Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — A record 430 schools worldwide participated in this year’s Green Cup Challenge (GCC), collectively saving 1.5 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and boosting school recycling efforts. A program of the Green Schools Alliance, the Green Cup Challenge motivates schools worldwide to track their electricity use and make improvements to operations and facilities while also cultivating sustainable behaviors and student engagement.
From India to Illinois, this year’s Green Cup Challenge brought together students, faculty and staff from around the globe in a common effort. A friendly competition, the Challenge unites school communities and promotes increased awareness about climate change and resource conservation. The Challenge features two separate month-long events, the Green Cup Energy Challenge and the Green Cup Recycling Challenge, and empowers students, teachers, custodians and administrators to work together to save energy and reduce waste. “Schools participating in the Green Cup Challenge learn that that when everyone works together, small, individual actions really can translate into significant, tangible change,” says Peg Watson, president of the Green Schools Alliance.
This year’s Energy Challenge included 314 schools, making it the largest electricity reduction competition for K-12 schools in the world. The Challenge has a global impact but is divided into geographical regions to encourage local rivalries and to partially account for different weather patterns.
During the Energy Challenge, students, faculty, staff and parents used Building Dashboard, web-based software made by Lucid, to track competition standings and compare performance between schools. Teachers and students read their meters once a week and entered the readings into BuildingOS, the engine behind Building Dashboard. “Building Dashboard made it easy for everyone in the schools to visualize their electricity use, which I think really helped to inspire them to take action towards energy efficiency,” says Katy Perry, director of the Green Cup Challenge.
In New York City, 190 public schools took the Challenge and achieved an impressive 11% energy savings. “Involving the entire school community was a key strategy to achieving significant savings,” says Enio Tom Vega, Custodial Engineer at I.S. 66, winner of the New York City regional challenge.
The Walker School, winner of the Southern regional challenge, exemplifies how a holistic approach to the Green Cup Challenge really pays off. In addition to steadily working towards increased energy efficiency in their facilities, the school views the Challenge as an opportunity to encourage staff, faculty and student behavior changes through posters, announcements and classroom energy monitors.
The schools that won the other regional challenges are The Cate School (CA), the Latin School of Chicago (IL), The Derryfield School (NH), Avon Old Farms School (CT), Robert A. Van Wyck Green Magnet School (NY), Episcopal High School (VA), and Delhi Public School, Bopal (India).
Congratulations to all schools who completed the Challenge and to those who achieved the highest reductions. To see full results visit http://www.buildingdashboard.com/clients/gcc/energy.
In this year’s Green Cup Recycle Challenge, 134 schools focused on improving recycling, decreasing trash and rethinking consumption. Twenty-six schools earned the title of “Recycling Hero” by obtaining more than 90 Bin Points and Bonus Points.
To earn Bin Points, students conducted weekly surveys of their recycling and trash bins and calculated the percentage of the bins that were correctly sorted. The weekly bin surveys provided feedback on the school’s recycling efforts and pointed out trouble spots where recycling was not being done correctly. Students then tried to reduce any contamination with better signage or improved bin placement. Bonus points were earned for additional waste reduction efforts such as composting or paperless communications.
The first place school, PS 57R Hubert H. Humphrey in Staten Island, NY, finished with 107 points. Sustainability Coordinator Patricia Lockhart says, “PS 57 has a school-wide green pledge, vision and mission.” To promote their recycling program and engage the whole school community the student Green Team utilized signs, murals, awards, contests, T-shirts, events, presentations, integrated science curriculum, field trips, guest speakers, and student projects.
Learn how all the Recycle Challenge schools were able to "Recycle Right, Reduce Waste, and Rethink Consumption" and read their success stories here.
A showcase of students’ artistic talent and environmental passion, the Green Cup Video Challenge invites students to use creativity to create awareness about lowering energy use, recycling more, reducing waste, and rethinking consumption. The videos reveal the students behind the Challenge reduction numbers. With themes that ranged from poignant to playful, the videos inspired school wide participation with their peer-to-peer message.
“The video challenge is a great way to raise awareness about climate change and encourage the next generation of leaders to start thinking of new innovative ways to spread the message that we have to start to do our part- – each and everyone of us,” says one Video Challenge participant. View the videos and see the winners of the popular vote here.
Along with Lucid, Green Cup Challenge sponsors include Con Edison, The New York City DCAS Division of Energy Management, MaxR and Waste Management.
To learn more about the Green Cup Challenge and how your school can participate contact info(at)greencupchallenge(dot)org or visit http://www.greencupchallenge.net.
About the Green Schools Alliance
The Green Schools Alliance (GSA) connects and empowers PreK-12 schools worldwide to lead the transformation to global environmental sustainability. Uniquely created by schools, for schools in 2007, the GSA is a global peer-to-peer network of more than 3,000 schools in 42 U. S. states and 36 countries working together to solve climate and conservation challenges and inspiring the next generation for 21st century leadership. GSA Member Schools share and implement sustainable best practices and promote connections between schools, communities, and the environments that sustain them. GSA does this by creating peer-to-peer forums, exchanging resources, offering original programs and curriculum, and connecting youth to nature. GSA schools are global sustainability leaders in their own communities. Visit us at http://www.greenschoolsalliance.org.
Lucid is an industry leader and innovator in providing information feedback technology to save energy and water in buildings. The company pioneered the concept of real-time energy and water use feedback and reduction competitions with Building Dashboard and launched BuildingOS, the world’s first online operating system for buildings. Lucid’s software is used by the world’s leading companies and institutions to manage thousands of buildings with $500 million in annual energy bills. Based in Oakland, California, Lucid is a privately held software company. http://www.luciddesigngroup.com