A guest blog written by DaNel Hogan, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Constellation Energy hosted Energy Education Day at Sunset Elementary in Pasadena, MD on March 23rd! All of the 4th and 5th grade students participated in activities using the energy bike which allows them to pedal the bike to generate electricity to power light bulbs. DaNel Hogan, an Einstein Educator Fellow at the Department of Energy and a NEED Facilitator, let the students experience the difference by pedaling the energy bike to power incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. Students also calculated how much horsepower it takes to power three incandescent bulbs at once and the cost of lighting a house with the different types of bulbs for a year. The students learned about the pros and cons of each type of bulb. They also learned how to dispose of compact fluorescent bulbs properly by taking them to a hardware store that accepts them or to their local household hazardous waste facility so the mercury vapor inside of them is contained and not released into the environment. A great day learning about energy efficiency, different types of light bulbs and pedaling for power!
At NEED, we love what we do. We are always honored that you love it too! So it’s always a real treat to hear how our curriculum and commitment to student leadership impacts students across the country. Recently, an Elementary School in Rhode Island shared a story that touched us and we wanted to share it with you.
I needed to share this story with you regarding our visit to North Scituate Elementary School. Shannon and I took students from our collaboratively instructed class and students from the high school’s NEED Club to visit North Scituate Elementary school on Friday afternoon. The students presented information to third grade classes on transportation fuels and announced our intention to use the raised garden beds we constructed to plant a garden at the school. The third graders worked hard preparing for our visit using the NEED Elementary Transportation Fuels Infobook. The presentations went well. As one of the special needs students was departing for his resource hour (this young man is autistic), he turned and made an announcement to our students. He said, “I want to thank you all for coming. You are role models to me and I want to be just like you guys when I get to the middle school. I am making a note of that.” He then left. The students were flattered, but it was not until the teacher came up to me with tears in hers eyes and said, “That young man has never spoken to anyone outside people he knew in that way. He has never reached beyond himself that way. Please tell your students.” Well, I did and now I am telling you both about our amazing students and about how this young man connected with students teaching students, the very goal of NEED. I can’t wait to return and plant seeds in the raised beds with this young man. WOW! This is a life changer.
A guest blog written by Robert Lobitz, an Engineer at KASA Capital with a Masters in electrical engineering
Children learn much more by the examples that adults in their lives set than they do by simply listening to what they are told. We are teaching our children to find ways to live in a more environmentally friendly manner, but showing them easy ways to do so makes a greater impact. Replacing incandescent or fluorescent lighting in the classroom with LED lights is one step that shows kids how to make greener choices, and doing so may provide more benefits than you realized.
You are probably aware of the fact that LED lights are energy efficient, but do you know to what extent? A standard incandescent bulb emits light at 10 percent efficiency, which means 90 percent of the energy it expends is purely heat. Conversely, LED lights work at approximately 80 percent efficiency. Not only does this help conserve energy, but it cuts down on electricity bills as well.
Unlike fluorescent tubes, LED lighting does not contain any dangerous mercury or other compounds that could harm students should a light break in the classroom. As mentioned, the lights do not emit as much heat as their incandescent counterparts do, reducing the risk of children burning their fingers. In addition, they do not shatter when hit or dropped as fluorescent and incandescent lights are prone to do.
Lastly, LED lights may actually help students stay calmer and more focused. First, they do not produce any humming sounds like fluorescent tubes often do, nor do they flicker when they are faulty or old, meaning one less distractions for students (and teachers) to try to work around. In addition, the cool, white light of LED lamps is the most similar to natural sunlight, so it diminishes eyestrain and fatigue. Finally, many students and teachers find the lighting more soothing than the glaring illumination of fluorescent or incandescent lighting, delivering an environment more conducive to learning. What could be better than that?