy Board Game!
- Hallway Lighting Audit - determine the cost of lighting the hallways in your schools Ask: How can use of both natural and artificial light be maximized? Winter is the perfect time to curl up in a cozy spot with a great book.
- Peruse GEF’s book list for ideas and send us your own environmental reading recommendations!
- Play a fun game of Energy Pictionary to ring in the New Year!
- Brainstorm a series of steps to weatherize your classroom (and yourselves)! A few ideas:
- Put up insulating window coverings
- Make draft guards for doors
- Dress warmly
- Heating and Cooling Audit – identify areas in the school where conservation of heating and cooling is possible Ask: How can the school help to lower the need for heating and cooling? How can students personally help to lower the need for heating and cooling (i.e. dressing warmly)?
- Learn about factors that lead to increased sunlight absorption in this GEF Activity. What is the real-life relevance of the exercise?
- Kitchen Audit - identify energy use in the kitchen of your school Ask: What appliances can be used less frequently? Which, if any, old appliances should be replaced? What is the quality of the refrigerator/freezer, and how does that affect energy use?
- Research air quality. Which plants help purify indoor air? See this GEF lesson for information on the Benefits of Indoor Plants.
- Computer Lab Energy Audit – look at the energy used by the computers at your school Ask: When can computers be on sleep mode, or off completely?
- Be a recycling champion!
- Make a notebook out of loose blank papers lying around your home or classroom
- Place a reminder note by the trashcan listing all of the items that can be recycled instead of thrown out
- Also see this page for posters with recycling tips
- Celebrate the arrival of Spring with some homemade Sweet Solar Tea!
- Measuring Water Flow Rates – determine the rate of flow from your faucets and showerhead. Ask: what kinds of equipment can be installed in sinks and showerheads to conserve water in a home or building with a high flow-rate?
- Research and draw plants that are native to your area. Describe why it is important to use native plants in landscaping.
- Parking lot Audit - look at the types and numbers of light bulbs used in the parking lot and outside areas of the school Ask: How can both natural and artificial light be maximized? Which lights are unnecessary?
- Now What Can We Do? – After completing several audits, you’ve probably thought about ways to improve the way that energy and water are used in buildings. Read GEF’s list of ideas and add your own. List them on a poster in your classroom as reminders!
- Final Analysis - At this point you should have completed a few, if not all, of the GEF Green Energy Challenge school audits. Hopefully you have come up with several ways to save energy and/or water in the process. In fact, if you have implemented suggested changes, take a closer look at how they can add up to really big savings! Now is the time to see how much money you saved in the process.