Poudre School District ReNews Student Engagement in Energy

By Jen Singer, ICF on Apr 20, 2018

Poudre School District, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, partnered with ReNew Our Schools, a local non-profit organization to launch a month-long student competition to spur innovation and excitement around energy efficiency and sustainability. Sixteen of the district’s 50 schools competed in three categories: School Measured Savings, Home Energy Actions, and School Energy Actions.

District officials awarded points for school-measured savings based on the percent reduction in electricity compared to regular usage. Students earned points for home energy actions by taking a pledge to select at least one energy savings measure in each of three categories outlined by the district for the length of the competition and provide a copy of an energy bill to demonstrate the impact before and after the pledge. School energy actions included a series of options each with varying points attached: establish an environmental club, create signage, conduct a school audit, create a video, and develop an energy lesson plan.

Schools were divided into three cohorts, with the top school in each cohort awarded $10,000 and second place earning $2,000-5,000. Distributed funds will be used towards the implementation of an alternative energy or energy efficiency project for the winning school building. The district also provided a list of approved projects based on school administrators, district staff and donors, and student consensus. At the conclusion of the contest of 16 schools over 18 days, student saved 77,674 kWh, equivalent to a $7,700 in savings for the district and an electrical savings of 10%. In addition, 3,200 homes agreed to make one change to improve energy efficiency and reduce their consumption, expanding the impact of Poudre School District’s impact on the greater community. You can view a presentation on their efforts here

To date, Poudre School District has realized a 32% reduction in energy use intensity as of 2017 with a 2008 baseline. To learn more about creative strategies employed by K-12 School partners, visit the Better Buildings Solutions Center’s K-12 Schools sector page.