on Jun 09, 2016
New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) announced it will again bring the PowerSave Schools (PowerSave) program to 22 area schools for the 2016–17 academic year. Created by the Alliance to Save Energy (Alliance), the program incorporates energy-efficiency as part of the curricula and educates students by way of hands-on projects designed to help schools save energy and money through changes in behavior, operations and maintenance procedures. Through PowerSave, participating schools reduce consumption an average of 5 to 15 percent annually.
To maximize the program’s effectiveness, NJNG is offering this opportunity to schools within its service territory already registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools. NJNG is a founding partner of Sustainable Jersey for Schools — a free and voluntary initiative that helps schools go green, conserve resources and contribute to a better future, while earning points toward certification as a Sustainable Jersey school.
“This unique collaboration among NJNG, Sustainable Jersey for Schools and the Alliance to Save Energy brings together a passionate team of enthusiastic and conscientious students working with teachers and school staff to identify opportunities to change the way they use energy,” said Anne-Marie Peracchio, director of conservation and energy policy at New Jersey Natural Gas. The company will fund all direct program costs while Sustainable Jersey for Schools will facilitate the application process and provide guidance in the certification process.
To ensure a successful program outcome, the Alliance will assign participating schools a local project leader to provide support and help establish and guide students and teachers, and implement energy-efficiency projects. In addition, they each will benefit from training workshops and a Road Map Guide, among other resources. “We are excited to continue our relationship with New Jersey Natural Gas and share in their commitment to create a more sustainable environment,” noted Scott Thach, vice president of education for the Alliance to Save Energy.
NJNG first brought the PowerSave program to area schools at the beginning of the current academic year. Today’s announcement follows the program’s success in the schools currently enrolled; as a result, NJNG will renew its commitment to fund participating schools as well as sponsor an additional nine schools. “My students have taken ownership of the PowerSave Schools program. The training and materials provided got their interest and they feel empowered to be part of our energy savings, and mentor local elementary school students to do the same,” said Gary Paxton, seventh grade math and science teacher and PowerSave team leader at Lake Riviera School in Brick Township.
For the 2016-17 academic year, the Alliance will work directly with approximately 660 students in the participating schools for one year, integrating science, technology, engineering and math principles to promote energy literacy through lesson plans, activities and competitions. Students will use the school building as a learning lab to solve real-world problems, while gaining the skills needed to conduct an energy audit, analyze data, present results, share recommendations and train and educate their peers, school staff and community members about important energy-efficiency and environmental issues.
The program closely aligns with the mission of Sustainable Jersey for Schools to energize the sustainability efforts of New Jersey public schools through training, grants and incentives that help improve efficiency, cut waste and free up money for the classroom. “PowerSave is a natural extension of the schools’ commitment to sustainability and balances their efforts in meeting their energy-efficiency and conservation goals,” added Donna Drewes, co-director of Sustainable Jersey. PowerSave components parallel action items under Sustainable Jersey for Schools and provide the opportunity for schools to earn more than 50 points toward certification.
Schools registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools are encouraged to submit an application by the July 18, 2016 deadline, with anticipated rollout of the program across selected participating schools in September 2016. The program will continue throughout the school year. Interested schools can contact Vera Figueiredo, local project leader for PowerSave Schools, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-247-3840 for details. To complete the application online, go to the Grants & Resources tab at sustainablejerseyschools.com and select Resource Opportunities, then Power Save Schools on the right navigation bar.