10 NYC schools pilot energy and sustainability lab

Submitted by Solar One
2010-10-07 14:07:16

The NYC Department of Education and Solar One launch the Green Design Lab, a sustainability and environmental K-12 education program, in 10 New York City public schools during the 2010-11 academic year. The initiative will improve energy efficiency and reduce health hazards at each school, advance crucial science, technology, engineering and math skills (STEM), and impact an estimated 1000 students.
The Green Design Lab is the only curriculum of its kind in the public schools that looks at the school building as a laboratory for learning and a tool for environmental change. Its textbook provides a blueprint for student-led, school building greening projects, which can bring together teachers, parents, principals and custodians, while improving STEM skills, so vital to keeping America's students competitive in the global economy. Through original hands-on projects, the Green Design Lab introduces students to high-level, scientifically sound solutions to global warming.
Mayor Bloomberg's Long-Term Plan to reduce energy consumption estimates the city can reduce 195,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and millions of dollars in energy costs by improving the operations and maintenance (O&M) of municipal buildings. Schools comprise 40% of the City's total municipal building square footage. The DOE is one of two agencies participating in a year-long O&M pilot program, and carefully chose these 10 schools for their distinct building types. Solar One's Green Design Lab, which is scheduled for a national launch in the 2011-12 academic year, integrates the DOE's O&M pilot program with school curriculum.
"Our schools are positioned to make a big difference in helping New York City to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals," said John Shea, CEO of the NYC School Facilities.
Solar One aims to leverage Shea's determination. "With the Mayor's and School Chancellor's plans to improve and reduce energy consumption by 30% in all the public schools, we have the perfect storm for this one-of-a-kind program," said Chris Collins, Executive Director of Solar One.
"We literally had hundreds of requests from teachers asking us: 'how can we green our school?' We went to work to meet that need, and that's how the Green Design Lab was created," said Christopher Kennedy, Solar One Educator. Solar One will train teachers and provide on-site technical assistance to each of the 10 schools with their new program.
"Its aim is to get students to see there are lots of positive solutions to our most pressing environmental problems, to understand they really can make a difference, and build a sustainable future. The experience is transformative," said Collins.
Major support for the Green Design Lab initiative is provided by the J.C. Kellogg Foundation, and the 11th Hour Project, a working program of the Schmidt Family Foundation.
"We are delighted to support Solar One and its innovative environmental education program. We believe that bringing environmental issues to students through dynamic hands-on learning will be very effective," said Wendy Schmidt Founder of the 11th Hour Project.
"We look forward to working with Solar One on the Green Design Lab. Helping teachers engage students with technology intensive STEM skills is essential to ensuring their educational and career futures," said Gregg Betheil, Executive Director, New York City Department of Education.
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