Pulling the plug on school waste

An energy audit by Hunting Hills High School students suggests the Red Deer Public School District could save thousands of dollars by turning off TVs and computers when school isn’t in session.

An energy audit by Hunting Hills High School students suggests the Red Deer Public School District could save thousands of dollars by turning off TVs and computers when school isn’t in session.

The Environment Club at Hunting Hills did an energy audit over the past few months to determine how much energy electronic devices were using at Hunting Hills High School.

The biggest drain on power turned out to be the 203 computers at the school.

Leaving the 203 computers on standby mode for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year costs the district more than $11,000, according to the students’ audit. Grade 12 student Quin Stotz said by having the computers on just six hours a day, during the 197 teaching days, it would only cost a little over $1,400.

Also sucking up energy were the school’s 76 televisions. Stotz said the television monitors are often left on 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. He said per year it costs the school close to $3,600 to power the TVs.

But Grade 12 student Andrea Kozak said if the televisions were on for just six hours a day during the 197 teaching days, it would only cost the district $485 to power them.

In all, the students found more than $12,000 in savings — without including printers, overhead machines and other devices at the school — if TVs and computers were turned off when school was out for the day, weekend or summer.

Stotz and Kozak were inspired to be more environmentally friendly after visiting Europe on student exchanges. Kozak spent time in Spain and Stotz lived in Norway.

The audit was done using a kilowatt energy metre that plugs into the electronic device and then plugs into the wall. The device gives a reading of the cost and energy output per hour, day and year.

Stotz said the energy audit was done to raise awareness. “It would be great if we could see more environmental awareness at our own school and at a district level.”

Red Deer Public School trustee Lawrence Lee encouraged the students to reach out to other community groups such as ReThink Red Deer and also share their findings with Alberta Health Services, which could benefit from seeing what a difference turning off electronic devices could make to them as well.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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