There are very few of us who are not familiar with the reminders of “don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth” and “shut the lights off in your room before you leave”. Many minor energy-saving maxims permeate out minds as we go about our daily routine at home. But what about in the classroom? Especially during high school, when much of the day is spent in school, our habits on location have just as much an impact, if not more, due to the scale schools are generally built on. Here are some easy tips for the individual student or class to conserve energy:
1) Bathroom Lights
In schools, many of the bathrooms have motion detector lights, which help reduce the energy consumption of bathrooms by ensuring they are only illuminated when someone opens the door. However, it may take only five minutes or less to use the bathroom, and the lights may be on for another twenty minutes after the occupant has left, lighting an empty room. Be sure to switch the lights off manually as you walk out the door and back to class.
2) Classroom Pencil Sharpeners
Many classrooms have communal electric pencil sharpeners which not only are continuously plugged in and therefore sapping electricity, but they can also be very noisy and disturb class. A simple way to eliminate both these issues is to get a manual class sharpener; a little old-school cranking is a great retro solution to our modern-day ills.
3) Reusable Water Bottles
Instead of stopping by the vending machine or cafeteria at school, bring a reusable water bottle to school, which is easily refillable at the school drinking fountain. This helps cut down on the amount of plastic bottles that Americans throw out every year.
And one more for good luck:
Be aware. Look for ways your school as a whole could conserve electricity and become more environmentally friendly. Maybe it could be done by switching from Styrofoam to paper trays in the lunchroom, or by changing the grade of the lights used in the hall ways. As a student you have the ability to speak to your school administrators and fellow classmates about steps you can take as a community to reduce, reuse, and recycle.