It was Saturday morning when the Solar Panel Project (SPP) ventured into East. Their mission was to locate any (miss-use) of school power. Upon their entrance, the four were greeted by running coffee pots, projectors, and iridescent lights.
The Solar Panel Project, was launched by four students who were determined to make the school a more eco-friendly environment. Led by Megan Doherty, Connor Diaz, Emily Liu and Michel Swers, their main goal was to lower the school’s power consumption, and to solarize the school’s energy.
To reach their goal, the students needed to check the school’s energy usage through an energy audit. Led through the halls by Stephen Snyder and members of Duke Energy, the team scanned every nook, cranny and crevice within the school’s walls to find unnecessary uses of energy.
The audit showed that East’s power consumption ranked higher than most schools. The primary cause of this was the school’s antiquated heating/cooling system; the system responsible for the icy rooms in Quad A and the warmer rooms in Upper C.
“The system is not very effective, our next target of focus is to make it more efficient,” said Connor Diaz.
With the information gathered from the audit, the project was able to see how much energy was wasted and draft a grant accordingly. Within a few weeks, the team had won the Duke Energy Grant, a grant partnered with the NC Greenpower.
The grant supplies East with a solar photovoltaic system, an energy monitoring system, as well as a weather system.
With huge steps already made by the SPP team, there is still much that they wish to accomplish. Aside from solarizing the school, and making the school more energy efficient, other goals include implementing a renewable energy curriculum, and setting the trend of increasing energy efficiency in other schools.
“ East will be a role model for North Carolina schools to support green energy and sustainability,” said Megan Doherty.
Photo courtesy of: http://energyinformative.org/