From the community

Subpanel Slam results show students, schools scoring big in energy savings

Posted March 11, 2013, at 11:41 a.m.

The results of the Energy for ME Subpanel Slam competition are in, and seven of Maine’s island and coastal schools scored big, saving $1,487 in electricity costs for nearly 11,000 kilowatt hours of power and an average reduction of 12 percent in electricity used for the month of February — the equivalent of almost one-half ton of COsaved from release into the atmosphere and nearly 1,000 trees planted, according to the Island Institute.

A component of the Island Institute’s Energy for ME energy-education program, this competition encouraged students to save energy in their schools by giving away $2,000 “eBucks” that the schools could redeem to make efficiency upgrades, as well as a trophy to the overall champion with the greatest energy reduction.

Students at Camden Hills Regional High School, Washington Academy,  Jonesport-Beals High School, Searsport District Middle School,  Islesboro Central School, North Haven Community School, Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Pemetic Middle School, Vinalhaven School  and Elm Street School in East Machias all worked with their facility managers to identify one subpanel (a section of the school’s electrical system) currently being monitored by an eMonitor that would have the greatest potential for energy savings.

The challenge was to achieve a reduction in kilowatt-hours for the month of February through behavior-change campaigns and adjustments to equipment and appliances.  Each school could win a percentage of the $2,000 eBucks up for grabs, based on the electricity saved on their selected subpanel.

The Energy for ME team announced the Subpanel Slam results at its Energy Quest webinar on Tuesday, March 5. Although the bragging rights went to Camden Hills Regional High School, all of the students and teachers who participated were pleased with their own results.

“We picked the emergency panel because that allowed us to get every classroom in the school involved,” said Margo Murphy, a teacher at Camden Hills, in an Island Institute press release. “We taped some of the light switches down that weren’t being used around the school and, during the holiday, we figured out what other parts of the emergency panel weren’t critical to the system, and turned those off, too.”

The students were congratulated by Maine Red Claws player and energy entrepreneur DaJuan Summers, who told the students, “I’m a huge fan of energy conservation and renewable energy and I’m really impressed with the work that these students do in their schools and communities.”

Energy for ME is a multi-year energy education project funded through a competitive grant provided by the National Science Foundation.  For more information about the 2013 Subpanel Slam, or any other aspect of the Energy for ME project, please visit www.islandinstitute.org/energyforme or contact Brooks Winner, community energy associate at the Island Institute, at bwinner@islandinstitute.org or 207-594-9209 x148.

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