Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sleepy Eye Yes! team saves energy by replacing light bulbs

Students at Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s School’s are fueling the winds of change.
This school year is the first year the YES! (Youth Energy Summit) Team was formed by environmental science teachers Deb Reinarts and Mary Beth Botz.
Already they are making great strides.
Their most recent project was replacing old light bulbs in several apartment complexs around the Sleepy Eye area with energy efficient CFL light bulbs.
While this may not seem like a major impact, Sleepy Eye Public Works Director, Bob Elston, told the group that with their work the team reduced 46 kilowatt hour per year, per light bulb.
To put it in perspective Bob told the team gathered that each home in Sleepy Eye uses approximately 8,928 kilowatt hours of energy per year. From replacing the light bulbs in three apartment complexes, the group saved enough energy to power four homes in Sleepy Eye for one year.
“You haven’t taken functionality away and you didn’t force a change in human behavior,” Bob said.
He commended the group for their efforts saying that he couldn’t do by himself what this group accomplished.
“You guys have a bigger effect on your households than I could have,” he added.
Bob went on to explain to the group the energy changes that the government has mandated in the coming years.
For example, the power plant is mandated to reduce non-renewable energy use by 1.5 percent per year. The next mandate, Bob explained, is for the community of Sleepy Eye to be using 17 percent of energy in renewable resources. By the year 2025, a mandate says that 25 percent of energy used should be from renewable resources.
He explained that currently Sleepy Eye uses 13 percent of renewable energy in the form of wind energy. Solar and wind energy are the two most popular forms renewable energy resources, he said.
The Sleepy Eye YES! Team is a group of students that will attempt to educate and work on environmental issues both at their schools and in the community.
Students from both of the schools’ environmental science classes are finding ways to make Sleepy Eye more environmentally friendly.
YES! empowers students to partner with their community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects.
Projects the YES! Team have worked on this year included a “Black out Day,” where as much energy as possible was conserved during a specific school day,  a light bulb exchange where students collected unusable Christmas lights, and a Biggest Loser locker clean out where items collected were recycled.
Source: Sleepy Eye News

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