Turning lights off at lunch time and computers off after school are just a few of the things that are saving a Rotorua high school thousands of dollars on its annual electricity bill.
The school, John Paul College, has been named the winner of the first annual Torque IP Conservation Cup.
It beat 29 other schools from throughout New Zealand to collect $3000 in prize money.
In total, the schools involved managed to save 122,614 kw-hours during the 28 days of the competition. That equates to approximately $24,265 or powering an average primary school for 11 months.
John Paul College teacher Veronica Aislabie says the school’s students were delighted to win.
“We’ve got quite a strong environmental group at the college and we try to be as green as we can be,” she says.
“Entering the competition lifted our performance markedly, the whole school got involved.”
Veronica says she and fellow teacher Matt Satherley worked with the environmental group at the college to lead the power-saving efforts.
The students spoke in assemblies, monitored power use and got their peers in behind the competition.
“During form time, teachers showed students the dashboard and our usage during the previous 24 hours,” Veronica says. “We could compare our use to that of other schools in the competition and it got quite competitive.”
“We used power monitors to ensure lights and computers were turned off after class, we reduced the number of lights in the administration areas and mad sure we turned the lights off in the staff room.”
“It started making a huge difference. We could see each day that the power was coming down.”
Asked what the prize money will go towards, Veronica says the students have been investigating installing solar panels on the school’s new technology block.
John Paul College’s efforts in energy saving began in 2008 when several students did an energy audit. Since then thousands of dollars have been saved each year from the energy bill.