Posts Tagged ‘energy conservation’

I caught Public Radio International’s Living on Earth program Saturday morning and felt reassured to hear about a new generation of environmentalists.

The story that caught my attention was on the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), which recently “announced the three winning high schools for the Sustainable Energy Award, sponsored by Samsung: Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, Erie, Pa.; Boston Latin School, Boston, Mass.; and Secondary Academy for Success, Bothell, Wash.”

The judges found that the three schools “demonstrated a school-wide effort to achieve energy savings through the creative and innovative use of technology. Each school will receive $10,000 to further their initiatives.”

For example, in 2008, an environmental group at Boston Latin “conducted an energy audit of the school with help from the local utility NSTAR. Improving on the score of 59 out of 100 meant a strong energy efficiency initiative. The school turned off the lights in vending machines after school, lowered the hot water temperature, and replaced hundreds of light bulbs in the auditorium ceiling with more energy-efficient bulbs. …

“The school has had two fundraisers that generated more than $12,000 to support their initiative. With help from the Facilities Department of the Boston Public Schools, the school implemented a $75,000 lighting retrofit that saves 200,000 kWh and $33,000 a year. The school also installed a 28-panel PV array on its roof through a partnership with the City of Boston’s energy department and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The system displays real-time data on electricity generated, and the school is putting this data online for study by other students.”

One thing that stands out is the effort to involve a lot of students, not just a small green group. Making the effort  broader should help it expand. More here.

Photograph: National Environmental Education Foundation

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This morning on my walk I noticed a sign about energy-saving LED (light-emitting diode) street lamps. The sign is hard to read here, but it says that the LED lighting was provided by the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park. It also says that “the City of Boston is testing different types of LED lighting systems around the town and wants to know what you think.” Tell the City here.

The main reason I’m interested is that John is in the optics business, and his team is always working on LED, 3-D, and other optical projects beyond my ken. (I blogged about his Eastern European optical engineers here and here. John and Gregg tweet at OFH_John and gfavalora.)

And while we’re on the subject of optics, check out an article about “bizarre optical phenomena, defying the laws of reflection and refraction. …

“Cambridge, Mass. – September 1, 2011 – Exploiting a novel technique called phase discontinuity, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have induced light rays to behave in a way that defies the centuries-old laws of reflection and refraction.” They bend light. Kind of like a fun house mirror.

You can see what they are talking about here.

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