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Energy Efficiency Taught to Kids Nationwide

Linda Hardesty

AM Conservation Group CEOThe Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has created the Keystone Energy Education Program (KEEP) to teach students and teachers at Pennsylvania schools how to track energy efficiency.

There will be 12-day workshops held throughout the state during the 2013-2014 school year, beginning in early October. Six school teams will attend each workshop, resulting in 72 schools participating.

Todd Recknagel, CEO of AM Conservation Group (pictured), says that energy education programs for school children are pervasive throughout the United States, many of them facilitated through utilities.

AM Conservation Group works with more than 2,000 different utilities to provide energy education programs. Recknagel says the utilities are often mandated to reduce energy usage through efficiency measures and to show measurable results. AM Conservation Group teaches kids things they may not know, such as the connection between saving water and saving energy.

“It takes so much energy, to refine, pump and heat water,” says Recknagel. “Five minutes of warm water running from the tap is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb running for 14 hours.”

The KEEP program in Pennsylvania is a series of free workshops geared to middle school teams, which include three teachers of grades 5, 6 or 7, an administrator and a building maintenance manager. Workshop participants will learn about energy issues, including fundamentals and impacts, electricity generation, transportation fuels, careers, energy conservation, student teams and school building energy benchmarking through presentations, tours and hands-on activities. The KEEP program aims to educate participants while also enabling the school district to operate its buildings more economically.

Each team will have the opportunity to integrate high level, standards-based energy education into their formal curriculum. This could include lesson plans, curricular modules and ongoing benchmarking through EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, resulting in energy efficiency assessments.

The workshops are based on Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards and Assessment Anchors for Environment and Ecology, Science and Technology and Engineering Education. Participating teachers will receive background information, standards-based curricular materials and energy conservation material kits.



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