Written and submitted by Michelle Isaacson, Southern YES! Coordinator
What a day! After months of planning and working out details, it seemed like the day of the Fall Summit flew by! I had the pleasure of working with Alexis Troschinetz from the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and Judy Elling-Przbilla from the Southwest Regional Development Commission to plan the Get Current! session revolving around energy conservation and the Saving Watts and Drops (SWD) program. We knew we wanted to make the session educational, hands on, and fun, so we came up with the idea to highlight some of the electricity and water saving devices that teams can choose from to be part of their SWD fundraiser. Students were able to learn about how LED light bulbs, smart power strips, and low-flow showerheads are able to save electricity and water by seeing them in action.
Students viewed the flow rate of a high and low flow showerheads and were able to see the difference in water each uses in the same amount of time. While learning about LED lights, participants got to try their hand at the crank powered lighting device to physically witness the difference in energy it takes to light up an incandescent light bulb versus an LED light bulb. To further drive home the idea that incandescent lights waste energy, students used infrared cameras to see the heat loss a bulb creates. Lastly, students were able to plug in general office devices into a wattmeter to see how much energy each was using if they were plugged directly into the wall. Using a worksheet created for this event and the energy they found each device to be using, students determined what the savings would be if a teacher switched to using a smart power strip in their classroom, if all teachers in a school switched, and if all teams converted their schools to smart power strips.
Within each topic, students learned more about the products through reading an informational poster and watching short videos. They also brainstormed ideas of who in their lives could benefit from these energy, water, and money saving products to prepare them for the fundraising process. Saving Watts and Drops is meant to be a fundraiser for YES! teams with lasting benefits. Not only are teams able to raise funds for pursuing more and larger projects, they are also helping community members by saving them money. The energy savings also add up, creating a large environmental impact from such a simple action.
Overall, students enjoyed the session’s interactive quality, which really drove home the concepts of energy conservation. Multiple teams also expressed interest in participating in the Saving Watts and Drops program so stay tuned to see how big of an impact they create!