NYSERDA Recognizes 20 Creative Energy Efficiency Projects that Encourage Student Learning about Sustainability

$750 Awards for Hands-On Education Across New York State

January 24, 2012

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has recognized 20 energy efficiency projects developed by K-12 educators across the state for their potential to increase students’ knowledge about energy efficiency and sustainability at home.

Projects include measuring energy consumed by household appliances before and after energy conservation improvements, installation of window insulation kits and energy-efficient lighting in the homes of senior citizens, and production of a TV commercial promoting an alternative energy system. Teachers will receive up to $750 to help implement the projects, which involve learning in various subject areas across the curriculum.

“Creative, hands-on projects are a wonderful way for students of all ages to learn about energy efficiency and sustainability while incorporating the lessons into their daily lives,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. “Congratulations to these educators for developing engaging projects to prepare the next generation to be stewards of our energy future and our environment.” 

Award winners are from the following communities: (See descriptions of individual projects at end of press release.)

  • Western New York: Tonawanda, Cheektowaga,
  • Syracuse/Central NY: Auburn, McGraw, Cooperstown, Marathon
  • Mohawk Valley: Cooperstown
  • Finger Lakes: Rochester, Pavilion
  • Capital Region: Albany, Troy, Latham, Lake George
  • New York City: Queens Village, Brooklyn, Woodside, East Elmhurst
  • Binghamton/Southern Tier: Binghamton, Watkins Glen, Addison
  • North Country: Chateaugay

Awards were made to K-12 educators based on creativity in discussing energy efficiency at home and the extent to which projects help students take a leadership role in both school and community efforts. Extra points were awarded to schools with greater than 50 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch and for projects adopting a multidisciplinary approach involving two or more subject areas.

Funds can be used to purchase supplies or equipment for use in hands-on activities related to energy efficiency or for community education events.

Awards were available for educators at schools located in communities served by one of New York’s investor-owned utilities: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation; Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc.; National Grid; New York State Electric & Gas Corporation; Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation; and Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc.

Descriptions of 2011-12 Energy Efficiency at Home Projects receiving awards:

Western New York

Tonawanda (Erie County): “Dreaming of a ‘Green’ Christmas.” The St.Amelia’s Green Knights club will design an energy-efficient outdoor holiday display at the school and will educate their peers on energy usage and conservation.  Students will participate in their own decoration projects in their classrooms, which will be presented to their families and the 12,000 parishioners of St. Amelia’s Church. Teacher: Angela Lukas

Cheektowaga (Erie County):” Going Off Grid.” Erie 1 BOCES and Alden High Schools’ Environmental Science instructors will team up to show high school students the benefits of wind and solar power through a scale model village, which they will construct themselves. Students will measure the amount of electricity produced by the village and analyze the impact on the environment and the cost efficiency. Teacher: Garth Merlino

Syracuse/Central New York

Auburn (Cayuga County): “Sealing for Savings - A Green Savings During White Winters.” The 11th and 12th graders at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES will help reduce energy use and increase fuel savings for senior citizens within the community by installing indoor window insulation kits. Teacher: Ray Rutkowski

McGraw (Cortland County): “McGraw Students for the Environment:  Saving the Planet One Bulb at a Time.” Students will develop educational materials about energy conservation. They will also purchase light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs that they will install in the homes of senior citizens throughout the community. Teacher: Nicole Lener

Marathon (Cortland County): “Energy Saving Stations.” The 6th grade class of William Appleby Elementary will educate their fellow students and the faculty through energy-efficient, hands-on stations. Subjects include Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) versus incandescent lights, recycling, composting, aquaponics and pollution. This material will also be presented at the Science Fair night in order to educate the community.  Teacher: Julie Hester

Mohawk Valley

Cooperstown (Otsego County): “Coop Kids Invent an Energy Smart Future.”The 6th through 8th graders at Cooperstown Middle School will become energy entrepreneurs in a six-week program where they will develop a business plan and produce and market an innovative energy product of their own design.  They will team up with local businesses to sell their finished product to the public. Teacher: Marcy Birch

Finger Lakes

Pavilion (Genesee County): “Comparing Household Electrical Energy Consumption Before and After Taking Energy Conservation Measures.” Students will make direct measurements of the electrical energy consumed by household appliances before and after energy conservation improvements in the home. They will also improve a battery-based photovoltaic (solar electric) system already located at the school. Teacher: Doug Hollinger

Rochester (Monroe County): “A New Generation.” Using materials such as energy-monitoring software, watt meters and infrared thermometers, students at Greece Central School District will gain an understanding of how energy is generated and how much it costs. This will encompass the entire K-12 student population, with older students teaching younger ones about energy usage and conservation. Students will develop corrective measures to reduce energy consumption.  Teacher: Andrew Bucci

Capital Region

Troy (Rensselaer County): “Sunny Side Up.” La Salle Institute’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science class will design, build and test three types of solar heaters that will be used throughout the school to reduce energy costs. They will share the data they collect with the community. Teacher: Daniel Maloney

Albany (Albany County): “Decreasing Electrical Usage at Home.” At Hackett Middle School, the electricity usage of common household items will be assessed, showing students how much energy can be saved by turning items off when they are not in use.  Teacher: Linda Carey

Latham (Albany County): “Know Your Phantom Footprint.” Students at Shaker High School will use watt meters and watt probes to measure energy consumption of various household electronics when they are not in use. The students will present this information on a website to educate the public about ways they can decrease their phantom footprint. Teacher: James Rodewald

Lake George (Warren County): “Green Energy on the Green Screen.” 8th and 10th grade students from Lake George Central will select alternative energy systems and create TV commercials to inform others about the merits of the chosen system. These commercials will be shared throughout the Lake George community on the school’s website and cable network channels. Teacher: Phil Gengel

New York City

Brooklyn (Kings County): “Reduce Our Use!” Students at PS154 will focus on how small changes in energy use can make a huge difference. They will look at how much energy can be saved by turning off electronics, such as computer monitors, when they are not in use. Results will be shared with the school and local community. Teacher: Marnie Hanson

Queens Village (Queens County): “Energy Efficiency Group: The Home-School Connection.” PS 18Q students in the Energy Efficiency Enrichment Group will explore the use of the watt meters, programmable thermostats, CFLs and faucet aerators at school and at home. They will share energy efficiency strategies with the school community at a Science Family Fun Night and during a student assembly. Teacher: Alison Wolin

Woodside (Queens County): “Conserve Energy! Go Solar!” Seventh-day Adventist Church School of Jackson Heights will provide students and their families the opportunity to analyze their energy consumption with portable watt meters. In addition, they will educate students on how to conserve energy and will examine alternative energy sources. Teacher: Reymelinda Villaruel

East Elmhurst (Queens County): “Going Green in Queens: Reducing Our Carbon Footprint.” Fifth through eighth grade students at Louis Armstrong Middle School (227Q) will investigate their energy consumption and create pamphlets with ideas and suggestions for saving energy. Paying particular attention to phantom electricity, they will educate their families and local businesses about power usage that occurs even when electrical appliances are shut off or in standby mode. Using mobile watt meters, they will then examine electrical usage before and after pamphlet distribution to determine changes in energy consumption. Teachers: Nathan Wu and Joshua Blum

Binghamton/Southern Tier

Binghamton (Broome County):“One Sun.” The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier’s Kids Club After School Program for K – 5th  graders will study energy conservation and renewable energy, focusing on global awareness. They will then work with a nationally-recognized program to replace kerosene lamps in Kenya, Africa, with solar-powered lanterns.  Teacher: Donna Jones-Wright

Watkins Glen (Schuyler County): “Keeping the Home Front Warm.” The Energy Applications class at Watkins Glen High School will assist local senior citizens with energy-efficiency upgrades to their homes, using materials such as pipe insulation, hot water wraps, switch and outlet gaskets, and programmable thermostats.  Teacher: Karen Armstrong

Addison (Steuben County): “Alternatives in Science.”Students at Addison Central School District will learn about energy by building energy models and comparing efficiency. They will also use portable watt meters and programmable thermostats to promote energy savings. The results of their work will be shared with the local media. Teacher: Carol Kahabka

North Country

Chateaugay (Franklin County): “Coming Unplugged with Electricity.” Students from Chateaugay Central School will perform home energy audits, learn how to read electric bills and meters, and track their home energy usage through different seasons. They will present their findings to the school community and share them with the local media. Teacher: Steve McDonald

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.


Last Updated: 11/26/2014