Do you know how much energy the sun produces? Ask anyone of the YES! team members from Discovery Woods Montessori School in Brainerd and they will tell you the sun delivers more energy to Earth in one hour than humanity consumes over the course of a year, making solar the only renewable energy source that can keep up with global demands. On March 7th, seven students and their coach attended Clean Energy for a Clean World Winter Workshop at the Brainerd City Hall. Tom McDougall, a former engineer, began the morning teaching students that energy comes from fossil fuels, nuclear fusion, hydro, wind, and solar. Did you know that all of these forms of energy can be captured in the same way? The method used is a spinning turbine that converts kinetic energy to mechanical energy. This energy is then converted to electrical energy by spinning a coil of copper wire near magnets. Tom also explained several ways students and families can use less energy and it can be as easy as changing light bulbs.
Students then went on a tour of the Brainerd City Hall and meet with Mark Ostgarden, GreenStep Coordinator. GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program that provides a simple pathway to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of best practices focused on cost savings, energy use reduction, and innovation. There are 29 Best Practices and Brainerd has acted on 18 of them. Some of the areas they have focused on are building and lighting, land use, transportation, environmental management, and resilient economic and community development. Of the 855 cities in Minnesota only 120 are GreenStep Cities.
Lastly, they had a tour of Ed Shaw Law Office. This office has Solar Panels installed on the roof to capture solar energy. Ed explained how they work and explained that he changes the panel angle two times a year to get the best sun exposure.