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‘Power Challenge’ helping LA Unified conserve energy

Chase Niesner | December 19, 2013



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PEAK students via the Energy Coalition

PEAK students via the Energy Coalition

A new district-wide energy saving competition and curriculum in LA Unified schools are attempting to help the district save on its utility bill, while promoting STEM education at a time when California students are lagging in science and mathematics.

In the POWER Challenge (Preserving Our Water and Energy Resources), district schools are competing to reduce their water and energy consumption through student-led Power Teams focused on changing the culture of their school’s energy consumption.

At the end of the year, the top three energy-reducing schools in each of the district’s four regions will receive prizes from the overall energy savings – $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000. Smaller prizes, up to $1,000, will be awarded to schools that reduce electricity or water consumption by five percent during specific periods.

“The intent is that the competitive aspect to the Challenge will increase the students’ enthusiasm and participation,” LA Unified Senior Sustainability Specialist, Jan Ducker, said in an email. “The POWER Challenge encourages team building and student leadership, and while adults will be the schools’ designated Green Coordinators, the students will be the true advocates for the Challenge.”

Officials say the district spends $120 million annually on utilities, 93 percent of it on electricity and water. If each school meets the 5 percent minimum consumption reduction of the Challenge, the district could save more than $5 million.

Previous Posts: California Adopts New ‘Next Gen’ Science StandardsSTEM Has Students Exclaiming ‘I Am A Scientist’ In Short FilmLA Unified is close to completing a solar power program at 68 schools.

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