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Going Green with Solar Energy

By Valentina Duong, Creative Director

It would be difficult to notice the difference between LEDs and fluorescent light bulbs without seeing the results of Green Catalyst’s, JFK’s environmental club, energy conservation campaign from last year. As shown in the school’s annual utility bill, their efforts have helped to reduce Kennedy’s electricity use and cost by half from October 2015 to January 2016.

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Green Catalyst President May Tan (left) and club member Brooke Berry-Vanderpool (right) collect recycling and audit the school’s lighting fixtures. (Clarion photo by Jazmin Flemmer)

Green Catalyst is currently striving to reduce Kennedy’s electricity bill by implementing solar energy on our campus. The club has reentered the Sacramento City Unified School District’s (SCUSD) Project Green program this school year. This is to ensure the school receives the proposal and necessary funds from The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) to install solar panels and ultimately drive action toward a greener Kennedy.

According to JFK’s electricity bill, Kennedy spends over $25,000 a month on electricity. This is a small amount compared to the entire school district that estimates paying SMUD over a million dollars to power public school facilities. By installing solar panels on top of the C-building, JFK has the potential to set the forefront model of energy efficient public institutions, saving millions of dollars that could be better spent on additional educational and technological resources, such as laptops, computers, and iPads to assist curriculum in preparation for life after high school.

Before funds from Prop. 39 can be spent on solar panels, the school must update the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) with a more modern, efficient timed system, install motion sensors, and tint all windows in classrooms on campus in order to conserve more energy. Green Catalyst is currently finishing the process of auditing the number of light fixtures on campus. However, conservation also requires that everyone on campus actively make behavioral changes. Green Catalyst recommends everyone to close windows and doors when the HVAC is on, turn off lights when leaving a room, and use more natural lighting or a correct lighting level.

Mr. Terence Burke, an educational specialist at Kennedy, actively serves as the advisor of the project and enthusiastically supports the club’s goal. “Everybody should be for it. It’s a no-brainer that we can get it done,” Mr. Burke affirmed. “Together, we all can make a difference to save the planet.”

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May Tan and club advisor Terence Burke (Clarion photo by Valentina Duong)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone interested in helping with Project Green to save money and reduce the school’s electricity costs should feel free to visit Mr. Burke in Room D-2 or contact the Green Catalyst club at jfkgreencatalyst@gmail.com.

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