Question

How can the students in my middle school class start going green?

Asked by taslima shaw
Irving, TX

hello I am going to be teaching a middle school class about going green and how they can make changes in their homes that are easy and cost effective ways they can go green. in addition, the school is extending their building and so it would be great for them to get ideas about how they can propose the building be made in a green way

Answer

Hello Taslima,

As an educator myself and having taught a Green Design Studio at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield Michigan I feel I have the answer you are looking for.

For the students at home the following suggestions are the most common and easiest to follow.

  1. Change out incandescent lights to compact fluorescent or LED.
  2. Turn off lights in rooms which are not occupied.
  3. Recycle paper, glass and plastics regularly.
  4. Set the thermostat on the A/C or furnace 3 degrees warmer in summer or colder in winter when no one is home or during the evening hours.
  5. Use natural cooling by opening windows across from each other to create cross ventilation.
  6. Caulk and seal leaks around windows, doors, foundation walls.
  7. Install a rain barrel to collect water for plants in and around the home.
  8. Compost your organic waste for fertilizer.
  9. Plant a vegetable garden and grow your own fresh produce.
  10. Watch less TV and video games and read a book or play outside.

As for the new building, this is a bit of a challenge but some of the same methods for the house do apply.

  1. Install new T5 fluorescent fixtures and LED fixtures.
  2. Install motion and occupancy sensors to automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the room.
  3. Allow each room to have its own thermostat so it can be properly adjusted when no one is occupying the room.
  4. Look at designing the building around the premise of ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) so that at every turn the students are reminded of the technology and systems.
  5. Install red and green lights which are interconnected to the power supply coming into the building. If the building is using more energy than allowed by the current energy standards, the red light is on telling the students that the building is sick. If the green light is on then the students are doing their part in keeping energy consumption down.
  6. Proper day lighting and natural ventilation.
  7. Install a cistern for site irrigation.
  8. Install an urban garden from which the students learn about growing their own produce and allow the produce to be used for school lunches.
  9. Car pool/van pool signup sheets.
  10. High performance insulation

The list can go on into greater detail, however, if you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact my office at 248. 559. 1000.

Check also with your local energy supplier, most have great school programs and literature for your use.

Good luck with the lesson.

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