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Green Energy for Schools

Energy generated by fossil-fuels is a big source of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. California schools can reduce emissions by increasing renewable energy generation and green power purchasing. Renewable energy is energy supplied from sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass.

District Officials

Plan to Use Green Energy

  • Appoint an Energy Team

    Energy teams can assist district officials with deciding the best source of renewable energy for your school and or district. The team can provide recommendations on purchasing green power and/or installing onsite renewable energy generation using a set of standardized designs.

  • Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partnership

    The Green Power Partnership provides assistance related to the purchasing of green power, including a search feature to locate green power providers in California.

Simple, Low-Cost Investments to Use Green Energy

  • Purchase Green Power from your Utility

    Buying green power, where available, can be an easy and effective way to improve environmental performance.

Longer Term Investments to Use Green Energy

  • Increase On-site Renewable Energy Generation

    After existing facilities are upgraded to achieve optimal energy performance, consider adding renewable energy generation (like solar panels) to your school and related facilities.

    • Learn how to plan, finance, design and build, and maintain an energy efficient school on the U.S. Department of Energy's website.

    • Research what projects are available for your schools to participate in. The U.S. Department of Energy's website offers programs for schools that want to incorporate renewable energy generation (e.g. wind, solar and biomass) on their campuses.

Teachers

Inform Students About the Benefits of Renewable Energy

  • Explain What Renewable and Alternative Energy Is

    Teachers can help their students learn about alternative energy through lectures, handouts and classroom activities. Below are some lessons, posters and activities about renewable energy:

    • The U.S. Department of Energy created an online resource of over 350 lesson plans and activities for K-12 students, related to renewable energy.
    • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory created an activity guide for teachers of students in 6th-8th grade.
    • The University of Manchester created a renewable energy poster that shows what is and is not considered renewable energy.
    • Chewonki offers a free renewable energy poster for elementary to high school classrooms.
    • Touchstone Energy offers a PDF with a list of websites teachers can go to for lesson plans related to renewable energy.
  • Learn What Other Schools Are Doing

    It helps to know what other schools are doing to incorporate renewable energy into their curriculum and every day classroom environment.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy has case studies of schools detailing how they have become energy efficient in a number of ways. Some of these schools use solar, biomass and wind energy.

Students

See What Students Like You Are Doing

  • Compare Your School to Others

    Research what other schools in the U.S. are doing to be more energy efficient and incorporate renewable energy systems at their schools.

    • The Alliance to Save Energy offers a list of California schools that have been involved in the Green Schools Program. Is your school on this list?

    • Look at the U.S. Department of Energy's stories about real schools that have gone green. Some even use wind and solar energy!

Educate Yourself

  • Learn About Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy

    There are tons of interactive websites that will help you understand the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

    • The Energy Information Administration has an Energy Kids website that explains renewable energy to students in grades six and above.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy has a Kids Saving Energy website that has a section dedicated to renewable energy. The site also has games and activities for students in elementary to middle school grades.
    • Alliant Energy has a detailed kids section on renewable energy information. This is best for middle and high school students.
    • Touchstone Energy offers a Kids Zone with a clickable map to learn about renewable energy. This is best suited for elementary school students.

Advocate For Renewable Energy

  • Tell Your School You Want Renewable Energy

    • Write a letter to your principal telling them you want to use renewable energy at your school. Suggest they ask the district to look into programs your school could be a part of, such as the Wind For Schools Project and the Solar in Schools Program.
Resources: 
  • The Green Power Partnership offers tools to estimate annual electricity use, find and buy green power products, and a map that allows the user to locate green power sources.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy's website offers information on designing, building and financing energy smart schools, along with programs and case studies.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy created an online resource of over 350 lesson plans and activities for K-12 students, related to renewable energy.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers an activity guide for teachers of students in 6th-8th grade.
  • The University of Manchester offers a poster that shows what is and is not considered renewable energy.
  • Chewonki offers free materials for elementary to high school classrooms.
  • Touchstone Energy offers a PDF with a list of websites teachers can go to for lesson plans related to renewable energy.
  • The Alliance to Save Energy offers a Green Schools program and nearly 200 schools across California have participated so far.
  • The Energy Information Administration has an Energy Kids website that explains renewable energy to students grade six and above.
  • Alliant Energy has a detailed kids section on renewable energy information. This is best for middle and high school students.
  • Touchstone Energy offers a Kids Zone with a clickable map to learn about renewable energy. This is best suited for elementary school students.