CVU Class Aims To Tackle School Energy Consumption

Mr. Eli Hark

HINESBURG– The “Money, Energy, and Power” class at CVU, a class on Environmental Economics and the science and policy behind green energy, has finalized a project aimed at raising awareness and lowering energy consumption in the school.

In 2011 Glenn Fay and Chrissy Burg came together to create a class that merged Science and History. The class, named “Money, Energy, and Power”, aimed at empowering Juniors and Seniors with knowledge about economics, energy, and our climate.  Since their first class 4 four years ago, the class has evolved into something targeted at engaging creative and interested students to perform group projects to understand a multiplicity of complications related to the world we live in.

The class, now taught by Jeff Hindes and Glenn Fay, ends with an “activism” project, aimed at giving the students the ability to find a problem they believe in, and execute a wide variety of tasks to make a change.

This year, projects are ranging from switching CVU from fluorescent lighting to LEDs, to tackling state legislature and improving subsidies away from Vermont Ridgeline Wind and towards personal windmills. One project that stands out is installing a public energy meter at CVU to increase awareness about CVU’s enormous energy consumption.

In the 2010-2011 school year, the school monitored its monthly energy usage to use as a baseline for coming years. In the 2013-2014 school year CVU had cut its electricity usage by 16 percent from 1,524,200 kWh to about 1,265,100 kWh, but has stagnated, going down by only 1% from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015. To put that in perspective, the average house uses about 10,000 kWh per year, meaning CVU uses the equivalent of over 125 houses worth of electricity per year.

Their plan is to install a meter that would be accessible online and viewable in the main hallway “Four Corners” on a monitor. This would allow the public to understand energy usage and understand what draws power and work to minimize it.  The group’s goal is to cut CVU’s energy consumption an additional 3% to reach a 20% energy cut since the baseline year.

Saving electricity is as easy as unplugging appliances like microwaves, hot plates, and other devices when not in use. These devices, while small, draw phantom power when they are off and in a school used by nearly 1,400 people everyday, it is exceptionally important.

In the first year (2011-2012) there was a push to unplug computers at the end of the day and when not in use. This push helped cut about 6% of electricity useage in that first year.