The Houston Independent School District is kicking off a new Sustainable Schools initiative that involves students in reducing energy use on their high school campuses.
Through a no-cost collaboration with CenterPoint Energy, the Sustainable Schools Program gives participating students a fun, hands-on, project-based experience in energy conservation and engineering.
Students are being encouraged to form Sustainability Teams to highlight ways their schools are already minimizing energy use and to identify creative ways to further reduce energy use in their schools. As the program implementer, Willdan Energy Solutions provides teachers with project resources, templates, tools, lesson guides, and ongoing support from energy efficiency experts.
Two HISD schools, Waltrip and Carnegie Vanguard High School, have already received training to implement the program. Nine others have signed up.
“We’re excited to kick off this program because it introduces students to a rising career field and has a positive impact on our energy cost and consumption,” said Kellie Williams, HISD’s new energy & sustainability manager.
Williams, who joined the district in May, is seeking to maximize community partnerships that can help promote energy conservation as a way to help redirect resources to the classroom. She formerly worked as energy manager for Fort Bend ISD.
Participation will require schools to go further than just turning off the lights, Williams said. Students will be examining HVAC and lighting systems to increase efficiencies. “It’s really empowering them to come up with recommendations,” Williams said.
Teams that identify efficiencies that are then validated by Willdan Energy Solutions could help the district earn bonuses of up to $5,000.
Williams said the partnership with CenterPoint Energy is just an initial step toward improving energy conservation across the district. In the coming weeks, she plans to announce more programs and competitions.
“My goal is to help the district save millions on utility bills and to help protect the environment with lower greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
About CenterPoint Energy
CenterPoint Energy provides electric transmission and distribution services in the Houston area. They own and operate the wires, poles and electric infrastructure that provide electricity to Retail Electric Providers who serve the end users. CenterPoint Energy offers a number of energy efficiency programs to encourage electricity users to use the product more efficiently.
About Willdan Energy Solutions Willdan Energy Solutions is a leading national provider of specialized energy, water, and resource management services to a growing list of clients that includes utilities, local and federal governments, hospitals, schools and private enterprises. Our integrated portfolio of services comprises marketing and engineering, program management and implementation of energy efficiency and water conservation programs and development and implementation of information systems for the energy industry. Additional areas of expertise include hardware retrofits, commissioning and retro-commissioning, demonstrations of new technologies, energy efficiency education/outreach, sustainability strategy, and local government partnerships.