Commmunity Herald: Lights off, green on!

The energy dashboard is lit and students at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth are making the connection between their power to reduce power, for a better future.

Students, teachers and energy officials helped launch the first of 40 energy dashboards to be completely operational by the end of this school year.  As part of the Lights Off – Green On! energy efficiency initiative, 90 schools are preparing to install the real-time dashboards by 2017, plugging in HRSB students and staff to their direct impact on energy, water and gas consumption.

The energy dashboard shows the school's water consumption in terms of how many bathtubs have been filled by 11 a.m.
The energy dashboard shows the school’s water consumption in terms of how many bathtubs have been filled by 11 a.m.

“Right now we’re lighting 6,664 light bulbs,” explained Lee Anne Amaral, Vice Principal at Prince Andrew.  It’s 11:15 a.m. on Wed. Oct. 8 and the school is in full energy mode and the dashboard shows they’ve already used enough water to fill 43 bathtubs. The dashboard has been aptly placed in a freshly painted bright green trophy case outside the cafeteria, the perfect location, she says, to invoke conversations about electricity demand.

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Vice principal Lee Anne Amaral says one of the biggest differences noticed, is the high electricity consumed on weekends. “It raises questions about electricity usage and what can we do to help out,” she says.

“We have more than 900 students.  They’ll come down and look at the dashboard … they’ll look at the weather and once you get to the bars you can see a comparison of one week to another,” says Amaral.

She says a PD Day last week sparked great curiosity amongst the students.  “I probably had 30 students here wondering why we didn’t use water last Monday … I asked them, did none of you use the bathroom?” she laughs.

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Click the pict to take a peak at Prince Andrew’s dashboard:dashboard