Energy Efficiency in Schools: A Good Opportunity for Community Engagement.

We're always on the look-out for interesting ways to spread the word about home performance, building science and residential energy efficiency. Sometimes it's soapbox derbies, sometimes it's direct mail -- whatever works.

The reVOLT Program

So we had a lightbulb moment (pun intended) this morning when we came across this article about a middle school program here in Maine called reVOLT that's teaching kids about a wide range of energy topics. With an emphasis on engineering and real-world applications, students have designed devices like solar powered water purifiers and wind powered cell phone chargers. The program has been such a success it's been picked up by the national media and will be featured on a segment during PBS NewsHour. Pretty cool.

How Does it Work for You?

But what does this have to do with your business? Well, there may be an opportunity for you to get involved with a middle school, a high school, a college or any other educational organization in your area. We wouldn't recommend blatantly pushing your business; this isn't an ideal environment to close leads, but if you can get members of the community discussing the services you offer and the many benefits they afford, it's not a stretch to imagine that you could get some sales calls down the road.

So selling your services directly is out. We would, however, recommend pursuing any opportunity to talk about energy audits (specifically, what makes a comprehensive energy audit different from the "clipboard audits" offered by many utilities for free), infrared thermography, building science basics and how home performance upgrades can lead to annual savings of thousands of dollars for an average family. A classroom or extracurricular educational venus is a great place to do this.

As cool as the reVOLT program is, you also don't have to develop a full curriculum. Visiting a science class, a shop class, a youth group or scout meeting, even just once, would be enough to get the wheels turning and to get young minds to start thinking about how buildings work, and how homes play a role in creating pollution and carbon emissions. And, you might even wind up getting some press out of your efforts.

A Few Ideas for Classroom / Workshop Activities

  • A mini-energy-audit of a classroom / building
  • An infrared image slideshow / demonstration
  • A blower door demonstration
  • Energy monitor demonstration with a Kill-a-Watt or similar device

Anyone out there have any experience teaching energy efficiency in schools? We'd love to hear about it.


The same day we published this post, the Bangor Daily News published an article about our good friends from Upright Frameworks and Complete Home Evaluation Services leading a weatherization and energy efficiency workshop with students in Brunswick, Maine -- a neat coincidence, and also a very cool alternative to learning about efficiency in the classroom alone.

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